Daniel Riley, 43, from Barnsley, South Yorkshire, was due to fly to Crete from Manchester Airport with his family but after 48 hours of waiting, TUI selected them to make the move as the plane was too small
Image: Daniel Riley)
A family was selected by TUI to be banned from a flight to Greece as the plane was undersized after a 48 hour wait due to airport delays.
Daniel Riley, 43, his wife Diane, 41, and daughter Eva, 11, were booked to fly to Crete on Sunday morning and heeded the airline’s advice to drop off their luggage the night before to help with traffic jams.
Having traveled from Barnsley, South Yorkshire, they waited three hours in the “chaos” at Manchester Airport before finally checking their bags in around 8pm on Saturday.
They then decided to book into a local hotel, ready for the next day.
The Rileys quickly went through for their 4am departure but were then hit with huge delays and cancellations that would result in them not going on holiday at all.
On Sunday they sat on the plane on the runway for three hours before all passengers were escorted back to the airport.
Another three-hour wait ensued before the airline told everyone the flight was off and would be returning the following afternoon.
“There was no one there to give you any information,” Daniel told the Mirror.
“We had been waiting on the runway for hours, due to the backlog of cases and lack of staff, they couldn’t get the luggage onto the plane.
“And finally when the luggage came out and they started loading it, they had to unload it because of the time we had been waiting and the flight was delayed.”
Passengers were told several hours later that they could not be accommodated in hotels and should head home or book accommodation themselves, Daniel said.
After collecting their luggage, the three then went to a nearby hotel and returned to the airport on Monday afternoon.
Daniel said: “We got to the departure gate and they called our names and some other couples to come to the information desk.
“We were told the entire flight had been moved to a smaller aircraft so they were removing people and since we hadn’t booked directly through TUI as a package tour…we would only have gotten the flights with TUI so they removed us. “
Despite the agonizing wait when the flight flashed and the gate number was announced, Daniel said: “We were excited again.”
However, there were rumors “fluttering around” as some passengers had received emails suggesting the plane had less capacity.
“As soon as our name was called, we knew that was it,” Daniel said.
“They just walked us to a door and said there will be a representative on the opposite side and then they closed the door but there was nobody there so you didn’t know.
“That was the worst.”
They finally left the airport at 5pm on Monday – a full two days after their initial arrival.
The Rileys had booked their holiday through On the Beach (OTB) and have now been informed by TUI that they can be refunded on the flights but this must be done through the booking agent.
However, Daniel said it was impossible to reach OTB.
He said: “Right now OTB is just completely closed, you can’t reach anyone. All lines are simply switched off.”
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They had also paid £1,500 directly to the hotel in Crete for an upgrade and were informed by the hotel that this is non-refundable.
Additionally, Daniel said, “They lost one of our cases, even though we didn’t go anywhere, it didn’t show up.”
While awaiting their refund, the family have now booked to fly to another resort in Crete on another airline and will be flying from Birmingham later this week.
A TUI spokesman said passengers who were denied boarding were “proactively” sent a link to make a claim.
They said: “We would like to apologize for the inconvenience caused to our customers on flight TOM2744 from Manchester to Heraklion on Sunday 29 May who were affected by an aircraft change due to operational issues.
“We contacted affected customers as soon as we became aware of the change and offered them the option to cancel their holiday for a full refund.
“We understand how frustrating and disappointing this will have been and deeply regret the inconvenience caused.”
Manchester Airport declined to comment.
The Mirror has contacted On the Beach.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/family-removed-flight-tui-after-27121833 Family was removed from flight by TUI after 48 hours of waiting due to airport delays