Wales

Cardiff travellers speak of Lapland 'disappointment'

Child arriving home at Cardiff airport
Image caption Families arrived back at Cardiff airport on Sunday night

Day-trippers who flew from Cardiff to Lapland to see Father Christmas have spoken of their disappointment after a diverted flight left them with just three hours at the resort.

Around 188 travellers were stranded in Finland overnight after embarking on the day trip on Saturday.

Andrew and Michelle Galleozzie who took their son and daughter on the trip said it was was "very disappointing".

Travel firm Transun has said it is "deeply sorry".

Some of the travellers paid as much as £1,500 for the festive day due to leave early on Saturday morning and arrive back that night.

Image caption The trippers had to travel by coach

The group took off from Cardiff but their plane was diverted to Kittila, Finland, because another aircraft had broken down on the runway at their planned arrival destination of Enontekio.

As a result, the trippers had to take a two hour bus journey to the resort, arriving just before 1700 GMT. This left them with less than three hours at Lapland before their pick up time of 1945 GMT.

Andrew Galleozzie and his wife had saved up all year to take their nine-year-old son and six-year-old daughter on the trip.

"After having a little bit of a wait, a delay in the airport, we had a two hour coach trip to the resort," he said.

"When we got there it was very late in the day, it was very cold, some people were recording -35.

"All the sort of huskies, the reindeers were clapped out - they had no go in them. There was no organisation."

Wife Michelle added: "We feel the visit to Santa was rushed and we were back on the bus then for another two hours to go back to the airport.

"We then found out that we couldn't actually leave that night.

'Crying'

"We spent a lot of money coming on this trip to find the whole experience very disappointing.

"There was a lot of children crying on the day and nobody to turn to, we didn't have anything explained to us."

Eleven year old Anna-Leigh who was on the trip with her family said she would not go to Lapland again.

"I just didn't like it, we had to go on loads of journeys on the bus and Father Christmas wasn't that good.

"We didn't do much, we only had a couple of hours."

Another Daniel, 10, from Merthyr, said: "You go and you expect it to be good. And then it turns out you can only go on three rides, you don't get a letter from Santa, the plane broke down. It's terrible.

Travel operator Transun apologised for the travel problems.

"We are deeply sorry for the problems faced by our customers but it is impossible for us to legislate for technical issues with an aircraft and we make that clear in our holiday contract with passengers, which is standard for the industry."

Thomson Airways, said Saturday night's return flight had to be postponed to Sunday evening due to "technical problems".

A spokesman said: "We would like to sincerely apologise to all customers on this flight for the delay and any inconvenience caused.

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