A group of Maltese travellers who were stranded for days at Munich Airport have had to resort to taking a taxi to catch an alternative flight... from Zürich.

The four-hour journey will cost them €900, but with Munich Airport announcing on Monday night it would close until midday on Tuesday, and train and bus services also disrupted, the group felt they had little choice.

Munich airport was closed because of a severe snowstorm on Friday and Air Malta was forced to cancel all flights to it since. 

The airport was briefly reopened for some flights on Monday but Air Malta's was not among them. 

“The airport was meant to be closed again until noon (on Tuesday), but that only means more delays and cancellations – as was the case on Sunday and Monday,” said Alexis Callus, who on Monday described the situation at the airport as “a mess”.

Callus said the group passed the Austrian border earlier on Tuesday morning and crossed into Switzerland shortly before midday. They are planning to catch Air Malta flight KM491 departing from Zürich at 5.40 pm.

The four-hour taxi ride will cost the group €900. Photo: Google Maps.The four-hour taxi ride will cost the group €900. Photo: Google Maps.

He and his fellow passengers resorted to taking a cab after train services in Munich were also suspended, Callus said. But he questioned why alternative arrangements hadn’t been provided.

“Someone could have easily got us all in a bus out of Munich rather than groups of us forking out thousands of euros between us," he said.

Callus said he was aware of another three taxis taking the same route, with two others leaving on Tuesday morning and a third departing the night before.

The passengers decided to head to Switzerland after being offered flights home from Zurich by Air Malta and, in Callus' case, Lufthansa, he said, explaining the two airlines have a codeshare agreement allowing them to each sell tickets for the same flight.  

On Monday, Air Malta said that 528 passengers in Munich had been unable to fly due to cancellations affecting nine of its flights.

Planes and airport equipment were covered by a thick layer of snow. Photo: Alexis Callus.Planes and airport equipment were covered by a thick layer of snow. Photo: Alexis Callus.

Train services were also disrupted. Photo: Alexis Callus.Train services were also disrupted. Photo: Alexis Callus.

Snowed in

On Monday, Callus said the conditions at the airport were "turning into a real human issue,” with shortages of staff and supplies leaving passengers without adequate facilities.

He said passengers had been forced to sleep on benches or the floor, with only food from snack trolleys taken off planes available.

But despite the challenging situation, on Monday Callus said Air Malta's head office had not reached out to the passengers left stranded at the airport.

Malta’s national carrier has not been the only airline to face criticism from passengers. One German social media user posted a screenshot of a nine-hour phone call he said was him on hold to Lufthansa, according to a report by Euronews.

“This is the slowest hotline ever. Suggest to award a Guiness Book of Records entry for that," the passenger wrote.

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