A planeload of passengers destined for Dublin were left stranded in Majorca “with no information” for hours as their TUI flight faced a more than 24-hour delay.
The flight from Palma de Mallorca Airport was due to depart at 1.35pm on Saturday but one passenger reported that travellers were instead left to wait at the departure gate from 1pm to 7pm with no updates from the travel company.
It was later arranged for the passengers to spend another unplanned night in Majorca, with a rescheduled flight now expected to bring them back to Dublin later this afternoon.
A spokesperson for TUI apologised for the delay on Sunday but said it had “kept passengers updated and provided overnight accommodation, meals and refreshments.”
However, passenger Simon Bridgeman, from Shankill in Dublin, described communication from the company as “pretty atrocious”, saying passengers were “stonewalled” for hours at the airport.
“It’s pretty atrocious, the lack of communication, that was probably the hardest part to be honest with you,” said the father-of-two, who was travelling with his wife, two children, his parents, sister and her two sons on a package holiday.
“There were probably about three different sort of hearsay anecdotes or stories flying around, and nobody had any facts [of] what the problem was,” he said.
“You wouldn’t mind if two hours into that wait… [they said] ‘look lads we’ve a problem with the plane, flight is cancelled today, we’ll sort something else out’ – then it fosters an element of goodwill. But without that, people just get irate.
“All of the passengers had families and some elderly passengers then as well, I had my parents who are in their late 70s. I had my sister with her two sons… and one of my nephews had heatstroke and he was in an awful situation.
“You couldn’t leave the airport because of the uncertainty as to whether the flight was going to land, whether it was going to depart, we had no information.”
Mr Bridgeman said it was after 10pm before all passengers were checked into their temporary accommodation for the night – with it still unclear when they would be able to return to the airport to fly home.
“We all had to go through passport control again and then we’re trying to retrieve our bags and so on – it was very messy,” he said.
With the family now scheduled to fly home later on Sunday, he added: “We wait to see how it materialises and hopefully we won’t have a repeat this afternoon.”
A spokesperson for TUI said the flight on Saturday had been delayed while a new aircraft was sourced “due to technical issues with the aircraft scheduled for the flight”, and added that none of the company’s flights to or from Dublin had been cancelled this weekend.
“We’d like to apologise to customers travelling on TOM1681 from Palma to Dublin which has unfortunately been delayed due to technical issues with the aircraft,” the spokesperson said.
“We know how frustrating delays are and we do everything we can to get customers home as planned. We have kept passengers updated and provided overnight accommodation, meals and refreshments. They are also entitled to EU 261 compensation and have been told how to make their claims.
“The flight is now re-scheduled to depart this afternoon and we’d like to thank passengers for their patience and apologise once again for the inconvenience they have experienced.”