Thomas Cook
A technical issue with a Thomas Cook aircraft left hundreds stranded on Sunday (9 July) Thomas Cook

Passengers were forced to deal with flight delays of 15 hours after a fault with a Thomas Cook Airlines aircraft left some people trapped for more than an hour in a stairwell before boarding.

Two Thomas Cook Airlines flights travelling from Manchester to Alicante and back were delayed for more than 14 hours due to a fault in the aircraft. The first flight, due to leave 5.55am BST on Sunday (9 July), did not leave until around 8.30pm that night.

The delay was caused by a technical problem and forced passengers to switch planes which had a domino effect, causing hundreds of passengers to be left stranded in the Spanish resort town.

Ben Kay Coles, a 27-year-old from Stockport, told the Manchester Evening News that he had flown out to Alicante to visit a friend for the weekend.

Coles said passengers were eventually transported to a hotel around 5pm but then brought back to the airport around 9.30pm.

Coles said passengers waited by the unstaffed gate for three hours before two staff members arrived and led them through the gate towards the plane.

"The doors were then locked behind us, and the doors at the base of the stairwell were locked too, we were left there for around 80 minutes. I suppose a three to four hour delay may have been understandable," he said, "but after more than 10 hours with no end in sight and no explanation we were all getting desperate."

In a statement, a Thomas Cook spokesperson said: "Our flights from Manchester to Alicante and Alicante to Manchester were delayed due to a technical fault on the outbound aircraft. our customers' safety is always our top priority and we are very sorry for the delay and inconvenience caused,"

"Our passengers were asked to form a queue in the stairwell while the aircraft was prepared for boarding. For the safety of everyone, the door out to the airfield was locked so that passengers couldn't go outside before boarding could begin," she added.

Several players of Manchester City Women's were among those stranded, including Karen Bardsley, Steph Houston and Izzy Christiansen. England team mates Siobhan Chamberlain and Alex Greenwood were also there and tweeted out their frustrations.

"Left stranded in Alicante by @TCAirlinesUK with no information about flight! Could be 6-7 hours. Good job we've got each other!" Chamberlain tweeted along with the women pouting. She later posted an update saying she had booked a new flight with Ryanair.