'You're not going on holiday': Police drafted in at understaffed airports to speak to passengers

·Freelance Writer
·4 min read

Watch: Furious passengers told their holiday to Kos is cancelled

This is the moment furious passengers jeered and heckled police as officers were drafted in at understaffed airports to tell people their holidays were cancelled.

Video footage taken at Manchester Airport last Saturday shows police delivering the news to a crowd of angry people, who had been hoping to jet off to the Greek island of Kos for the half-term break.

The passengers, who were spoken to by officers as they waited at the boarding gate, had already had an eight-hour wait at the airport, including four hours to get through check-in and security, followed by a four-hour flight delay while “waiting for a pilot”.

Some had already been sent text messages from holiday firm TUI to say that the getaway had been cancelled as they waited at the boarding gate. Passengers described the situation as “utter, utter chaos”.

It comes as passengers at airports across the UK have queued for hours amid reports of lengthy delays to get on flights.

More than 150 UK flights were cancelled on Wednesday.

In the video clip, one police officer is heckled as he tells the large of crowd of people: "This has been cancelled, you won't be going today.”

Police were drafted in to inform furious passengers that their holidays had been cancelled. (Reach)
Police were drafted in to inform furious passengers that their holidays had been cancelled. (Reach)

He adds: "But what has happened is this. You're all going to be getting a full refund.”

The officer is then interrupted by frustrated passengers.

He tells them to let him finish, informing passengers that as well as the refund they will get £320 in compensation and a £200 holiday voucher.

The officer adds: ”Due to operational reasons – they won't tell me what those operational reasons are – but you've all found out, it's obviously been on the news, it's not just the airline, it's other airlines as well. I assume that's what it's in relation to.”

Passengers had already had an eight-hour wait at the airport, including four hours to get through check-in and security. (Reach)
Passengers had already had an eight-hour wait at the airport, including four hours to get through check-in and security. (Reach)

People could then be heard in the clip shouting “we want to go home”.

Cancelled flights and delays have affected Manchester, Heathrow, Gatwick, and Bristol airports in recent weeks – with a warning that travel chaos will last into the summer.

Passengers have been hit by disruption for several months, with the situation worsening this week due to the rise in demand sparked by the half-term school holiday and the Platinum Jubilee bank holiday period.

The troubled flight out of Terminal 2 was supposed to take off at 3.45pm, but angry ticket holders said they would have missed the flight – if it had been on time – due to queues “out of the building” to check-in.

After enduring a further four-hour delay, one family said they were informed by a text from TUI that their trip, including flights and an all-inclusive hotel, were cancelled.

Helen, from Sale, Greater Manchester, who was due to travel with her husband and teenage daughter, said: "It's utter, utter chaos.

Passengers queue for flights at Heathrow Airport. Would-be travellers have labelled queues at Heathrow
Passengers queue for flights at Heathrow Airport as the airport attempts to process passengers in time for their flights. (PA)

"There has been hardly any staff here. Everyone got a text from TUI saying their holidays have been cancelled and to go home.

“The check-in girls knew nothing, we found out before they did. And they were left to deal with hundreds of passengers complaining, a full flight's worth.

"The police had to come in and make an announcement, a holiday maker was arrested and was in handcuffs.

“We have had to go back through security, show our passports, even though we'd never left the airport.

“I wouldn't expect this from Manchester Airport and certainly not from TUI. It's just disgusting.

BEST QUALITY AVAILABLE Queues at Gatwick South Terminal at 10:39hrs on Wednesday. More than 150 UK flights were cancelled on Wednesday and passengers who could travel were forced to wait in long queues at airports. Picture date: Wednesday June 1, 2022.
Passengers at airports across the UK, including Gatwick, have faced long queues amid the half-term break. (PA)

A spokesperson for TUI apologised to passengers, saying the delay was due to “a combination of factors”.

They added: ”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."

TUI Airways is continuing to cancel six daily flights at Manchester Airport, which represents a quarter of its schedule.

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