A family from Bury said they experienced ‘one thing after another’ after facing a 16-hour flight delay as they tried to get home from a 12-day holiday in Turkey.
The family, who asked not to be named, were initially due to fly back to Manchester Airport from Dalaman at midnight on Monday morning (June 6). However, their flight did not take off until 3.20pm the next day.
The family-of-four were initially told their early TUI flight had been delayed until 6.35am. The only discovered the flight had been cancelled altogether when they arrived at the Turkish airport.
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They were then transferred to a hotel where they stayed until lunchtime before returning back to Dalaman Airport for a new flight, which was then delayed by three hours. To add to their frustration, they were told they could not fly back to Manchester and would instead land at Birmingham, before they were changed to a flight arriving at London Gatwick due to a late inbound aircraft.
“First they told us we were going to Birmingham and I was a bit peeved about that because it was far from home but then it got changed to Gatwick,” the dad, who was travelling with his girlfriend, 12-year-old son and three-year-old daughter, told the M.E.N.
“It just made little sense to us because there were other flights going to Manchester. There was just no communication whatsoever to tell us why we were going to London.”
When the family arrived in London at 10pm on Monday night, they were told that TUI had provided a transfer pick-up to take them and the other passengers back to Manchester.
“We were left standing outside the airport as we were told our transfer would be 15 minutes,” the man said.
“The transfer just never arrived and they kept telling us it was 15 minutes away. I asked if we could wait inside as my daughter was screaming and crying because she was so cold and they just told us that if we missed our transfer, then we would have to arrange our own transportation back.
“There must have been about 20 families stuck outside the airport waiting for this transfer that never came. If they knew it would have been an hour or longer, I’d rather they had told me that and we could have gone inside and kept warm. They put us in a situation where no matter what we had to stay out in the cold.”
The family said they had to wait until 3am before a taxi was ordered to take them back to Manchester. The man’s girlfriend added: “My three-year-old had a dress on as we didn’t take warm clothing due to the heat in Turkey. We had a meet-and-greet planned for the airport, so in our eyes we were going straight off the plane into the car.
“Luckily, she had a blanket and we used that to wrap around her but she was still cold. She was hungry and tired while my son with additional needs was getting angry and it became hard to keep him calm.”
Having returned home back in Manchester at 7am on Tuesday (June 7), the family tried to contact TUI’s customer service to complain about their experience. They said it took them six hours of constantly trying before they got through to someone, who they claimed eventually put the phone down on them.
“Our luggage was damaged on the way there and we had to buy new cases,” he added. “They then ended up damaged again on the flight back too. It just felt like it was one thing after another.
“It was a really bad headache, I’ve never experienced anything like it in my life. My little girl is three and this was her first proper holiday where she could go into the pool and swim for herself, but all we can think of right now is the trip back. We had a good holiday and then as soon as we got to the airport everything kept going downhill. I feel like the way we were treated was ridiculous. They’ve offered us a holiday voucher but I will never use TUI again – it was the first and last time.”
His girlfriend added: “Never will I fly with TUI again. It’s disgusting how they didn’t even have a representative at the other end when we landed in London to help us. The customer service has been shocking. We have both lost two days of wages and have to pay for two days of nursery fees even though my daughter couldn’t attend. It’s a shambles of a service.”
TUI said all customers on the affected flight are eligible for compensation and have been sent further details on how to make a claim. Customers are advised to contact travel their insurance providers in relation to lost days of school or work.
A TUI spokesperson said: “We’d like to apologise to customers on flight TOM805 from Dalaman to Manchester for the delay and disruption to their flight. Unfortunately, due to operational issues the flight was delayed and then required to land at London Gatwick.
“We did everything we could to get passengers home as quickly as possible, including providing overnight accommodation and transport for all customers to return to Manchester. We understand that last minute delays are disappointing and we’d like to reassure customers that we are doing everything we can to get them to and from their holidays.
“The majority of our flights are operating as planned and we apologise again for any inconvenience caused. “
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