2:32 PM July 21, 2022
4:50 PM July 21, 2022
Exhausted passengers hoping to board a flight from Norwich to Rhodes ended up being whisked off to LONDON for a flight… then brought back again.
A TUI flight from Norwich to Rhodes was originally scheduled to depart at 1.20pm on Wednesday.
The flight had been delayed from 1.20 p.m. to 8.30 p.m. then to 9.30 p.m. and then to 10.15 p.m. before being canceled altogether.
Passengers were then told the flight would depart from London Gatwick the following day. Taxis have therefore been set up to transport furious holidaymakers to the capital.
Mark Overton, 55, was among those who traveled to Gatwick with his wife Frances, 42, and two children Brooke and Jake, aged 21 and 14.
Mr Overton – who runs The Little Seafood Truck – had booked a family break after a busy season at work, but admits it has become the “holiday from hell”.
Speaking on Thursday morning, Mr Overton said: “We’re still hoping to go but as you can imagine people are very upset and tired after being delayed for over 24 hours.
“There were some very distressing scenes at the airport on Wednesday night, especially people going on their honeymoon.
“What shocked me was the lack of information from people at the airport and the lack of TUI representatives.
“It was shocking to see children sitting on the ground at the airport for hours.”
Mr Overton – who lives in Marsham – said people were left without refreshments as they waited at Norwich Airport.
It is understood there was no pilot to fly the plane to Rhodes as staff shortage issues at TUI continue to cause travel chaos.
Susie Anderson, 44, from Wymondham was also delayed with her 13-year-old daughter and checked into hotels in Stanstead for no reason.
She said: “If we had known we would have gone home rather than spending two and a half hours on the A11 moving slowly through roadworks to get to Stanstead.
“There were a lot of emotions at the airport. Anger, frustration, the desire to go home and a feeling of ‘let’s hang up’.”
Ms Anderson was worried about a heavily pregnant woman on the flight who was eventually given a wheelchair after she nearly passed out inside the airport.
Passengers who had bought items from Duty Free were also forced to return them due to the delays.
Ms Anderson added: “We waited without water and food stuck in the airport for hours after paying the £10 departure fee. It was really quite inhumane.
“They just kept delaying and delaying.”
The single mother had been up all night waiting for updates from TUI on when the flight departed from Gatwick.
She then received a text at 9.32am on Thursday telling her to come to the hotel lobby at 9.30am to catch a coach to Norwich.
A flight from Menorca to Norwich was also delayed just before the Rhodes flight.
This flight was due to leave Menorca at 6am but did not depart until 1pm on Wednesday, causing the Rhodes flight to be initially delayed.
The flight to Rhodes finally took off at 3:40 p.m. on Thursday after a final 30-minute delay.
It comes after TUI passengers flying from Dalaman to Norwich had to wait in Birmingham for over four hours earlier this month.
TUI apologized and offered to reimburse holidaymakers for the cost of one night of their holiday.
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