TUI passengers at Bristol Airport were reportedly ‘in tears’ after their flight was delayed for more than 20 hours. Eager holidaymakers arrived at the airport yesterday (Saturday June 18) hoping to fly to Paphos at 1.35pm – but their flight was repeatedly pushed back until 9am on Sunday and they say being accommodated in a hotel in Cardiff overnight.
A passenger, who preferred not to be named, said she arrived at the airport at 10 a.m. yesterday with her children. Their flight was delayed until 2:36 p.m., then 3 p.m., then again until 4:20 p.m., before finally being pushed back to Sunday morning.
She added that they had been given £8 pp food vouchers but there was no celiac food available at the airport for her child. She said her youngest child slept on her lap until 10 p.m. when a taxi arrived to take them to the Cardiff Clayton Hotel, Bristol Live reports.
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She said there were ‘no staff to help’ and she had tried to reach TUI by phone and Facebook to no avail, with only ‘police to disseminate limited information’. She added: “So many flights delayed yesterday and again today and no one from TUI on hand to offer help.
“(It’s) shameful that they take people’s money and treat you like this,” she said. She says she and her children had to take a taxi at 5.50am from Cardiff back to Bristol Airport in hopes of catching their flight, but she still hadn’t boarded by 9.45am .
At 10 a.m. she said they were on the bus for the plane, but it hadn’t left by then. At the time of writing, Bristol Airport’s live departures board has changed from ‘gate closed’ to ‘gone’, suggesting the plane finally took off at 11am.
Speaking at 10am, fellow passenger Kirstie Smith also said there was “no communication” from TUI or airport staff yesterday and “all we had , it was the police to help us”. She said: “The elderly [were] left stuck with no information.
“Families with children and babies too. Everyone sat on the floor without any communication other than the hotels,” she said. She added that as residents of Bristol they wanted to go home for the night but were told to stay in groups with the other passengers.
An apologetic text message from TUI sent to a passenger yesterday, seen by Bristol Live, gave a reason for the long delays. The message said the flight had been stopped “due to an operational disruption”.
“Hotel accommodation and transportation are currently purchased from our ground handling agents,” he added. However, some angry customers have taken to social media to express their experience.
One person tagged TUI in a post on Twitter which read: “Paphos by any chance? My daughter and my boyfriend are sitting at the same door, in tears, bless her”.
A spokesperson for the airline said: “We would like to apologize to customers traveling on TOM6676 from Bristol Airport to Paphos who have unfortunately been delayed due to a technical issue. We can confirm that this flight has now departed and is expected to land in Paphos this afternoon.
“Our goal is to communicate with customers as quickly as possible should there be any changes to their vacation and to offer transportation, accommodation, meals and refreshments as required. We understand that last minute delays and cancellations minute are incredibly disappointing and want to reassure customers that we are doing everything we can to ensure that they go on holiday as planned.
“We would like to apologize again for the inconvenience experienced by passengers traveling to Paphos and thank them for their understanding.”