The Riley family had arrived the night before the flight on the airline’s advice (Picture: Mirrorpix / Getty)
A family was removed from a Tui flight because the plane was too small after spending 48 hours waiting around in the aiport amid huge delays.
Daniel Riley, 43, wife Diane, 41, and daughter Eva, 11, had booked to fly to Crete on Sunday morning from Manchester Airport.
Due to a number of cancellations and delays, Tui advised them to drop off their luggage the night before to avoid getting stuck in queues on the morning of their flight.
They travelled from South Yorkshire to Manchester Airport on Saturday evening where they spent three hours trying to check in their suitcases, before returning to an airport hotel for the night.
The next morning they were able to pass security and board the airplane with ease, but were left grounded on the runway for three hours before all the passengers were escorted back into the airport.
After another three-hour wait, the airline sent a message explaining the flight had been postponed until the following afternoon.
‘There was nobody there to give you any information,’ Mr Riley told the Mirror.
‘We’d waited 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 eventually when the luggage did come out and they started loading it, because of the time we’d been waiting they were forced to unload it and the flight was delayed.’
Mr Riley said the airline also lost one of his bags (Picture: Mirrorpix)
Instead of the airline putting up the delayed passengers overnight, they were left to arrange and pay for their own accommodation, and return the next afternoon.
Once the family arrive at the departure gate for the postponed flight on Monday, their names were called to the information desk along with some other passengers.
They were all told the flight had to be moved to a smaller plane requiring a number of customers to be removed from the flight.
As they had not booked a package holiday directly through Tui, and rather the flights and accommodation separately, they were all asked to step aside.
Mr Riley said: ‘They just walked us to a door and said there’ll be a representative on the opposite side, and then they shut the door but there was no one there, so you were left not knowing anything.
‘That was the worst part.’
Tui has cancelled dozens of flights over the past week (Picture: Reuters)
The family finally left the airport at 5pm on Monday – two full days after first arriving at Manchester Airport for their holidays.
To add insult to injury, the family claim the airline lost one of its bags.
Tui said they have to claim a reimbursement from their booking agent On The Beach, but Mr Riley said it’s proving impossible to get ahold of the company.
‘At the moment, OTB has just totally shut down, you can’t get through to anybody. All the lines are just down,’ he said.
They also lost £1,500 paid directly to the hotel in Crete – which they’ve been told is non-refundable – and have had to book new flights and accommodation with a different airline and hotel.
More: Manchester Airport
A TUI spokesperson: ‘We would like to apologise for the inconvenience 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, offering the options to cancel their holiday for a full refund.
‘We understand how frustrating and disappointing this will have been and are very sorry for the inconvenience caused.’
A spokesperson for On the Beach said: ‘We’re really sorry to hear about Mr Riley’s experience.
‘We have spoken to Mr Riley this morning (June 2) and have processed a full refund and a voucher as a goodwill gesture for the inconvenience caused.’
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