TUI 27 hour Corfu flight delay 'ruins' Cornwall family's holiday

The Jenkin family's holiday to Corfu ended in a 'nightmare' after their TUI flight to Exeter was delayed by 27 hours
-Credit: (Image: Andy Jenkin)


A family from Cornwall has hit out at the operators of travel company TUI after their holiday was 'ruined' by a 27 hour flight delay. Andy Jenkin, his wife, Abi, and their two young children, Piran and Freddie, were among dozens of passengers stranded at Corfu Airport over the weekend after their plane back to Exeter suffered repeated breakdowns.

The family, from Shortlanesend near Truro, were due to fly home at 6:55pm on Friday (May 31) after a week-long trip to the Greek island, when they were told their plane had broken down back in England and a replacement aircraft would be on its way. However, after a few hours of waiting, they discovered that the second plane also had issues, meaning they were delayed further.

Passengers slept on the floor in the airport while they waited for TUI to arrange accommodation for them overnight but Andy and Abi said it took around six and a half hours from being told about the delays before they were taken to a hotel. TUI has since apologised to customers for the delay, adding that they will be eligible for compensation.

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The family said they were taken to a hotel in Corfu at around 2am but struggled to sleep because they were waiting for an email from TUI confirming their new flight details. Andy told CornwallLive: "TUI were a joke. We have a child who is being tested for autism and a four-month-old baby and we were forced to sleep on floors for hours as [TUI] hadn’t sorted hotels until late. Our three-year-old slept in part of the baby's pram so he wasn’t sleeping on the cold floor and had a bit of comfort.

"Then they gave us one for five hours but we couldn’t sleep as we were told they would email us the new details. We were worried we would miss the email, miss the transport back to the airport, then miss our flight home. So, we only managed to get a few hours between us and then we had a quick shower before going back to the airport."

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He added that they ran out of baby formula for their four-month-old son, Freddie, and despite allegedly being told by TUI that more would be delivered to their hotel, they were left without the formula until they got back to the airport. "When we got back to the airport they had to find someone to go out on a bike and get us some," Andy said.

"They gave us €5 for refreshments when nothing was open and when [the shops] did open, a bottle of water or a fruit juice carton cost €4.90. And as we had children with us, we had to choose between giving them food and drink or having something ourselves. The night before, they offered €25 but everywhere ran out of food quickly. It was a nightmare."

There were cheers from passengers when the flight home finally took off and landed back in the UK. Despite the numerous issues they faced, Andy said everyone came together to help one another out and that he "couldn't fault" the crew on the flight home.

The family, who own Summertime Entertainment - a bouncy castle hiring company - eventually got home to Cornwall at midnight on Saturday and weren't able to attend an event they were supposed to work earlier in the day. "We had an event at the Duchy Ford show in St Merryn on Saturday and Sunday but we had to cancel because of the flight delays."


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Andy and Abi said the experience left them feeling angry at the travel company. While they were promised compensation, the couple said they have had issues trying to arrange this with TUI as they received an email stating that it was unable to process their claim.

"It left us feeling angry and stressed," Andy said. "It ruined our holiday and our memories of it have been tainted by what happened. We're not upset there was a delay because we appreciate these things happen but what has upset us is the way TUI treated us. This holiday was one that had been cancelled because of Covid in 2021 and we rebooked it before Christmas but now I wish we hadn't."

A spokesperson for TUI said: "We would like to apologise to customers who were delayed on their departure from Corfu to Exeter on flight TOM6543 over the weekend. This is not the experience we want for our customers at the end of their holiday. Unfortunately, due to a technical issue with the aircraft we were unable to depart as scheduled.

"We understand how frustrating this is for our customers and apologise for the delay, but the safety of our customers and crew is always our upmost priority. We can confirm that all customers are entitled to claim compensation and we’ve been in touch to let them know."