TUI passenger fumes after missing two days of holiday in 30-hour delay

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A TUI passenger who missed two days of her holiday in Tenerife has slammed the airline after her flight was delayed by 30 hours. Chantel Starke and her partner were due to fly from Birmingham Airport on September 2 at 6.20am.

Despite being told at one point her flight was ready to board, she told how they did not make it onto the plane until lunchtime the following day, reports Nottinghamshire Live.

Ms Starke, who lives in Beeston, Nottinghamshire, claims passengers were moved onto a shuttle bus only to be told the flight had been cancelled due to a “lack of petrol”.

She said they received no food or drink for four or five hours as people waited until they were told what to do.

At around midday, Ms Starke said passengers were taken to the nearby Hilton Hotel, where they stayed until a flight was scheduled for the following day.

She and her partner eventually arrived in Tenerife at around 7.30pm on September 3.

She says that they subsequently received emails from TUI informing them that they were entitled to compensation – and that they filed a claim.

However, a day after their claim was filed Ms Starke said the pair received another email stating that they were not entitled to any compensation.

Ms Starke said the ordeal was “absolutely awful” and that she and her partner were “left in the dark” by TUI.

“We were meant to fly from Birmingham to Tenerife and we were meant to leave at 6.20am.

“And we were told initially that there was going to be a 60- to-90-minute delay with boarding due to operational issues with the plane and they would get it fixed.

“And then two or three hours went by and we hadn’t heard anything and then they said ‘ok get on the shuttle bus that takes you to the plane, the plane’s ready for you now’.

“So we all got on and were there for like 15 minutes sat on this bus.

“They then took us off the bus and told us that the flight was cancelled.

“At this point, it was just before 11am and they left us in there until about half 12.

“There were people there with kids and they handed out no food, no water.

TUI Pilot helps load luggage onto plane at Manchester Airport

“We’d been there since about 5.30am so no one had eaten for a good four or five hours.

“So then police came in, took us out and we were taken to the Hilton Hotel area but were told we would have to pay for our own food and drinks and stuff.

“We didn’t get told until that night when our next flight would be, which would be the next morning and that they’d pick us up at 7am on the dot.

“We didn’t fly until just after lunchtime but even then there was an hour delay.

“It was awful, it was absolutely awful. So we got to Tenerife, me and my partner, at about half seven at night so we’d missed two days of our holiday now.

“We were getting loads of emails saying ‘you’re entitled to compensation, you’ve been delayed a total of 30 hours’.

“We’d been promised vouchers and all sorts. So we put in our compensation claim, two days after we got there, and then the next day we got an email saying ‘you’re not entitled to anything’.

“Apparently it was due to a lack of petrol or something. But at one point they said the plane was ready for boarding.

“How can a plane be ready for boarding and then all of a sudden have no fuel? It just doesn’t add up.

“There were about 300/400 passengers on the flight.

“You can’t give someone no money for the fact they’ve missed two days of a holiday they paid about £2,000 for.”

The holiday was Ms Starke’s first time away without her family – and she said she was “gutted” by the mix-up.

She added: “It was our first holiday away together. It was my first holiday without parents and his first time out of the country.

“I actually cried I was so gutted. You just don’t think it’s going to happen to you. You see it all over the news but you think ‘no, not a chance’.

“The communication throughout the whole thing was absolutely atrocious, it was so bad, and we were just left in the dark.”

TUI said the delay was due to a shortage of fuel as a result of international supply chain issues.

And airline officials said this meant customers were not entitled to compensation because the mishap constituted as “an extraordinary circumstance”.

However, the airline said Ms Starke will receive a refund for the missed days of her holiday.

A spokesperson for TUI said: “We fully understand the frustration felt by Ms Starke and would like to apologise for the miscommunication regarding her compensation claim.

“Unfortunately, the aircraft was delayed due to a shortage of fuel at Birmingham Airport as a result of international supply chain issues.

“Under the EU Regulation 261/2004, this constitutes an extraordinary circumstance so unfortunately customers are not entitled to compensation.

“Customers were updated throughout, and overnight accommodation and transport was provided for those who couldn’t return home.

“We’re sorry to Ms Starke for the confusion and can confirm that she will receive a refund for the missed days of her holiday.”

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