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Published on Monday, January 14, 2019

TUI apologises for 'no seat' blunder that forced family to sit on floor during flight

TUI has apologised and issued a full refund to a family that had to sit on the floor on a flight home from Menorca after finding an empty space where their allocated seats were supposed to be.

Paula Taylor, 44, her husband Ian, 55, and their daughter Brooke, 10, were given seat numbers 41 D, E and F but when they boarded the Birmingham-bound flight, they found there were no seats with those numbers - just an empty space.

Cabin crew found one empty seat for Brooke and told her parents they could sit in the flip-up 'jump' seats in the crew station. But during the flight, the jump seats needed to be vacated to enable access for food and duty free.

Mr and Mrs Taylor sat on the floor after take off and were joined by their daughter, who did not want to sit next to people she didn't know during the two-hour flight.

The incident happened in the summer of 2018, but has just come to light because it is being featured on BBC One's Rip-Off Britain this week.

Mrs Taylor contacted the consumer rights programme after she was frustrated with TUI's initial offer of a £30 'goodwill gesture'.

She told the programme the family went to airport early to ensure they got seats together on the flight.

But once on board, she said: "We all just looked at each other as if to say 'where's our seats gone?' There are no seats where our seats should be."

She said the floor was 'hard, uncomfortable and filthy' and added that, during the flight, the co-pilot came to thank them for their 'co-operation and understanding'.

"He said that how calm we were and he was so grateful because he would have had to, he would have missed the time slot take off."

According to Rip-Off Britain, the CAA has asked TUI to explain why the family was allowed to sit on the floor and is looking into a possible breach of regulations.

Passengers are allowed to sit in crew seats under certain conditions, but must not be left unseated during any stage of the flight.

Mrs Taylor said she contacted Rip-Off Britain after she made an initial complaint to TUI but was told that there was no record of the incident

After being contacted by Rip-Off Britain, TUI refunded the family £1,300.

TUI said: "We are sorry to hear about Mr Taylor and his family's experience with us.

"Unfortunately a last minute aircraft change meant that the seats the family was originally assigned were unavailable as the alternative aircraft had a different seating configuration.

"We're also sorry for the way the situation was initially handled and we'll be investigating this.

"We will also be contacting the customers directly to apologise and will be offering a full refund."

The episode of Rip-Off Britain: Holidays will be broadcast on BBC One on Tuesday at 9.15am.

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  • "a £30 'goodwill gesture'."

    Goodness me, that sounds like TUI being "generous". Hopefully the CAA investigation will teach TUI a lesson. However, I doubt it will do much for their so-called "customer service". I am still awaiting a response to my complaints from 2017, but I don't expect anything. Ever since Thomson were taken over by TUI, everything has gone steadily downhill.

    By Peter M42, Monday, January 14, 2019

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