14:32 21 July 2022
16:50 21 July 2022
Exhausted passengers hoping to board a flight from Norwich to Rhodes ended up being taken to LONDON for a flight… and then brought back again.
A TUI flight from Norwich to Rhodes was originally due to leave at 1.20pm on Wednesday.
The flight had been delayed from 1.20pm to 8.30pm, then to 9.30pm and then to 10.15pm before being canceled altogether.
Passengers were then told the flight would leave London Gatwick the next day, so taxis were called in to transport the furious holidaymakers to the capital.
Mark Overton, 55, was among those who traveled to Gatwick with his 42-year-old wife Frances, and two children Brooke and Jake, aged 21 and 14.
Mr Overton – who runs The Little Seafood Truck – had booked a family holiday after a busy season at work, but admits it has been “the holiday from hell”.
Speaking on Thursday morning, Mr Overton said: “We still hope to go out there but as you can imagine people are very upset and tired after a delay of more than 24 hours.
“There were some seriously disturbing scenes at the airport on Wednesday night, particularly people going on honeymoon.
“What shocked me is the lack of information coming from people at the airport and the lack of TUI representatives.
“It was shocking to see children sitting on the floor of the airport for hours.”
Mr Overton – who lives in Marsham – said people were left without refreshments while waiting at Norwich Airport.
It is understood that there was no pilot to fly the flight to Rhodes, as staff shortage issues at TUI continue to cause travel chaos.
Susie Anderson (44) from Wymondham was also delayed with her 13-year-old daughter and traveled to Stanstead Hotels for no reason.
She said: “Had we known we would have gone home instead of spending two and a half hours on the A11 and moving slowly due to roadworks to go to Stanstead.
“There were a lot of emotions at the airport. Anger, frustration, wanting to go home and a sense of ‘let’s hang in there.’
Ms Anderson was concerned about a heavily pregnant woman on the flight who was eventually given a wheelchair after nearly passing out inside the airport.
Passengers who had purchased goods from Duty Free were also forced to return them due to the delays.
Ms Anderson added: “We waited without water or food stuck at the airport for hours after paying the £10 departure fee. It was quite inhumane really.
“They just kept delaying and delaying.”
The single mother had been up all night waiting for updates from TUI about when the flight from Gatwick would leave.
She then received a text at 9.32am on Thursday telling her to go down to the hotel lobby at 9.30am to catch the bus back to Norwich.
A flight from Menorca to Norwich was also delayed just before the Rhodes flight.
This flight was due to leave Menorca at 06.00, but did not leave until 13:00 on Wednesday, which caused the Rhodes flight to be grounded.
The flight to Rhodes finally left at 3.40pm on Thursday after a final 30 minute delay.
It comes after TUI passengers flying from Dalaman to Norwich had to wait in Birmingham for more than four hours earlier this month.
TUI has apologized and offered to refund holidaymakers the cost of one night of the holiday.