TUI passenger ‘nightmare’ as return flight delayed 20 hours
A holiday flight delayed by 20 hours saw the end of a dream holiday turn into a nightmare.
A passenger returning to Birmingham Airport from Cape Verde on the TUI flight from Sal to Birmingham said he was stuck in his departure airport for five hours without ‘any information’ before his plane was finally canceled.
When they were finally taken on coaches back to a hotel, they were told there had been a ‘medical emergency’ on board the outbound flight which meant it had to land at Tenerfire, Birmingham Live reports.
A TUI spokesperson said the airline had done ‘everything it could’ to get people home as quickly as possible, while one passenger told BirminghamLive their appeal for compensation had already been rejected.
Tim Bingle, from Buckinghamshire, said: “We were originally told a coach would pick us up at 4.15am the next morning so my wife and I went to bed at 10pm.
“We got up around 3:30am, packed all our things and went to reception, only to find a note taped to the counter stating that the flight time had changed and the pick up time would be now 7:30 a.m.
“What were we supposed to do then?”
“I told the TUI rep when the coach arrived that we had been waiting there for three and a half hours and they said an email had been sent around 10.30pm the night before.
“But of course most people were sleeping at that time. It’s ridiculous.”
He added: “It was all awful. It was one of the worst holidays I have ever had in my life.
“I understand that planes are hijacked and people get sick, but at the end of the day it comes down to communication and we didn’t get any information until much later.”
Natalie Elward, from Cardiff, said “rumors started circulating” when the departure board at Sal Airport was turned off.
“My husband was on a Facebook group for our hotel and someone mentioned there that something happened to the flight,” Natalie, 38, said.
“It was just whispers and rumours, nobody was sure what was going on.
“I am disabled and have to use a wheelchair to get through the airport. I was stuck there for six hours waiting for someone to tell us what was going on.
“If we weren’t with the friends we were with, I would have cried. I was in a lot of pain. Eventually a staff member from the airport came and said we definitely wouldn’t be flying until morning. .
“We didn’t have any details of what was going on until we were on a coach going to the hotel. That’s why people were going crazy, nobody knew what was going on.
“We had to go back and collect our bags and then the whole flight was queuing for the coach, which was going back and forth. It was a nightmare.
“Obviously everyone understood that a poor man’s health comes first, but it was the lack of communication, it was so stressful.”
Natalie added: “The vacation was a dream, it was paradise. We were up until then in a five-star, all-inclusive hotel.
“But once you got into the mode of going home, we just wanted to get out of there.”
The plane eventually landed in Birmingham 19 hours and 23 minutes later than scheduled, which passengers say was followed by another 50-minute delay while waiting for steps to get off the flight to become available.
Tim says his claim for compensation from TUI was rejected on the grounds that it was caused by a medical incident.
He said: “People were getting very stressed and very annoyed by the end.
“The least they could have done was give us a free drink on the plane but we didn’t even get that, it was a complete prank.
“I will no longer fly 100% with TUI.”
A TUI spokesperson said: “We can confirm that TOM705 from Sal to Birmingham on February 12 was delayed due to a passenger on the outbound flight requiring urgent medical attention.
“We understand that delays can be frustrating, but we have done everything we can to get passengers home as quickly as possible.
“The safety and well-being of passengers and crew is always our top priority and we would like to thank passengers for their patience and understanding.”
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