Tui pilot praised for loading bags onto plane in rain after 30 hour delay

A Tui pilot known only as ‘Simon’ has been hailed by customers who say he left the cockpit to go and load bags onto the plane at Manchester Airport yesterday.

Passengers on flight TOM2744 from Tui to Heraklion say the employee went “above and beyond” by stepping out into the rain to load the boxes himself, after their flight was delayed for a day.

Traveler Katherine Cox posted a video of a man in a tie and a Tui-branded high-visibility vest on the tarmac, loading boxes onto the conveyor belt to the hold.

Meanwhile, another customer, Jenny Cook, tweeted: “Please @TUIUK @TUIGroup can we get an Excellence Award for Simon, the co-pilot of TOM2744 departing Manchester on May 30?

“He’s on the tarmac in the rain helping load the bags to try and get us going after 30 hours late so far.”

In the video, passengers can be heard saying “Go on man” and “Go on Simon”, saying “This guy is a legend”, as they criticize the baggage handlers standing on the tarmac.

The plane’s passengers had originally arrived for their flight a day and a half earlier – it was scheduled for 7.55am on Sunday morning. They say they boarded a Tui plane around 7:30 a.m. with no problems.

However, they then endured a two-hour wait, which turned into a delay of over 24 hours.

Jenny Cook was traveling with her husband Duncan and twins Charlotte and Holly.

She said The Independent“After waiting about two hours, the pilot informed us that the luggage was the problem. The passengers cheered as the bags arrived after about three hours and began to be loaded.

“But halfway through they were told to unload and the pilot confirmed we were unable to stay on the plane. No reason was given. My girls were in tears.

Ms Cook says the Tui passengers were escorted through the terminal, where no member of airline staff appeared to explain the problem.

Instead, they received emails from Tui, citing “operational issues” for the cancellation.

“People started getting emails saying the flight had been postponed to the next day,” says Ms Cook. “My email didn’t come until I was in the taxi on my way home later that day.”

As they live locally, the Cook family returned home and the following morning returned to Manchester Airport for the rescheduled 1.15pm departure. But there were even more delays, with passengers waiting until mid-afternoon to board the plane.

“Eventually we got a door number and went to wait. The wait continued and we finally boarded,” says Ms Cook.

Around 3pm, “the bags arrived and the next we heard was the pilot apologizing for the past 30 hours. He explained that they were doing everything they could to get the flight out.

The pilot told the passengers there could be another 40 minutes of waiting due to baggage loading issues.

“He said, ‘My co-driver Simon is even loading bags’ – so we looked out the window and there he was.”

A Manchester Airport spokesperson said Swissport is in charge of baggage handling for Tui flights.

“The next day we knew we were driving to the track, we were all cheering. I decided to tweet because this guy had gone above and beyond,” says Ms Cook.

She thinks Tui should recognize the pilot for helping get the flight started.

“We were all surprised by what he had done,” she adds. “Thirty-two hours late and it could have been a lot longer without Simon.”

A spokesman for airport services company Swissport said a number of companies handle baggage at Manchester Airport.

They said: “In today’s aviation industry, the average passenger’s journey depends on several different organizations providing a range of key services, including baggage handling among many others. Small impacts on any part of that journey – such as air traffic restrictions, strain on airport infrastructure, security queues or last-minute flight schedule changes – can have repercussions that multiply delays and disruptions elsewhere.

“While the return of flight volumes after the severe impact of the pandemic is undoubtedly a positive development, it also exacerbates resource issues in the aviation industry, including at Swissport, particularly during a busy holiday period. .

“We are truly sorry for our part in the delays and disruptions experienced by passengers. We are doing everything in our power to meet our resource challenges, welcoming more than 2,000 new colleagues since the start of the year, and we continue to work with our partners to identify contingency measures and improve baggage and aircraft processing times.

A Tui spokesperson said: “We are aware of videos being shared on social media showing one of our amazing Tui pilots supporting our operation by loading bags onto one of our planes bound for Crete from Manchester May 30, 2022.

“While not something our pilots would normally do, this video is an example of the incredible dedication of Tui colleagues who go out of their way to keep customers away while on vacation. We will never thank him. enough for its quick and decisive actions, and we would like to thank all of our teams who continue to demonstrate their hard work and commitment to Tui and its customers.

“We understand that we have disappointed some customers with the recent disruption, but we would like to reassure them that we are doing everything we can to keep them away while on vacation.”

The spokesperson added that Tui “would like to apologize for the inconvenience caused to our customers on flight TOM2744 from Manchester to Heraklion on Sunday 29th May who were affected by a change of aircraft due to operational issues”, saying that affected customers have been contacted and offered the option to cancel their holiday for a full refund.

“We understand how frustrating and disappointing this has been and are truly sorry for any inconvenience caused,” they concluded.

The Independent has contacted Manchester Airports Group for comment.

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