Women’s group stranded in Morocco ‘left to sort ourselves out’


A women’s health group found themselves grounded in Morocco after the country suspended flights to and from the UK (Picture: Marianne Killick

A group of 20 women on a ladies’ health retreat found themselves stranded in Morocco after the country imposed a travel ban on the UK.

The party were due to fly out after the restriction – introduced in response to rising Covid rates in Britain – was introduced on Wednesday.

Flights operated by easyJet had apparently been given permission by the Moroccan government to fly to the UK for repatriation purposes the following day but the group arrived at Marrakech Airport to find they had been cancelled.

They then booked flight homes via third countries including France, Italy, Portugal and Spain.

Morocco suspended direct flights to and from the UK from 11.59pm UK time on Wednesday (October 20).

The group had been trekking in the Atlas Mountains earlier in the day when they found out the news but were subsequently told they could nevertheless fly home to Luton, Gatwick and Manchester the following day.

Marianne Killick, a women’s health coach who had been presenting to the group, said there had been a ‘disgusting’ lack of information from easyJet after they arrived to find check-in desks closed.

In response, the airline said that it had offered to transfer her onto an alternative flight tonight and had immediately notified customers of the travel ban and set up a dedicated phone line for assistance.

Mrs Killick, a women’s health coach who had been presenting to the group, said: ‘As we were coming down the mountain one of our group received a text message telling us that flights were being suspended from midnight and we were told to stay in place and await instructions.

‘Yesterday around 6pm we were told that our easyJet flights were all going ahead as planned. We turned up at the airport extra early in case there was chaos to find all the flights had been cancelled, with no easyJet staff anywhere, and were told to stand to one side.

‘Eventually a scrappy piece of paper was sellotaped to the wall with an easyJet phone number.

‘I rang, but they had no information. They offered me a refund or a voucher, which was no good helping me to get home. Eventually we got emails telling us to make our own arrangements.’

The women’s group at the airport in Morocco where they found flights home to the UK were cancelled (Picture: Marianne Killick)
Marianne Killick says she arrived at Marrakech Airport to find easyJet desks closed and no staff on hand (PIcture: Marianne Killick)

The mother-of-two had flown from Luton to Marrakech on Monday to take part in the Ladies Life Lounge retreat and was due to return on flight EZY8896 at midday today.

When it was cancelled, she was told she could go to Gatwick later in the day but when that too was scrapped she booked to fly home to the UK via a Ryanair flight to Madrid.

Mrs Killick, from Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, told Metro.co.uk that easyJet then informed the group that another flight to Luton would go ahead tonight, although there was confusion about whether it will operate.

Speaking from the Marrakech Airport, she said: ‘We were told to make our arrangements. That was how it was left and it was our only option.

‘We’d already booked onto our flights and made hotel arrangements when we were told another flight would be going to Luton.

A screen at Marrakech Airport in Morocco showing a cancelled flight to Luton on Friday night (Picture: Marianne Killick)

‘The board is showing it as cancelled. I’m glad I stuck to my plan or I’d be doubly up the creek and I’d have been stuck in Morocco.

‘The lack of timely information from easyJet has been appalling, being left to sort ourselves out was disgusting.

‘Clearly they have no internal communication systems.’

The women’s group had been in the Atlas Mountains when they learned of Morroco’s travel ban hours before the deadline (Picture: Marianne Killick)

Easyjet’s website was listing tonight’s flight as due to arrive in Marrakech on time, although a screen at the airport was showing it as cancelled.

The airline maintains that it immediately notified customers of the cancellations and their options for returning home and set up a helpline for its team to move flights for free or arrange complimentary hotel accommodation.

A spokesperson said: ‘Following the immediate suspension of flying between the UK and Morocco this week, we received confirmation from the Moroccan authorities last night that we were permitted to operate our scheduled flights to the UK over the coming days.

‘This morning however, Moroccan air traffic authorities refused entry into Moroccan airspace and as a result, our flights due to bring customers back to London Gatwick and Manchester had to return to the UK and were cancelled.

‘We worked with the authorities to get this urgently resolved and have now confirmed we can operate our scheduled flights to London Luton this evening and over the coming days.

‘Any affected customers have been able to transfer their flights free of charge and while our team spoke to Ms Killick to assist her in transferring her flight, we understand she chose not to.

‘While this was outside of our control, we are very sorry for the inconvenience customers will have experienced and thank them for their patience and understanding.’

The spokesperson added that flight 2354 between Marrakech and Luton is running tonight.

Do you have a story you would like to share? Contact josh.layton@metro.co.uk

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