The family were due to fly out to Turkey for their first holiday since the pandemic started, but ended up heading home after waiting nearly 12 hours as their flight was cancelled.
A devastated little boy asked his mum “why did the naughty airplane people cancel our holiday” when his family’s trip was canceled after an 11-hour delay.
The family-of-ten had planned to fly out to Turkey last Friday with TUI at around 2pm for their first break since the outbreak of the pandemic.
Arriving in plenty of time at Manchester Airport they were quickly through check-in and security, but then discovered their departure was delayed by two hours.
Eventually they were called to the gate where they found it was another two-hour wait before being told the flight was overbooked and people had to volunteer to leave.
When not enough passengers put their hands up the flight was cancelled.
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Deciding to wait in the airport for another flight, the family’s worst fears were confirmed at 2.15am when TUI sent a text message saying they would not be going on holiday.
Mum Emma, 39, told the Mirror: “We were devastated, we haven’t had a holiday in two years like so many other people.
“Before we arrived it was the check-in I was most concerned about as it sounded so awful in recent weeks but we got through that and security fine.
“My sister-in-law looked at her phone which said there was a two-hour delay, but the TUI worker assured us our plane was there.
“We got through and found there was a two hour delay and it was so busy, there were huge queues to get even a drink, let alone food. A lot of places were shut.
“Eventually we were called to the gate where there were more delays and then it turned out it was overbooked so it was cancelled.
“They started sorting out hotels but they were doing them past where we lived so, because the kids were asleep on the floor by now, we waited in the airport.
“At 2.15am we got a text saying our holiday was cancelled. My oldest was awake but we had to wake up my youngest and he broke down.
“I asked ‘Why did the naughty airplane people cancel it?’”
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Another passenger facing a travel nightmare was Steve Hession, 45, who was due to fly out on Saturday with his brother-in-law and his bride to be for their wedding in Kos.
They were due to arrive in Kos for the couple’s ceremony, only for their flight to be canceled by text, sparking a desperate search for alternative flights.
The couple eventually reached the Greek island via Newcastle, while Steve and his family are hoping to join them this week.
He said: “It’s just been horrible.
“It was almost too much, last night we were all in tears, this wasn’t just a holiday. This has been planned for 18 months.
“There are 40 people coming to this from all over the UK and Australia and the couple were with us unable to fly.”
A spokesman for TUI said: “The half-term holidays are always an incredibly busy period with many customers looking to get away.
“We’d like to apologize to customers impacted by the small number of cancellations and delays this weekend, caused by various operational and supply chain issues.
“We’d like to reassure customers that we are doing everything we can to minimize delays and would like to thank them for their patience and understanding during this time.”
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.