This video shows the moment police were drafted in to tell exasperated TUI customers waiting to board their flight that their holiday was cancelled and they had to go home.
Jayesh Patel was among hundreds of passengers who waited eight hours for their flight to Greece at Manchester Airport, before being told at the last minute it was no longer going ahead.
He said said there was anger and tears as two policemen arrived at the gate to read a statement from TUI, moments after they began receiving texts telling them their package breaks had been cancelled.
He filmed the extraordinary moment the cops turned up to tell holidaymakers that they would not be going away and would have to go home.
He told the BBC: ‘The worst part that there was no Tui staff to help.
‘And then two police officers arrived and read a statement telling us how we would exit the airport.
‘Because the airplane hadn’t arrived from anywhere, our flight wasn’t listed at any of the baggage carousels so we didn’t know where to wait – people were visibly upset and children were crying.
‘We then had to wait another couple of hours and at this point, we’d spent the whole day at the airport and just wanted to leave.’
Jayesh was due to travel to Kos from Manchester Airport’s Terminal 2 on May 29th with his wife and their three children, aged nine, 12 and 13.
Extraordinary footage shows cops arriving at the gate to deliver the news.
He said the flight had been delayed by more than four hours by the time they were hit with the bad news.
‘The airport was understaffed, a lot of the outlets had ran out of food or closed at 6pm,’ he said.
‘We got called to the gate for the 7pm take off – four hours late. There was no staff.
‘People were very upset – some were going on their honeymoon. And then we all started getting texts that the flight was now cancelled and because it was a package booking the whole holiday was cancelled.’
Jayesh said the experience was ‘hugely upsetting’ for his children. He said Tui had offered customers £200 per person off another break, but he could not trust them after being treated ‘so appallingly’.
Freya Powell crying over ‘exhaustion’ from waiting in Cyprus for a flight home after Tui cancelled their flights twice (Picture: SWNS)
Staff shortages have sparked nightmare queues at UK airports (Picture: SWNS)
It comes after a mum told how her little girl was left ‘exhausted and in tears’ after TUI cancelled their flights home from Cyprus twice.
Hundreds of other flights have been cancelled as staff shortages spark nightmare queues in UK airports.
Over the weekend, airports were described as ‘total bedlam’ as some missed flights or slept overnight in terminals.
Unite, which represents tens of thousands of aviation workers, claims delays at most major airports ‘will be repeated during the half-term holidays and will be even worse during the summer holidays’.
General secretary, Sharon Graham, said: ‘During the pandemic, when airline operators and others in aviation slashed jobs to boost corporate profits, we warned this corporate greed would cause chaos in the industry.
‘The aftermath of mass sackings is now chronic staff shortages across the board. Aviation chiefs need to come clean with the public. This is a crisis of their making.
‘We are determined that workers will not pay for this crisis. Current pay and conditions in the industry are so poor that workers are voting with their feet. It can only be resolved by offering higher wages and better working conditions for staff. Unite is utterly determined to fight for that.’
Rory Boland, the travel editor of consumer group Which? said that the government must intervene to make sure airlines stop selling flights ‘they can’t actually provide’.
But ministers reportedly blame airlines for getting themselves into the mess.
A government source told The Times: ‘The simple fact is that airlines and airports overcut staff during the pandemic, ignoring the fact that the billions of pounds of aid — including furlough — handed out by the government was meant to protect those very jobs.
‘Operators are now struggling to meet increasingly busy schedules as we move towards the first Covid-free summer since 2019 — a wholly foreseeable surge in bookings that should have been adequately prepared for.
‘The responsibility for maintaining adequate staffing levels lies with the airlines and airports themselves. Not only are they causing huge frustration to their customers, they are missing out on the benefits of the strong recovery in foreign travel.’
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