TUI rep runs after coach to tell family their first ever holiday is cancelled

A “gutted” family were devastated when a TUI holiday rep ran after their departing coach to tell them that their first ever holiday together had been cancelled at the last minute.

Emily and Duncan Ponter and their two children Bailey, 13, and Hugo, six, spent eight hours at Bristol Airport on Saturday waiting for their delayed flight to Paphos in Greece to take-off.

At 5pm the family clambered onto a coach and were told they'd be staying a hotel for the night before the plane jetted off the following morning.

Just as they were pulling out of the airport car park they noticed a woman running after the coach and shouting for it to stop.

She climbed onboard and told the holidaymakers that not only was their flight the next day cancelled, but so was their entire holiday to the Aliathon Resort.

"We have our own business and so we do not get to go on holiday," Emily told the Mirror.

"We have never been on holiday before. We could only do it because of the Jubilee Bank Holiday, because one of us needs to be at work.

"We felt devastated. It is absolutely gutting. I can’t even describe the absolute heartbreak that was felt.

"This has been such a long time coming for us. We had so much to look forward to. There were many many tears."

Emily and her family had been dreaming of a sunny getaway somewhere abroad for over a decade, but her and Duncan's intense jobs had made jetting off impossible.

When they eventually managed to take time off, Hugo was incredibly excited to get on a plane for the first time.

"He was really patient," Emily said.

"He saw the planes when we were driving into the airport. We built him up. He had been a bit anxious about flying and so we covered every eventuality."

Their excitement turned to boredom as the hours passed their original departure time slowly slipped by.

"Fast forward two more hours of waiting at a gate for further instruction, we were sent to collect our luggage from the belts, and told our flight was now on the 29 May at 10:30pm," the mum-of-two continued.

"We were waiting for the coach to take us to the hotel for a further two hours, through out this whole period there was not one TUI representative seen, and we were informed there was no one in the airport that we could speak to from TUI."

The first time the group of about 60 passengers saw someone claiming to be a TUI rep was when they were sat on the coach.

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"The coach pulls out of the car park and everyone is slightly relieved that maybe this was the end of the waiting and hell of the day," Emily said.

"We couldn’t have been more wrong.

"A member of staff ran into the coach park and waved our coach back in. She then climbed the stairs and stood at the front of the coach and informed us that our flight on 29 May, had also been cancelled, as well as our holidays.

"This morning my six-year-old has woken up in tears. I am still in shock, and as of yet, no one from TUI has made contact with us."

The family left for a trip to Legoland this morning to try and cheer themselves up.

However, they had to turn back around because their youngest member felt too sick from stress and sad to enjoy himself.

A spokesperson for TUI said: "We would like to apologise for the inconvenience to our customers on flight TOM6676 from Bristol to Paphos, on Saturday 28th May who were delayed to a combination of factors causing significant operational disruption.

"Unfortunately, we felt the impact to customers holiday was too great and took the difficult decision to cancel the flight.

"We contacted affected customers as soon as we became aware of the change and all customers will receive a full refund within 14 days.

"We understand how disappointing and frustrating this is and we do apologise for any inconvenience caused."

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