BBC DJ Craig Charles' 'secret' escape from Manchester Airport

Craig Charles
-Credit: (Image: Coventry Live/Tristan Potter)

BBC DJ and former Coronation Street actor Craig Charles said he made a "secret" escape from Manchester Airport after his flight was one of many cancelled on Sunday.

Travellers' plans were thrown into chaos yesterday when the busy airport experienced a power cut. BBC 6 Music host Craig said he made his exit through "hidden little passageways" when his plans to visit Almeria for a meeting were scuppered.

He told radio listeners on Monday afternoon he thought "I can't do this" after waiting for hours when his 6am flight to Spain was cancelled. Craig said he had to be "de-controlled" to get out of the airport, the MEN reports.

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Charles told his listeners: "So I went to Manchester Airport at 4am. I was supposed to be flying out on the 6am flight to Almeria in southern Spain. But, of course, there was like power cuts at the airport.

"I knew something was wrong when all the elevators didn't work, all the escalators didn't work, and there's a lot of steps at Manchester Airport, and then the walking walkways weren't working either."

Charles said how he was told by TUI, the airline he was flying with, at the gate at around 4.50am that his flight had been cancelled. "Around about 8.30am - the flight should have left at 6am - I just said 'I can't do this'," he added.

"I was only going in and out in a day. I had a big meeting. So I was late for the meeting anyway. So I said 'I'm gonna leave'.

"'Oh, you can't leave Mr Charles'. I said 'what do you mean I can't leave?' You can't leave the airport. I said 'what are you kidnapping me?' They said 'no, you are going to have to be de-controlled'. What do you mean de-controlled?"

He said once passengers check-in "[airport bosses] don't make it easy for you to find the exit". He said a TUI representative took him through "hidden little passageways at the airport", adding it was "the secret airport".

Craig added: "I went out with a captain and a flight crew just to get out. I had to go through passport control - I had not been anywhere."

He said he got home at 10.30am, "when [he] should have been sat on the beach with a black coffee in Almeria".

In a statement on its website today TUI said: ”We would like to apologise to everyone impacted by the power outage that took place at Manchester Airport on Sunday 23rd June. We are pleased to confirm that every effort is being taken so customers can go their holiday as planned, and we have not cancelled any flights.

"Customers due to fly today have been contacted directly via text message and email about new flight departure times. Although this situation is outside of our control, we’d like to apologise for the inconvenience caused and reassure customers that we are working closely with the Manchester Airport team."

In a statement this morning, Manchester Airport said: "All our systems are running as normal today, so passengers are advised to prepare to travel as usual from Manchester Airport. That means going online to check the status of your flight before you leave then following your airline's instructions in terms of when to arrive at the airport - usually two hours for short-haul and three hours for long-haul."

The airport is likely to be busier than normal, and extra staff have been drafted in, a spokesperson added.

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