Norwich flights: No end in sight for the chaos TUI

Published:
06:00 July 27, 2022



What should be many people’s highlight of the year has turned into a living nightmare as chaos continues at Norwich Airport.

Dozens of TUI flights have been delayed in recent weeks, with some passengers now delayed for more than 24 hours.

An airline spokeswoman said the operational disruptions were “a broad industry issue”.

On Tuesday alone, the 12.15pm TUI flight from Palma de Mallorca to Norwich was diverted via Doncaster.

Meanwhile, the 1:40 p.m. departure to Heraklion was estimated to be 10:00 p.m. at the earliest on the same day.


TUI passengers on coach from Doncaster to Norwich
– Credit: Ian Mackie

Passengers on the Mallorca flight were not told they would be transferred to Doncaster until they were seated on the plane.

Thorpe St Andrew County Councilor Ian Mackie, who was among them, said: “This follows a pattern of severe disruption to TUI flights.

“I’ve heard a lot that they won’t be using Norwich Airport anymore. I fear that will be the biggest loser from this disruption.

“Better contingency plans need to be put in place – quickly.”


Cllr Ian Mackie, Broadland District Councillor, Thorpe St Andrew North West.

Councilor Ian Mackie
– Credit: Ian Mackie

The flight from Norwich to Dalaman scheduled for Sunday was also delayed overnight due to operational disruptions with passengers transferred to Gatwick Airport instead.

John Pollitt, 56, and his wife Jackie, 53, who both work at City College, were delayed more than 24 hours to return from Dalaman to Norwich.

Their flight was originally scheduled to depart at 2 p.m. Monday but was rescheduled for 11:55 p.m. Tuesday.

The couple – who flew to Turkey to celebrate their two birthdays with their 17-year-old son Liam – will now land at London Gatwick.


John Pollitt and his wife Jackie during their birthday holiday at the Turkish resort of Calis Beach

John Pollitt and his wife Jackie during their birthday holiday at the Turkish resort of Calis Beach
– Credit: John Pollitt

Mr Pollitt – who lives in Frettenham – said: “We had to cover ourselves for work and it cost us around £150 for the extra night and the taxi to the airport. Hopefully we can claim from TUI.

“All the uncertainty weighed heavily on the holiday. For the first 17 hours of delay, we heard nothing.”


John Pollitt with his wife Jackie and son Liam while on vacation in Turkey

John Pollitt with his wife Jackie and son Liam while on vacation in Turkey
– Credit: John Pollitt

Commenting on the delay from Norwich to Dalaman, a TUI spokeswoman said: “Unfortunately a number of delays prevented the aircraft and assigned crew from operating this flight and we had to put another team in place. .

“We were able to allocate a larger Boeing 787 for this flight. However, this type of aircraft is not permitted to operate from Norwich Airport, so the flight took off from Gatwick Airport.”

There was even more disruption to a TUI flight from Ibiza to Norwich on Saturday July 23 which took off, circled and then landed in Ibiza after a bird struck the plane.

Passengers were transported on an alternative TUI flight to Gatwick Airport with coach transfers.

The disruption is worrying TUI customers with upcoming flights, including Philip Waller, who is due to travel to Mallorca on August 6 for a family holiday.


Philip Waller who is due to fly with TUI on Saturday August 6

Philip Waller who is due to fly with TUI on Saturday August 6
– Credit: Philip Waller

He said: “We are worried. A lot of airports are struggling but this is a real concern.”

It comes as passengers who were due to fly to Rhodes from Norwich last Wednesday were sent to London, only to be transferred to Norwich the next morning for a flight.


Passengers hoping to fly from Norwich to Rhodes have been heavily delayed

Passengers hoping to fly from Norwich to Rhodes have been heavily delayed
– Credit: Mark Overton

Those landing at Gatwick instead of Norwich from Rhodes then had to wait two hours for taxis that night as TUI had not provided sufficient space for the coach transfer.

Following pressure from this newspaper, TUI admitted that its operational problems were due to staff shortages.

When asked what he was doing to remedy the situation, TUI chief executive Andrew Flintham said there were five more planes on standby.

But when asked when customers in the city can expect the chaos to end, the airline came up empty-handed.

Instead, he pledged to “improve communication” and thanked customers for their patience.

Mr Flintham added: “We have recruited more staff, we have more aircraft available and we have further improved the way we communicate with customers to help them in the unlikely event that things do not go as they wish. intended.”


Norwich Airport.  Photo: DENISE BRADLEY

Norwich Airport
– Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

A spokeswoman for Norwich Airport said: “This is an airline issue, not an airport issue.

“There is not much we can do unfortunately.”

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