‘Petrified’ TUI passengers smell ‘smoke’ before plane returns to Manchester Airport for ’emergency landing’
Passengers who faced 30-hour delays, some begging to get home, have told of their ‘horrendous’ experience with TUI at Manchester Airport.
The children were left ‘petrified’ when a flight, which managed to take off, had to make an emergency landing, reports Manchester Evening News.
On Friday morning (June 24), hundreds of passengers arrived at the airport in the early hours, excited about an all-inclusive TUI holiday in Dalaman, Turkey. The flight was scheduled to take off at 6:10 a.m.
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It wasn’t until 9 p.m. that the flight took off, however, with repeated delays holding it up. But passengers quickly became very concerned when they boarded the flight.
Passengers say they smelled fumes or smoke on board and were alerted by staff an hour into the flight they would need to return to Manchester for a possible ’emergency landing’, due to a problem with the plane.
The “petrified” passengers were met by fire trucks as the plane landed. However, it took another hour for people to get off the plane and after that there was another wait for coaches to take passengers to hotels in Manchester.
Some were told they were ready to be picked up by coach around 5am for their next flight, but this never happened as people had to shell out for taxis to get back to the airport. This 9am flight was again delayed until the afternoon.
Many on board who have faced the ordeal have contacted the Manchester Evening News to criticize TUI, which they say left passengers in the dark throughout the 30-plus hours. Patience was starting to “run out,” one said, as families with young children struggled to cope.
Maria Cooper, who was with her partner, described the situation as a “nightmare”. “There was no communication or anything at all,” she said.
“We just rely on TUI charts and texts for everything. Everyone here has only had a few hours sleep, babies and young children here are really struggling.
“Honestly you couldn’t write it. We were an hour into the flight after all the delays and had to come back, the pilot and flight crew were amazing but it was still really scary.
“People are trying to keep their spirits up and everyone is trying to help each other out, especially families with lots of big bags and young kids, but it’s been so stressful for everyone. The kids have been crying a lot, they’re so upset.
“Everyone has lost faith in all of this. The airport staff were great in trying to help us, but no one from TUI was there at any time to tell us what happened next.
“It’s really abysmal, it’s not acceptable to treat people like that for such a big company. It’s shameful.
“It’s some people’s first vacation since the pandemic, and some kids are their first vacation, people are completely traumatized, it’s like a movie. We’re all zombies at this point.”
Molly Charfe’s grandfather paid over £15,000 for their extended family of 13 to vacation in Dalaman. Unfortunately, due to recent health issues, the delays were too long for him and he returned home to rest. Molly’s brother had no problem getting to the resort from Gatwick, and the family are praying they can join him soon.
‘We paid £11 each to be all together on the flight which managed to take off, but some of the children who were with us had to sit alone in the chaos,’ she said. “We were happy to finally leave but we could smell the fumes straight away. It was like something had fallen from the plane when we landed, it was wobbling loads.
“There was no one to tell us where to go when we finally got off the plane and finally arrived at the bus/taxi station at 11 p.m. But we had to wait until 3 a.m. before a bus leaves to take us to a hotel.
“We only slept for an hour as we were told we would be picked up at 5.30am but a coach never arrived and we had to pay £40 by taxi to take us back to the airport. The hotel tried to charge us for the room at first too, they had no idea what was going on.
“There were no more TUI staff to meet us at the airport and the other airport staff did not know what was going on with us. When the morning flight was delayed, our grand- dad had to go home as he is vulnerable and sick at the moment, he paid £15,000 for a big family trip together but it’s been ruined for him now it’s so sad.
“We all cried. You can’t complain about what happened to the plane, but the communication was terrible. They don’t look after our well-being at all, it feels like they are delaying more and more, so people will just leave.
“It was so traumatic, especially being on a plane that had to make an emergency landing.”
Another woman, who wished to remain anonymous, described the situation as “like Benny Hill”. “There was an awful smell of smoke before they announced the emergency landing, we were all preparing for the worst,” she said. “It was really not pleasant.
“I’m supposed to be on the second day of a seven day leave right now. There are people begging to come home, kids crying, babies been up for over 24 hours, it’s absolutely awful.
“I have absolutely no faith in TUI now, I will never book with them again. Communication was terrible. They gave us food stamps but I’m supposed to be at an all inclusive resort at the moment. I have I spent 12 months saving all my money for this. I spent two and a half years looking forward to this.”
A TUI spokesperson said: “We would like to apologize to customers traveling on TOM822 from Manchester Airport to Dalaman which has unfortunately been delayed due to a technical issue. We aim to communicate with customers as well promptly as possible if there are any changes to their vacation and provide transportation, accommodations, meals and refreshments as required.
“We understand that last minute delays are incredibly disappointing and would like to reassure customers that we are doing everything possible to ensure that they depart on holiday as planned. We would like to apologize again for the inconvenience experienced by passengers traveling to Dalaman and we thank them for their understanding.
Manchester Airport has been approached for comment by the MEN.