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Three airports and 23 taxis: The Fron Choir's journey from hell

By Jonny Drury | Chirk | News | Published:

They were looking forward to performing in front of a bumper crowd in Austria.

The Fron Male Voice Choir singing in Vienna after an arduous journey to Austria

But Froncysyllte Male Voice Choir’s journey to Vienna turned into something of a nightmare involving three airports, 23 taxis and a dash across the country.

The choir, from the small village near Chirk, perform regularly across the world, playing at events both big and small.

Members were setting off to Vienna on Sunday, where they were to perform at a series of concerts around the city.

However the choir almost never made it as their ‘journey from hell’ began with the cancellation of their flight in Manchester at about 3pm on Sunday.

Looking down at the audience from where the choir were singing at St Peters Church Vienna

After hours of waiting around they were due to travel to Gatwick Airport – but a bus never turned up and easyJet put on a fleet of 23 taxis to take the choristers to London.

With the M6 closed, diversions had to be taken before the group finally arrived at a hotel at 2.30am, only to discover they were two rooms short.

By this time the group had lost three choristers and their guests, who had agreed to travel out the following day, but the fiasco didn’t stop there.

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The timetable from hell:

  • 3pm, Sunday - Choristers due to arrive at Manchester Airport for a flight to Vienna, only to find it's cancelled. Face a wait of almost seven hours at the airport.
  • 10pm - Bus due to arrive but didn't, so 23 taxis ordered to take the party from Manchester to a hotel near Gatwick.
  • 2.30am, Monday - Choristers arrive and are told the hotel is two rooms short.
  • 3.30am - Due to leave to catch an easyJet flight to Luton.
  • 4.25am - Still no bus.
  • 6.30am - The group is still waiting for a bus to get them to the airport and realise easyJet haven't actually booked a bus.
  • 7.30am - Flight due to take off but is held for the choristers and their guests. Phew!

At 3.30am a bus was due to arrive for a 7.30am flight from Luton. But by about 6am the bus still hadn’t turned up.

However, it arrived shortly afterwards and the choristers managed to get on the flight after the plane was delayed for them.

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Choir members David T Jones said he was just thankful the group managed to arrive in the end.

He said: “It was some journey in the end, but we were all glad just to get there. We were told various different reasons why our flight had been cancelled, and when we were trying to book other flights they were becoming more full because of other cancelled flights.

“Three choristers said they weren’t going to come so the group number dropped from 77, and then we ended up getting the taxis to Gatwick.

"In the end most of the group managed to get over to Austria, so we were all thankful for that. EasyJet has said they will be compensating us, and have agreed to pay each of the passengers 250 euros.”

After the travel fiasco the choir rushed to their concert at St Peter’s Church in Vienna.

The singers performed to an audience of about 400 in the church, to the delight of the group and Mr Jones.

He said: “After the woes of the last 24 hours the performance was amazing.

“The church had fantastic acoustics and it was a brilliant concert. We managed to fill the audience and were given a round of applause, which we were told by a priest rarely happens.

“We have only slept about an hour in 24 hours, but the concert was just fantastic.

“We’re all looking forward to a good tour now, and hoping for less stressful return home.”

Holly Mitchell, easyJet spokeswoman, said: “easyJet appreciated the inconvenience that the cancellation of flight EZY1979 on June 10 would have caused for the choir due to perform in Vienna and so rebooked them to fly from London Luton to Vienna on June 11.

“Unfortunately due to a shortage of hotel rooms at London Luton easyJet was required to source hotels in Crawley and also provided their transport from Manchester.

“Further transport from the hotel to London Luton airport on Monday morning did not arrive as expected and so easyJet paid for taxis to take the group to London Luton where the group continued their journey to Vienna.

“easyJet would like to thank the choir and all passengers due to travel on the cancelled flight for their patience and apologise for the inconvenience caused.”

Jonny Drury

By Jonny Drury
@JonnyDrury_Star

Senior reporter covering Oswestry and Mid Wales.

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