Nearly 200 Mexicans have been forced to sleep rough for days on end at Madrid’s airport in after a cheap flight deal turned sour, sparking a wave of public support.
Good Samaritans have been organizing aid for the 183 passengers stranded at the Adolfo Suarez Madrid-Barajas airport as they wait for places to become available to fly home to Mexico.
They have all fallen victim after purchasing budget tickets on AeroMexico which offered a special deal to airline staff and their relatives to enable to fly for very little on standby.
The airline warned the special ticket holders not to fly during peak holiday season when flights are generally oversubscribed and seats rarely become available.
But hundreds had used the opportunity to fly to Spain for their holidays.
Now, after days waiting to get on seats to fly home, travellers have run out of funds and are sleeping rough at the airport, unable even to fork out the €6 for an airport sandwich.
Passengers wrote a joint appeal to the Mexican Embassy in Madrid requesting assistance complaining that many “no longer had the funds to survive in the airport”.
Madrid residents have come to the rescue after facebook group Mexicanas en Madrid issued a public appeal for help for dozens waiting to return, including elderly travellers and families with young children.
“They need fruit, water, sandwiches, wet wipes, anything that could be of help. Or if anyone wants to offer their homes so they can get some rest,” read the initial appeal posted on Thursday.
Dozens came forward with donations of food, drink while others offered accommodation and lifts to and from the airport.
By Sunday, organizers said they had been inundated with food. “Please don’t bring any more food to the terminal. There are still people who need to rest but we don’t need more food,” they said.
The Mexican Embassy in Madrid responded that it was in direct contact with the airline and was “working to solve the situation”