A British stag party who were left stranded in Amsterdam when easyJet cancelled their flight were forced to buy bikes to catch the ferry back home.
Groom-to-be Alex Sisan, 29, from Worthing, West Sussex, was joined by 13 others for a boozy two-day stay in the Dutch capital and were booked onto an easyJet flight to return to London Gatwick at 1.25pm on Saturday.
When the flight was cancelled, the group initially looked at buying Eurostar tickets and renting a car to drive to the station, but decided the best route would be to board a ferry in Calais.
But when they called up to ask about the crossing to Dover they were told foot passengers were not allowed due to safety reasons, so decided to buy bikes instead.
It meant stopping off at two points on the train journey – Brussels and Lille – to buy bicycles at reduced prices from second-hand shops and Facebook marketplace.
Eventually they made it to Dover 12 hours after their flight was cancelled.
A British stag party, pictured, who were left stranded in Amsterdam when easyJet cancelled their flight were forced to buy bikes from locals to catch the ferry back home
Alex Sisan holds his bike after reaching Calais. The team were forced to travel by train and ferry to get home
Route back home: When their flight was cancelled, the group decided to travel by train from Amsterdam to Calais to take a ferry back to the UK. When they found out passengers couldn’t travel on foot, they decided to stop off in Brussels and Lille to buy bikes instead
Memories to last a lifetime! Alex Sisan, 29, and his wife-to-be Holly Matthews, 29. The groom-to-be said the weekend was one of the ‘best of his life’, even though it didn’t go to plan
Groom-to-be Alex Sisan, 29, said: ‘We had the craziest day, but we just wanted to get home – we ended up spending Euro 1,540 (£1,300) on bikes!
‘At the time it didn’t feel like fun, but I had two of the best days of my life with 13 best friends and this just topped it off.
‘Looking back, the experience was so stressful and like something from a movie or a Top Gear challenge.
‘But it was so much fun and a brilliant story that I will be telling at the wedding, and hopefully to my kids and then their kids!’
The stag do arrived in Amsterdam on Thursday and stayed in a hotel in the city centre.
They were then booked onto an easyJet flight to return from Schiphol airport two days later, and arrived five hours early to beat the queues.
The group of 14 lads from Worthing, West Sussex had enjoyed a boozy bender in the Dutch capital and spent two days enjoying the sights and sounds.
They were then booked onto an easyJet flight to return from Schiphol airport two days later, and arrived five hours early to beat the queues. But, after standing in line for security for hours, they were dismayed to find out their flight had been cancelled, and had to get bikes home instead
But, after standing in line for security for hours, they were dismayed to find out their flight had been cancelled.
After trying to reach easyJet for help, it was decided that leaving the airport was the best option.
Fruitless attempts at renting a car and getting Eurostar tickets ensued, before it was suggested that a ferry to Dover would be viable.
The party then boarded a train to Calais, which went via Brussels and Lille.
But, while travelling, they discovered that health and safety rules prevented foot passengers from using the only service they could make that day.
Fruitless attempts at renting a car and getting Eurostar tickets ensued, before it was suggested that a ferry to Dover would be viable. The party then boarded a train to Calais, which went via Brussels and Lille. But, while travelling, they discovered that health and safety rules prevented foot passengers from using the only service they could make that day. They are pictured at Calais
It was then that someone suggested trying to buy 14 bikes during stopovers in the European cities.
Some managed to buy bikes in Brussels, while the rest picked up bargains in Lille.
Alex, who is getting married next month, said: ‘We had to spend two hours running around Lille to get bikes.
‘We had booked a Calais to Dover crossing but you needed bikes to get on – no foot passengers were allowed.
‘I was on Facebook Marketplace for two hours, with the pin location set to Lille, trying to arrange to buy some of these bikes. They ranged from 40 euros to 220 euros!’
Thirteen members of the group managed to find bikes, bartering with locals in secondhand shops.
But, when they got back to the train station in Lille, they hit another snag.
The one service that would get them to Calais in time would only take fold-up bikes – with no exceptions.
Groom Alec added that the group spent more than £400 each -and then had to get lifts home from Dover
This meant the group had to hail down taxis to drive them down to the port – at a cost of Euro 350 per car.
Arriving in Calais with less than an hour to spare, the group boarded the ferry – with the help of a charitable couple who let the member without a bike into their car.
They then landed in Dover at around 11.30pm.
Alex added: ‘All in all, we all must have spent at least Euro 400 each – then we had to get lifts from Dover.
‘But this ended up being the best weekend of my life.’
Thousands of Brits are still stranded in Europe amid ongoing travel chaos put down to various issues, such as staffing and weather.
An easyJet spokesperson said: ‘We are very sorry that the group’s flight from Amsterdam to London Gatwick was cancelled.
‘We notified customers directly of their options to rebook or receive a refund and are providing hotel accommodation and meals where required.
‘Our customer service hours and hotel accommodation sourcing have been extended to support impacted customers and help get them to their destination as soon as possible.
‘Nonetheless we fully understand the disruption this will have caused to their plans and we are very sorry for this.
‘Our team are reaching out to the group to talk through their options and reimburse them for any reasonable expenses.’