TUI turns plane around to pick up Nottingham schoolgirl almost stuck in Tenerife
A Nottingham family said they were left 'gobsmacked' that their holiday plane came back to get them after it was already on the runway.
The TUI plane turned around to pick up the schoolgirl, 7, and her father, Adrian Insley, who would've be stuck in Tenerife, after losing her passport at the airport.
The father-of-four, from Ilkeston, said his whole family was in tears and his "emotionally distressed" seven-year-old was crying as they watched the others go through the gate.
They lost the passport at the Duty Free shop before going through security checks and when he realised, the family had to split up - leaving two of them behind.
The TUI plane, which was travelling to East Midlands Airport at around 10pm on Friday (26 August), had the 38-year-old, his partner, their four children and Adrian's parents booked onto the flight.
He said: "I am very organised with my passport, I even have a bag for them, but this time my partner said she needs a passport to get something from Duty Free, and then she put the passport in the bag.
"Our flight was delayed and the airport was very busy because there were three flights to the UK."
However, Mr Insley said he started to stress at security. He said: "I am starting to panic because I do not know where it is. And then the realisation set in there. We do not have a passport - we are missing one.""I went and spoke to to the security personnel and they told me that I cannot board without a passport. So I had to send all my family through, and it is just me and my daughter that were left behind because of my daughter's missing passport.""I did not know what to do. I have got to find somewhere to stay, I have got to find transport, and I have got to organise for a temporary passport - there is a lot of organising in a very short amount of time."
"My children were crying, my partner was crying," the dad recalls. "The reps on the other planes asked all the passengers to check their bags."When the passport was eventually found, it was too late for them to go on their original flight as their plane had already left the gate.
He explained: "I had to go back in the airport area, which caused a bit of a problem with the security guards who told me I could not leave past that point. There was a bit of a language barrier."
"I was happy to get the passport back at least, but that's when the situation got more interesting."Meanwhile, Adrian's mum Sharon Insley, from Watnall, 60, had boarded the flight and said: "I was impressed with the staff, who were so caring and tried to calm down the grandchildren who were crying.
"They said that Adrian could get on the next flight to Manchester if there is space, they were just so kind and understanding.
"They have gone to speak to the captain and ask about the logistics of it. At this point we were ready to take off, it was right before the runway."And then the steward asked if we could tell Adrian to come to the gate, so we could pick him up. I was gobsmacked because I have never ever in all my time flying, ever known that they can come back for you."They then apologised saying they would not be able to put Adrian's luggage back on. We said we do not care, it was amazing, just incredible."
There was another bonus for the family as "they managed to put his luggage back in anyway," Mrs Insley added. "We had an amazing holiday and everything was top notch, obviously just a bit of trauma."
"I have actually tried to thank TUI, but they have only got a portal for complaints. When all you hear about the travel is doom and gloom, we just wanted to share some exceptional customer service our family encountered over the bank holiday weekend."
A spokesperson for TUI said: "We’re pleased that the Insley family were able to travel on their holiday as planned. This is just another example of the incredible dedication of TUI colleagues who are doing everything they can to get customers away on their holidays."