A COUPLE were forced to cancel a spontaneous birthday trip to Portugal after easyJet discovered the plane was overweight and kicked 11 passengers off the flight.

Patrick and Cherry Kelliher had decided to fly to Faro, in Portugal, from Southend Airport for an extended weekend away in celebration of Patrick’s 67th birthday.

But Patrick, who works at Tesco, said the couple were left devastated when they were asked to leave the plane.

He said: “We were onboard ready to go when the pilot said he couldn’t take off because it was overweight so they picked people that were last to book and removed them from the plane.

“It’s something I’ve never known to happen before. They offered me a flight from a different airport the following day but it just didn’t make sense where I had already booked the time off work and would have had to go to Luton.

“I just wanted to fly from my local airport for a short trip away and I had already used up my holiday at work so couldn’t have extended it.”

Mr Kelliher, from Southend, spent £1,100 on the holiday and has been offered compensation. But he has been left battling it out with credit card and holiday companies over reimbursement for his other expenses.

He added: “It’s just so disappointing and something I’ve never heard before. There were larger people than us getting on after we left but I suppose they chose the fairest way.”

A spokesman for easyJet said: “We are sorry Mr Kelliher was unable to travel as planned especially since this was a birthday trip for him.

“As with all airlines, weight restrictions are in place for safety reasons. The aircraft was overweight for the weather conditions which meant that 11 passengers had to be transferred onto a later flight.

“Those passengers who were affected were provided with flights with alternate carrier the next day, overnight hotel accommodation, meals and compensation.

“We are sorry for the inconvenience caused. The safety and welfare of our passengers and crew is always easyJet’s highest priority.”