‘Everyone was stressed out. It was absolutely crazy,’ says irate customer
Tui axed flight TOM269 to Manchester once passengers had already boarded the aircraft just before 5am on Tuesday morning – nearly four hours later than it had been due to depart.
But instead of the long-awaited take-off, seated customers were informed that pilots and crew needed rest after a long shift and could not operate the flight, causing a furore onboard as “stressed” passengers cried and shouted.
Following their hours-long wait at the airport and on the plane, all travellers had to disembark and were transferred to a hotel close to the airport.
The passenger, who did not want to be named, told Manchester Evening News: “The flight was originally planned to leave at 12.50am, but we didn’t get ready to take off until around 5am. When we finally got on the plane, we were told to sit down as quickly as possible as there was a 15-minute slot we needed to make.
“The pilot then went on to the tannoy and said that he and the crew needed to rest due to tiredness. They explained we needed to leave the plane and we’d get transferred to a hotel and Tui would be in touch with us.
“Nobody could believe it. Everyone thought it was a joke because we’d already been delayed by four hours. People were shouting, there were people panicking and shouting. There were children crying and screaming, everyone was stressed out. It was absolutely crazy.”
The passenger, who was travelling with his wife and four-year-old child, said he and his spouse had both missed out on work due to the delay.
“We’re stuck in 40-degree heat with no idea on what’s happening,” he told reporters on Wednesday.
“We’ve not been told when we’re expected to fly back. All I’ve had is an email from Tui offering us a £150 holiday voucher.
“My wife has lost out on two days of work and my child has missed his transition day at school to meet his new teachers. We’ve been left at a hotel in the middle of a highway.”
As an epilepsy sufferer, he added: “I’m trying not to get too stressed out because of my epilepsy as it can send me into major seizures, but not knowing what is happening is the worst. If we knew what the plan was, we could make a trip out or do something.”
He said the family had already experienced travel chaos, with an initial holiday booking to Egypt, for which Turkey was the replacement.
“We were due to fly out to Egypt on 22 June, but they cancelled the holiday two days beforehand because they said the flight was non-existent,” he said.
“We rebooked to go to Turkey on 21 June for 14 nights instead and were delayed by two and a half hours leaving Manchester.”
He said: “I won’t ever go with Tui ever again – and I’ve spent a lot of money with them in the past. It’s been an absolute shambles, I’ve never known anything like this in all of my life.”
A Tui spokesperson said: “We’d like to apologise to customers due to travel on TOM269 from Izmir to Manchester on Tuesday 5 July, which was delayed until the following day. This was due to an initial delay on the outbound flight which led to crew being out of hours for the return.
“We kept customers updated throughout and provided overnight accommodation, meals and refreshments as needed. We understand that last minute delays are incredibly disappointing and would like to reassure customers that we will never leave them stranded overseas.”
Meanwhile, summer holidaymakers face far higher fares and fewer travel options as the unprecedented scale of British Airways’ summer cancellations becomes apparent.
The carrier yesterday cut a further 10,300 short-haul flights between August and October, on top of previous pre-emptive cancellations.
The latest cuts mean the airline will have dropped almost 30,000 flights during the summer season.