Living near a busy international airport, Mike Fraser and his family are accustomed to the roar of planes passing over their home.
However, as they sat down for breakfast and looked out their passports ahead of a first holiday together, little did they know their own flight was one of those they could hear overhead – after an email blunder meant they weren’t told it had been rescheduled.
Now the Frasers are battling for compensation after being forced to fork out more than £1,000 on another flight.
Mike had booked a week’s break to the Club Mac resort in Alcudia, Majorca, last month with seat-only firm Flylolo.
The firefighter paid £1,274 for return seats to Palma direct from Inverness Airport for himself, wife Louise and their two sons, David and Daniel.
However, the flight time was brought forward by three hours without their knowledge.
“Flylolo said I had been emailed two days beforehand about the change,” said Mike, 36. “But it was discovered that they had sent the message to someone else entirely.
“When we got to the terminal we discovered we had missed our plane.
“We’d been sitting having breakfast and could hear a plane. We didn’t know that it was our own flight.”
Mike frantically searched for an alternative way to get to Majorca as he had already booked and paid for the hotel.
The only option was to snap up seats on an easyJet flight from Edinburgh via Belfast, at a cost of £1,169.
“It was our first overseas holiday with the kids so we pulled out all the stops to make it happen.”
The family then set off on the three-hour car trip to Edinburgh. They later had a three-hour wait at Belfast airport and didn’t arrive in Alcudia until after 2am.
“Our youngest is 20 months old so the whole experience was stressful,” said Mike.
The drama didn’t end there. Mike spent much of his holiday on the phone complaining to Flylolo while trying to confirm the return seats remained valid.
“It was then I was told by the flight operator, JetsGo, that they had not been paid by Flylolo,” he said.
“JetsGo were sympathetic but I had to fork out another £873 to rebook the seats I had already paid Flylolo for.
“The whole trip was a nightmare.”
Flylolo refunded the cost of the original flights but Mike is still £873 out of pocket for the homeward journey. He also had to fork out for petrol, meals and parking charges.
Last month, Flylolo made headlines when it cancelled flights from Glasgow to the Canaries at short notice, affecting more than 900 people.
Chief executive Paul Dendle admitted the firm was now fighting for its life – but vowed Mike would be compensated.
He said: “The company has had considerable problems and we suspended trading while we restructure the business.
“Clearly there are a number of issues…The flight advice that was sent to Mr Fraser regarding the earlier departure time he did not receive. We apologise for this and are investigating why it happened.
“Regarding the return flight, we had set up payment from the ATOL trust to the company that we were selling the seats on behalf of.
“The professional trustee raised issues in paying a non-ATOL company out of the ATOL-approved trust prior to the flight departure.
“We have acknowledged Mr Fraser’s complaint. We’ve refunded all monies paid and will write to Mr Fraser with a response and an offer.”