WHERE were the safety standards, not to mention a bit of comfort?
Members of an English family were forced to sit on the floor of a plane for a two-hour flight after being told their seats did not exist.
They were flying with TUI, an Irish airline that, its website says, ‘specialises in holidays tailored to suit the needs of modern Irish families. We offer package holidays from a range of Irish airports to destinations throughout the Mediterranean.’
Paula and Ian Taylor and their daughter Brooke, 10, arrived early at Menorca’s Mahon airport to get their allocated seats because they all wanted to sit together on the flight back to Birmingham.
They were given seats 41 D, E and F. But when they boarded the TUI plane the row was missing.
Mrs Taylor, 44, from Alcester, Warwickshire said: ‘We made sure we were three hours early at the airport to check in. We went straight to the front and we were very excited by the fact we had managed to sit together.’
When they boarded the plane Mrs Taylor said: ‘We all just looked at each other as if to say where’ve our seats gone? There are no seats where our seats should be!’
After all the other passengers had boarded there was only one empty seat left.
The crew said that for take-off and landing Brooke would take the last spare seat while Paula and Ian, 55, would sit in two spare flip-up ‘jump’ seats in the crew station.
However, once the plane was in the air, the attendants needed access to the food and duty-free goods which were stored behind those seats.
So the couple had to set up camp with their daughter on the floor in the space where their seats should have been. Mrs Taylor told the BBC: ‘It’s hard and its uncomfortable and it’s just filthy. It’s just not an experience I ever want to repeat.’
The Civil Aviation Authority has contacted TUI for an explanation as to why the family were left on the floor and is investigating the possible breach of rules.
TUI airlines said a ‘last-minute aircraft change’ caused the problem last June and meant the family’s assigned seats were unavailable as the alternative aircraft had a different seating configuration.
The company has now offered a full refund for the family’s £1 300 flights and will be contacting them directly to apologise.
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