Sarah Butterworth, from Rochdale, Greater Manchester, had been planning her trip for her 50th birthday for a year when she was sent home without warning after arriving at the airport
Image: Steve Allen)
An excited mum, who flew to Greece to celebrate her 50th birthday, claims she is “angry” and “close to tears” after being turned away at the airport by cheerful TUI staff.
Sarah Butterworth, 50, from Littleborough, Rochdale, was spending a year planning her £2,100 women’s trip to Parva, Greece, when she arrived at Manchester Airport for the flight on Wednesday June 1.
But the mother-of-three said she was angry and “wanted to cry” when a TUI representative told her the holiday had been canceled as she waited in line to check in.
Sarah said she and her three friends watched the news and regularly checked their flight details before heading out – but claimed they were not given a warning of the cancellation before they arrived at the airport.
Sarah told The Mirror: “We had actually arrived at the airport and had just queued when a woman came up to us with a clipboard and asked us where we were going.
“We told her and she said, ‘I’m sorry it was canceled five minutes ago.’
“We had seen the news and it said they were canceling six flights a day but if yours was canceled you would be told the night before.
“We kept checking our emails and phones and the flight and it always said it was still scheduled, they emailed us saying ‘Get ready for your vacation’.
“When they told us it was canceled I was angry, you feel like crying, I had to go out because I was so angry.”
To make matters worse, Sarah claims she was furious when a TUI representative described the chaotic announcements as a “day trip”.
Sarah said: “I said to one of the girls I bet you were dreading coming to work today and she said ‘oh no it’s a day out I’ve really enjoyed it’.
Newcastle United via Getty Images)
“I said ‘that’s really insensitive’ and then I had to leave the airport. She was young, but she could have chosen her words a little better.”
After failing to reach six different TUI shops to help her catch a later flight to the Greek island of Rhodes instead, Sarah began to get away with using different suppliers.
No one was able to arrange a same-day flight to Greece for the group, so they were forced to return home to scour the internet for a new deal.
The group eventually managed to escape to Santorini for a week after securing a Jet2 flight from Leeds Bradford Airport on Thursday evening (2 June).
“It’s better than nothing, but it’s not what we planned or wanted,” Sarah said.
“We had booked a nice big two bedroom apartment in a nice sea view hotel and now we are looking at a car park.
Photo only via Getty Images)
“When they told us it was canceled I was so upset I wanted to cry if they had told us the night before we would still have been angry but at least we would have sat right down at the computer and can look for an alternative.
“It was chaos at Manchester Airport, we weren’t the worst off – there were wedding parties going on and I felt so sorry for them.
“By the time they told us and we got back to the Skylink, the queue was completely gone. I think everyone had gone home because only three flights were departing.”
Sarah claims she later received an email confirming the cancellation in writing and has since been offered a refund for her trip with TUI, but said she was “doubtful” about flying with them again.
TUI confirmed Sarah’s flight had been canceled due to “operational issues” and said customers on canceled flights would receive a full refund and an apology within 14 days.
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A spokesman for TUI Travel said: “We are incredibly sorry for the customers who have been impacted by the recent disruption to our operations.
“We understand that delays and last minute cancellations are incredibly disappointing and we want to reassure our customers that we are doing everything we can to get them on holiday as planned.
“We can confirm that flight TOM2390 from Manchester to Preveza was unable to depart as scheduled on Wednesday 1st June due to operational issues.
“Customers were notified via email and given a full refund or the opportunity to re-book with an incentive.
“We would like to reassure our customers that the vast majority of our flights are operating as planned and we apologize again for any inconvenience caused.”
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/mum-furious-tui-rep-calls-27139652 Mum furious as TUI rep describes airport chaos as 'enjoyable day trip' while Brits are sent home