'They said the driver misjudged a turn' - £30,000 BMW written off by Manchester Airport valets

While eating dinner in Chicago, the owner received a call from BMW asking him to 'pull over immediately'. He returned to find it had been written off. Credit: MEN Media

A BMW worth £30,000 was written off after an airport valet staff member "misjudged a turn" in a multi-storey car park.

Andrew Swindells, from Widnes in Cheshire, handed the keys to staff at Manchester Airport before jetting off to the US. It wasn't until he sat down for dinner in Chicago days later that he received an alert to tell him that his car was involved in a "serious collision".

He said: "I just thought the sensors had gone at first and ignored it, then I got a call from BMW about 20 minutes later. They phoned me to ask me if I was ok - I was completely unaware of what was going on. I tried to phone the airport but couldn't get an answer."

The staff at BMW, assuming he had been in an accident or there was a fault with the car, asked him to pull over immediately.

Andrew received a notification on his phone to tell him his car required his "immediate attention" Credit: MEN Media

Andrew eventually got through to Manchester Airport on the phone and was told that the car had been in an accident, but given no further details.

When he returned to the UK, staff took him to the multi-story car park where the damaged car had been kept.

He said: "I landed back in Manchester on January 27 and went to the meet and greet reception.

"There were two managers waiting for me. I have to say they were really good. They said 'yes, your car has been in a crash. We need to show you what happened'."

It wasn't until Andrew arrived back in the UK that he was made aware of the true damage. Credit: MEN Media

Andrew had paid just short of £100 for Manchester Airport's "meet and greet" parking service, but upon returning to the UK he was told his BMW had crashed into a concrete bollard.

Andrew said: "We went up to the car park and it was smashed into a post. I was just completely surprised. They said the driver misjudged a turn."

Andrew, an IT product manager who regularly flies abroad on business, likened the scenes at the airport to "something out of Only Fools and Horses".

He said: "I found the car had been driven into a concrete block, whilst being moved by the airport driver.

"The airport team told me the car was being driven slowly and safely, however the car has been written off by the insurance company. They managed to completely write it off by crashing it into a concrete block."

Since the crash, which happened in January 2024, Manchester Airport has apologised and settled with Andrew's insurers.

Andrew paid for the "Meet & Greet" service at Manchester Airport Credit: MEN Media

Andrew said he was given a hire car while the situation was dealt with by his insurers and the airport.

He said: "Eventually they came back and said the car's a write-off. They offered to pay me market value and we went back and forward for weeks. Eventually they made me an offer which I agreed to."

A Manchester Airport spokesperson told the Manchester Evening News: "We apologise to Mr Swindells for the damage to his car and have worked with his insurance company to ensure he is fully compensated.

"Thousands of passengers use our Meet and Greet products every week and incidents leading to any kind of damage are extremely rare."

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