Armed police board TUI flight after passengers waited three hours for takeoff
Armed police boarded a TUI pkane and escorted passengers after they had been seated for three hours awaiting takeoff. Kelly Clarke and her nine-year-old son, Toby, were among those due to fly to Costa Adeje.
After ‘chaos’ in the terminal with long queues everywhere, the family boarded their flight three hours after their original departure time. They were then held in “scalding” conditions on board for another three hours – with one boy even vomiting from stress. Armed police then boarded the plane and escorted all passengers off the plane, Kelly said.
It took over an hour to collect the luggage, as passengers were told they could fly the next day. Kelly, 42, told MEN: “It was just ridiculous – (the ground crew) loaded half the bags and disappeared. The pilot said they had abandoned us.
“We went through passport and baggage control and waited an hour and a half in the baggage area. There was a woman there trying to take care of all of us and said there would be a flight tomorrow.
“The next day we arrived at the airport at 1 p.m. and started all this again with delays, no one knew what was going on. We were at the gate for two and a half hours and we could see the luggage next to the plane, no one was loading it. Everyone was looking out the window.
“We saw the luggage moving away and I thought, that’s it. They left us again. Not everyone was happy. The children were heartbroken; they were crying. It was horrible.”
Kelly claims TUI offered passengers another flight for the next day – but she refused to take the risk and spend the whole night worrying. “They said it could potentially happen tomorrow and we’d have another sleepless night,” she continued. “I said I didn’t. There was no point in leaving for three days.
Kelly has since been offered £350 compensation, but is still awaiting a refund for her holiday package from TUI, which costs around £1,500. “I still haven’t heard absolutely anything from them,” she added. “I can’t reach TUI at all.”
A TUI spokesperson said: “We would like to apologize to customers traveling on flight TOM2106 from Manchester to Tenerife on Monday 30th May which unfortunately was delayed due to operational issues. We know that the last minute delays are incredibly disappointing and we work closely with baggage handlers and airport partners to take customers on holiday.
“We have been in contact with the affected customers, offering them overnight accommodation and meals if required, and advising them of their new departure time as soon as we can.
“The start of the mid-term holidays has been an extremely busy time which has put the entire travel industry under pressure, with staff shortages, supply chain issues and general operational disruptions adding to the challenges. We can reassure our customers that this was an extraordinary situation, and the majority of our flights are now operating as normal. We are again sorry for the inconvenience caused.”
A spokesperson for ground handling company Swissport added: “We know people are really excited to go back on vacation after long periods of not flying during the pandemic. We are truly sorry for the experience these passengers had on this flight and are reviewing the specific circumstances to understand what went wrong.
“The return of post-pandemic travel demand is good news, but the current travel rush is exacerbating resource issues in the recovering aviation industry. We are working hard to meet our resource challenges and have hired 2,800 new colleagues since the start of the year. We will continue to work with our partners to find industry-wide solutions to this problem.