Fam­ily are f loored by air­line’s seat blun­der

The Daily Telegraph - - News - By Cal­lum Adams

A FAM­ILY was forced to sit on the floor of an aero­plane dur­ing their flight home from Menorca after be­ing told that their al­lo­cated seats did not ex­ist.

Paula Tay­lor, 44, her hus­band Ian, 55, and their daugh­ter Brooke, 10, from Al­ces­ter, War­wick­shire, ar­rived early at Ma­hon air­port in June last year for their flight with TUI air­lines.

They were given the seat num­bers 41 D, E and F, but when they boarded the plane they found that they did not ex­ist.

“We made sure we were three hours early at the air­port to check in early just to make sure we got seats to­gether,” Mrs Tay­lor told BBC One’s Rip-off Bri­tain: Hol­i­days.

“We went straight to the front and we were very ex­cited about the fact we had man­aged to sit to­gether.”

Yet, on the plane, they could not lo­cate the seats on their board­ing passes.

“We all just looked at each other as if to say ‘where’s our seats gone?’. There were no seats where our seats should be,” Mrs Tay­lor said.

Mem­bers of the cabin crew pro­posed that 10-yearold Brooke could take the last spare seat on the flight, and Mr and Mrs Tay­lor could sit in spare flip-up chairs meant for crew.

How­ever, after take-off, the cou­ple were told they would have to va­cate their seats as the at­ten­dants needed ac­cess to the food and duty-free items, which were stored be­hind them.

On the floor they were joined by their daugh­ter and later the co-pi­lot of the air­craft, who thanked the fam­ily for their “co­op­er­a­tion and un­der­stand­ing”.

“He said how calm we were and that he was so grate­ful be­cause he would have missed the time slot for take off,” Mrs Tay­lor said.

She said of the floor: “It’s hard and it’s un­com­fort­able and it’s just filthy.”

The Civil Avi­a­tion Au­thor­ity, the body that reg­u­lates air­lines in the UK, is now in­ves­ti­gat­ing the in­ci­dent. Pas­sen­gers are al­lowed to sit in crew seats un­der cer­tain con­di­tions, but must not be left un­seated dur­ing any stage of the flight.

After be­ing con­tacted by the pro­gramme, TUI of­fered the fam­ily a full £1,300 re­fund, blam­ing the in­ci­dent on a “last-minute air­craft change”. How­ever, Mrs Tay­lor said she “got short shrift” from the air­line when she had com­plained im­me­di­ately after the in­ci­dent.

She al­leges that, after ex­plain­ing

‘There were no seats where our seats should have been’

to the com­pany that the seats were “phys­i­cally miss­ing”, she was told there was no record of the in­ci­dent and of­fered a “good will ges­ture” of £30. Frus­trated, she con­tacted Rip-off Bri­tain.

A spokesman for TUI said: “We are sorry to hear about Mr Tay­lor and his fam­ily’s ex­pe­ri­ence with us. Un­for­tu­nately a last-minute air­craft change meant that the seats the fam­ily was orig­i­nally as­signed were unavail­able as the al­ter­na­tive air­craft had a dif­fer­ent seat­ing con­fig­u­ra­tion. We’re also sorry for the way the sit­u­a­tion was ini­tially han­dled and we’ll be in­ves­ti­gat­ing this.”

The episode of Rip-off Bri­tain: Hol­i­days will be broad­cast on BBC One to­mor­row at 9.15am.

Paula, Ian and daugh­ter Brooke Tay­lor, 10, dis­cov­ered their al­lo­cated plane seats did not ex­ist on a TUI flight from Menorca

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