Anger as TUI cancels flight after Cardiff Airport passengers had already boarded

Holidaymakers have been left devastated after travel firm TUI cancelled an entire holiday package to Tenerife from Cardiff Airport after passengers had already boarded the plane.

Huw Davies, 59, from Porthcawl, boarded the flight with 11 other family members for a special getaway for his daughter who is terminally ill.

"This was a family outing for my daughter who has terminal cancer. It was going to be her last family holiday - and we just got booted off this flight", he said.

The flight, which had been due to take off at 1.25pm, had been delayed with customers eventually being told it was cancelled due to a malfunctioning part.

Mr Davies added: "If this part was obviously malfunctioning on the way into the airport, why the hell did they load us? Why did they go through the motions? They knew that that plane wasn't going to take off."

He first learned of the flight's cancellation through other passengers on the plane who had received emails.

"It was a special holiday and to make it worse, we asked my daughter where she wanted to go, because she's recently lost her mother. She wanted to go back to where we took my wife on holiday for the first time."

He says the family has paid around £9,000 to TUI, not including all the fees for other travel related costs. "We're all out of pocket," he said.

"We've put our good faith into these people who should have transported us to our destination by other means and they haven't had the decency to do this."

TUI says the cancellation of the flight was caused by "operational and supply chain issues" as well as the increase in people going on holiday at this time of year.

The company has said that affected customers are entitled to compensation and will receive an "extra gesture of goodwill."

TUI have said customers from Cardiff Airport will be entitled to compensation and will receive an "extra gesture of goodwill"

Another passenger, James Dewitt, said that "even after we got off the plane, we all had to wait around for at least another hour and a half to get our bags back as well. That was pretty annoying."

He says he had considered booking a connecting flight to Tenerife instead, but said it would be difficult having young children.

"I think we're just going to try and find something domestic to do".

A spokesperson for TUI UK said: “We’d like to apologise to customers travelling on flight TOM6286 from Cardiff to Tenerife today which was unfortunately cancelled due to operational issues.

"Customers affected by flight cancellations will receive a full refund for their holiday within 14 days.

"The May half-term holidays are always an incredibly busy period with many customers looking to get away, and we understand that they will have been looking forward to these holidays for a long time.

"While flight delays and cancellations with us are rare, unfortunately the increase in people going on holidays combined with various operational and supply chain issues, has meant that a small number of our flights have been impacted.

"Our teams have been working tirelessly to support affected customers, through direct communications and providing overnight accommodation and transfers where needed, as well as meals and refreshments.

"We continue to work closely with our airport partners to monitor the situation and provide the best possible holiday experience for our customers. We’d like to thank them for their patience and understanding at this time.”

Data from the aviation firm Cirium has shown that 291 departures from major UK airports have been cancelled between May 25 and Tuesday.

TUI has subsequently announced it will cancel around six flights at Manchester Airport every day until the end of June.

The Transport Secretary is demanding a meeting with aviation bosses to see what's gone wrong.

The UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps says he plans to "get tough" on travel companies in the wake of the chaos and is demanding a meeting with aviation bosses to find out "what's gone wrong."

In a statement on Tuesday evening, Mr Shapps said the UK Government had "done its part", saying that airlines and ground handlers need to ensure there is no more disruption.

"It's been very distressing to see passengers facing yet more disruption at airports - having well-earned holidays cancelled and plans left in disarray.

"We've been clear that industry leaders need to tackle the issues we saw at Easter head-on. Although some steps have been taken, we are still not seeing the progress we need to."

He added that operators "seriously oversold flights and holidays relative to their capacity to deliver" despite Government warnings.

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