TUI airlines: Family 'forced to sit on plane floor' after finding £1,300 seats didn't exist

'It’s hard and it’s uncomfortable and it’s just filthy,' Paula Taylor told BBC One's Rip Off Britain

Chiara Giordano
Monday 14 January 2019 09:44
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Traveller arrives at Gatwick airport for flight to discover online travel agent failed to book tickets

A family was forced to sit on the floor of a plane after discovering their seats didn’t exist – despite having paid more than £1,000 for them.

Even though they had been allocated seat numbers, the Taylor family found there were only empty spaces where their seats should have been after boarding a TUI flight.

The family, from Alcester, in Warwickshire, had forked out £1,300 for the flight home from Mahon, in Menorca, to Birmingham.

Mum Paula, 44, told BBC One programme Rip Off Britain: Holidays that she, her husband Ian, 55, and their 10-year-old daughter Brooke had arrived at the airport early in June.

Their seat numbers were 41 D, E and F – but when they got on the plane there was just an empty space underneath the numbers.

There was only one spare seat once all of the other passengers had boarded, which Ms Taylor’s daughter Brooke was given.

Meanwhile, Ms Taylor and her husband were given flip-up ‘jump’ seats in the crew section but had to sit on the floor during the flight while staff served food and other items stored behind them.

Brooke ended up joining her parents on the floor because she didn’t want to sit alone.

“It’s hard and it’s uncomfortable and it’s just filthy,” Ms Taylor told the BBC programme.

“We just couldn’t believe it when we realised that there genuinely weren’t any seats for us.”

Ms Taylor said she was offered just £30 by TUI as a goodwill gesture after taking photos and complaining to the airline.

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However, the company later offered the Taylors a full refund of their plane fares after it was contacted by the TV show.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) told Rip Off Britain it would be asking TUI to explain why the family were forced to sit on the floor for the majority of their flight.

According to the regulator, passengers must never be left unseated at any stage during flights.

TUI Airlines explained a “last-minute aircraft change” meant the family’s assigned seats became unavailable.

The episode will be broadcast on BBC One at 9.15am on 15 January.

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