A bride and groom were forced to take on an epic two-day van trip across Europe to get to their wedding in time after Ryanair cancelled their flights.
Due to marry his fiancée Sandra in Italy on Sunday, 32-year-old Davide Casa di Bari thought he was being pranked when he found out that their Thursday night flight from Frankfurt Hahn airport had been cancelled.
His sister Maria Joanna Suquitana told HuffPost UK: “My sister read the email first and Davide thought she was just messing about with him and hung up on her.
“He thought we were pranking him until he called Ryanair when he got the message on his phone.”
Not only were the bride and groom stranded, but 10 wedding guests had also been set to travel to Italy from Germany on the same flight.
Desperate to get everyone to the ceremony in time, the group were devastated to find out that there were not enough seats for them all on the next Ryanair flight to Bari, which left on Saturday morning.
“My sister-in-law cried and had a little breakdown at first because she didn’t know what to do,” Maria, 25, said. “I just felt so bad for them because they were already stressed out enough.”
But, refusing to allow the cancelled flight to ruin their dream wedding, the couple decided to undertake an epic cross-border drive to get to the ceremony.
Hiring a van big enough to fit the bride, groom, best man, bridesmaids, mother of the bride and the wedding dress, the group of nine drove more than 1,000 miles over the course of two days.
Between van hire, fuel costs and hotel rooms for the group, the journey cost around €2,000.
Despite having a seat booked on the Saturday morning Ryanair flight, Maria decided to join the group on the trip.
“I drove in the van with them even though I had booked a flight,” she said. “I just don’t trust Ryanair anymore.”
Three more families with seats on the weekend flight also chose to drive to Bari for the wedding over fears they could be stranded in Germany by the airline.
Two other close friends were forced to miss the wedding altogether.
“The trip was totally worth it because everything turned out well,” Maria continued. “The wedding was beautiful.
“But we just can’t trust Ryanair anymore. We are now all worried that we won’t be able to fly back to Germany on Saturday and I need to catch my flight home to the US.”
Speaking to HuffPost UK through Maria, the now-married couple also said they would never book with Ryanair again.
“We have a vacation planned for October that is booked with Ryanair but we will cancel that flight and book with a different company,” Davide and Sandra said.
The group represent a tiny percentage of the thousands of people who have been affected by Ryanair cancellations in recent days, with the budget airline grounding up to 50 flights a day until the end of October.
The move, which is expected to disrupt the journeys of around 9,000 travellers each day, comes after bosses “messed up” pilots’ holidays.
Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary apologised to passengers yesterday, saying they would be given the option to apply for compensation or change their cancelled flight for free.
“This is a mess of our own making,” he said. “I apologise sincerely to all our customers for any worry or concern this has caused them over the past weekend.
“We have only taken this decision to cancel this small proportion of our 2,500 daily flights so that we can provide extra standby cover and protect the punctuality of the 98% of flights that will be unaffected by these cancellations.”
For a full rundown of the Ryanair flights cancelled over the next six weeks, click here.