Plane was held back due to technical fault, Tui says
A British grandmother cancelled her £1,200 holiday after she was told to wait at the airport during a 13-hour flight delay.
Lesley Horner, 62, arrived at Doncaster Airport at 4 am on 11 May and expected to be on the way to Palma, Majorca within two hours.
But once she checked in, she discovered that her flight with Tui had been delayed by 13 hours because the only plane available was stuck in Tenerife. Ms Horner waited in the airport lounge for five hours, and eventually went home.
She said the passengers were only told about the delay after everyone had checked in, and that most of the holidaymakers were older than 60.
Tui said the plane was delayed due to a technical fault and it was unable to find somewhere for the stranded passengers to stay. The German-based company asked stranded passengers to go home or stay at the airport.
Ms Horner said: “My main thing is I am angry about it, plus I would be scared to book again now that this has happened – I’m just numb.
“It makes you feel uncertain about everything – they throw you to the wolves once they’ve got your money.
“On the way out, the terminal was full of people – I just looked the other way and thought, ‘I’ve got to get out of here’.”
Ms Horner, from Brighouse, West Yorkshire, booked a last-minute break on 5 May and looked forward to spending 10 days in Cala D’or.
Travellers on the delayed flight were told they would be taken to a hotel until its new departure time, but after waiting for a few hours Ms Horner said there was no sign of the hotel.
Passengers were then informed they could go home and come back for the flight or go to the airport lounge where they would be given vouchers for food, she said.
“After five hours I’d had enough and couldn’t take anymore – by the time I got to Palma I wouldn’t have slept for over 24 hours,” said Ms Horner.
Recounting Tui’s offers of help, she added: “They said they would arrange to take us to a hotel, put us up, and bring us back when the flight was due out around twenty past seven in the evening – I sat around for a few hours but that didn’t materialise.
“Then they told us we could go home and come back for the flight or go to the lounge and we would be given some vouchers for food.
“However, the lounge was purely for passing through and there was nowhere to relax – after a certain amount of time we left the terminal and as I suffer from anxiety, I became anxious – I think it was the build-up of stress.
“I missed the holiday which cost me just short of £1,200 and another £120 to park. I haven’t been able to speak to Tui on the phone. I’ve been on hold for hours and the app for requesting refunds has been having technical problems so I can’t use that.”
A Tui spokesperson said: “We’re very sorry to hear about Ms Horner’s flight to Palma which was delayed due to a technical fault.
“Unfortunately, due to operational issues, we were unable to source hotel accommodation on this occasion and gave the option for customers to travel back home or stay at the airport with additional welfare vouchers.
“We will be contacting Ms Horner directly to express our apologies and resolve her complaint.”