Wed. Jul 6th, 2022

A newly-married couple had to cancel their honeymoon after they were booted off a flight at the last minute because it was too full. Alex and Willow Rymer were blocked from boarding a TUI jet from Manchester Airport to Cape Verde, saying the down-sized plane had been overbooked.

They were two of 26 people hauled off the flight just 25 minutes before it was due to depart. Alex, 52, is a full-time carer for his 94-year-old dementia suffering mum, and says arranging time away had been incredibly difficult for the family.

Read more: Police catching driver waiting on hard shoulder to dodge Manchester Airport parking charges

The couple were offered 600 euros as compensation but Alex, from Harrogate, North Yorks, says it’s the worst customer service he’s ever experienced. “The thing is we had done everything to make it go as smoothly as possible,” he said.

“We booked to include extra legroom seats both ways on the 787 Dreamliner and private transfers as a treat as it was our honeymoon. We even booked a night’s stay in a Manchester Airport Hotel with parking to ensure everything went smoothly and we did not get stuck on the M62.

“I’m a full-time carer. My brother had made special arrangements with his work and partner in order to move in to look after our mother. Willow had also taken specific time off work which clearly cannot now be altered so a complete waste of time. ”

The couple had already been put through the wringer after having to wait two years to get married due to changing Covid-19 restrictions. Alex popped the question to Willow in June 2019 but did not get married until July last year.

Alex and Willow had already had to wait two years to get married due to covid restrictions

After nearly a year of waiting to go on their honeymoon, they were looking forward to jetting off to Tui Blue Cabo Verde resort in Cape Verde, having been there three times before and loved it. But when Alex tried to check-in online the day before they were due to depart, he received an error message, prompting him to call the TUI helpline.

After being told there was no problem, Alex noticed the spacious 787 Dreamliner had been changed for a smaller 767 aircraft – but notably the seats remained the same.

Alex claims: “We arrived at the airport three hours early, checked in, printed boarding passes which had the correct seat numbers, so there did not seem anything to worry about. The bags were dropped, went through security and then waited in departures .

“There were no reps from TUI and we were marched through security with our passports as if we had been on holiday. When I called the helpline it just sounded like the customer service were reading off a script with the same fake emotionless apologies every time I raised a concern.

A TUI aircraft

“How generous of them! Its not the holiday cancellation itself – it’s all the before and after nonsense and the inability of TUI to hold themselves accountable or take responsibility.

“In my opinion, they knew the 787 Dreamliner was never going to make the trip so why sell tickets based on that aircraft?”

A spokesman for TUI said: “We would like to apologize for the inconvenience to our customers on flight TOM586 from Manchester to Sal, Cape Verde, on Sunday 22 May who were affected by an aircraft change due to operational issues. We contacted affected customers as soon as we became aware of the change, offering the options to cancel their holiday for a full refund, amend their holiday with an incentive or change onto an alternative flight.

“We understand how frustrating and disappointing this will have been and are very sorry for the inconvenience caused.”


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