PASSENGERS at their wits’ end rampaged yesterday after a nightmare 12-hour journey by plane reportedly ended with some attempting to rip open a door to retrieve their luggage.
Police officers were called after TUI customers became furious when their four-hour flight from Turkey to Norwich was diverted 150 miles to Birmingham Airport.
After disembarking from the 3am misery flight bound for Dalaman, the latest victims of the UK airport chaos were told they would have to wait four more hours to get their luggage.
Exhausted, some fumed with a video showing passengers engaged in a furious argument with airport staff as they tried to retrieve their belongings, BirminghamLive reports.
Amid chaotic scenes, cops desperately tried to calm tempers as East Anglia-based passengers faced a monstrous journey home.
Some were so angry – including a man in his 60s with “late-stage cancer” – that they even booked taxis to take her home.
Meanwhile, those who had been promised buses found that when they finally emerged from the terminal, none had shown up – they had to wait up to an hour for their arrival.
Catherine Arnold, 40, and her partner Tom, 41, were caught up in the mess and said some passengers were forced to lie on the floor after the half-day hell.
Catherine, who directed the video, said: “When we got to Birmingham to collect our suitcases, the bags didn’t come out.
“It was horrific because there was no staff in the room. We were stuck there for a total of four hours without communicating with each other.”
As no representative was dispatched to meet the distressed passengers, TUI sent a text apologizing to customers, citing a ramp failure for the delay.
They admitted it had let down passengers after Catherine’s video circulated online.
Catherine added: “There was no TUI representative there until around 7am and we landed at 3:20am.”
And she told how a woman begged for her stroller to put her exhausted baby to sleep – the child was eventually euthanized on the floor.
In the shocking video, a passenger explains that airport staff’s poor customer service was made worse by vending machines that only accepted coins and small bills.
The ATM at the airport only gave out £20 – the passengers were completely lost.
Catherine added that as soon as they exited the airport, people got fed up and things got hot when police officers were called “to defuse the situation”.
“NEVER FLY WITH TUI”
She added: “Quite ridiculously, TUI emailed us to apologize and offer us a £150 voucher towards our next TUI holiday, which I felt was a kick in the teeth.
“After that we will never fly with TUI again.”
A TUI spokesman said: “We are truly sorry for customers traveling from Dalaman to Norwich Airport on TOM713, which was initially delayed due to a previous flight delay due to inclement weather.
“We then had to divert the plane to Birmingham Airport due to the curfew at Norwich Airport.
“Delays in baggage claim and transfers in Birmingham meant that customers unfortunately waited at the airport much longer than they should have.
“We are investigating how this happened to prevent it from happening again.
“We have arranged transport for all customers who are now on their way back to Norwich and we have been in touch with them with an apology, explanation of how to claim compensation and a goodwill gesture close.
“We recognize that this is not the level of service that our customers typically receive and we apologize for that.”
The chaos comes as TUI struggled to maintain control of its flight schedules – with one flight even being delayed because staff were tired.
Passengers aboard TOM269 flight July 5 from Izmir Adnan Menderes Airport to Manchester Airport were stunned to see it has been postponed to the following morning.
And the airline has been forced to make more cancellations as the crisis at UK airports, sparked by staff shortages and the fallout from the pandemic, deepens.