‘Exhausted’ Bristol family stuck in Cyprus due to cancelled flights finally make it home
A family who released an image of their ‘exhausted’ six-year-old in tears while stuck in Cyprus due to two cancelled flights have finally made it home - after more than 50 hours of delays.
Glenda, 40, and Stephen Powell, 46, were due to travel back to Bristol Airport from Paphos, Cyprus, with their two young children over the weekend but TUI cancelled their flights twice.
The couple, from Bristol, claimed they had been left stranded abroad since Saturday (28 May) - and revealed they only just returned home on Tuesday morning (31 May) at 4am.
The pair have described the situation as an “absolute joke” - and their story hit the headlines after Glenda posted images of their “exhausted” six-year-old daughter in tears.
‘I am exhausted’
Glenda said: “It’s pure relief to be back home. The stress of going back and forwards to the airport, packing, unpacking, washing some clothes in hotel room sinks because you’ve ran out.
“When you have pets at home and work commitments you don’t want a couple of extra days of holiday, you want to get home.
“You book a weeks holiday for a reason, if I’d wanted to stay longer I would have booked 10 days. I am exhausted”.
Third time lucky
The Powell’s original flight back to Bristol airport at 6.25pm GMT was cancelled on Saturday, as was their subsequent flight home at 1:20am yesterday (30 May).
The family were forced to stay in a hotel after learning about their flight cancellations.
But on the third attempt, the family were able to finally get on a plane back to the UK at 8.35pm last night.
The family had fly to Manchester Airport and had to get a long coach back to Bristol - adding another four hours onto their journey.
TUI told Glenda the reason for the delay was “due to operational disruption in the TUI fleet” and the plane “operated at the earliest opportunity”.
‘We got into Bristol Airport at 3.30am to carnage’
Glenda said: “The cabin crew were very apologetic and we got through passport control and baggage reclaim fairly quickly at Manchester and into our coach.
“There was anxiety around the group about whether the coaches would turn up as, we had all read stories of passengers stranded at different airports having to pay for taxis!
“So when they did it was pure relief”.
The couple, who both serve as police officers, said they were lucky to have missed problems at Bristol Airport when they flew out on May 21 - but upon returning home this morning (31 May) Glenda described the scenes as chaotic.
She added: “We got into Bristol Airport at about 3.30am to carnage - I couldn’t believe how busy it was at that time of the morning!
“So we grabbed an Uber and got out of there.”
After demanding the “powers that be to step up”, Glenda and her family admitted they were not “convinced of returning to the UK last night until the landing gear went up and we were in the air”.
Mrs Powell took to social media on the night of the families second flight cancellation (May 29) - where she shared an image of her “exhausted” six-year-old daughter, Freya, crying because she is unable to return to the UK.
She wrote: “2nd attempt to get home...So our Manchester flight is cancelled... Literally got off the coach at the airport to be turned straight back round to go back to the same hotel/room.
“Absolute joke... #tui this is the face of a six-year-old who is exhausted from travelling to an airport at 10pm and just wants to go home we were supposed to get on our flight 24 hours ago”.
Glenda added: “After the first cancellation, we were then told by email we would be put on the 1.20 am flight to Manchester on May 30 with a coach transfer to Bristol.
“Families were checking online themselves for the status of said flight and rumours were going around that it was cancelled.
“Sure enough, when we arrived at the airport and unloaded our luggage we did not even enter the airport as the information board displayed that our flight was again cancelled.
“My daughters burst into tears with the anxiety and just wanted to go home”.
‘The powers that be need to step up’
Glenda also revealed the family were informed on Sunday (29 May) by an airport representative that they would be upgraded to all-inclusive at their hotel - but were disappointed after there was “no communicated about this at the hotel”.
She said: “I feel like TUI told us what we wanted to hear just to keep the peace at the time as emotions were running high.
“There’s a lot going on in the world which is significantly worse than this but when you save and pay for a service you expect them to follow through”.
Mr Powell was also due to attend a three-day trial at 9am on Monday morning to give evidence at Bristol Crown Court but was forced to cancel.
The mother-of-two added the responses she had received from TUI have been “fairly automated responses” and demanded “the powers that be need to step up, put their hands up and apologise properly”.
The family have been offered £200 each towards another TUI holiday, as well as the standard flight cancellation compensation, but Glenda reveals she is “not really feeling like booking a holiday with them unless this all calms down”.
Glenda says she has not formally complained yet from being “too exhausted” but she is planning to.
What TUI said
TUI issued a statement apologising to its customers for flight cancellations and claims to have been in contact with passengers to advise of new service departure times.
A spokesperson said: “We’d like to apologise to customers travelling on flight TOM6677 from Paphos to Bristol which was unable to depart as planned on Saturday 28 May due to operational issues.
“All impacted customers were offered welfare vouchers, overnight accommodation and meals while we worked through a new flight plan.
“We were in regular contact with customers and advised them of their new departure time as soon as we could. Customers are now due to arrive in Manchester this evening and transport back to Bristol Airport will be provided.
“We’d like to thank customers for their patience and understanding during this time.”
There has been thousands of passengers stranded at airports across the UK, waiting in queues hours long amongst various cancellations of flights.