Few forget their first holiday without parents abroad – and for a group of teenagers it was certainly unforgettable to have been left ‘stranded’. Pals Ryan Egginton-Pope, Brandon Burton and Ben Cowley had flown to Benidorm where they enjoyed a week of parasailing, jet biking and partying.
But while soaking up the sun at the Port Fiesta Park hotel, they found themselves stranded after their flight was cancelled. Liverpool Echo report that they were due to fly home from Alicante to Manchester Airport at 7am on Tuesday May 31. But at 8.45pm the night before, they received a text from TUI saying their flight had been cancelled.
Ryan, 18, and Brandon and Ben, 19, were told not to take the transfer to the airport and to wait for information. They heard nothing from TUI and found themselves stranded in Benidorm without a hotel room, money or help from the TUI team.
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Anna Egginton-Murray, Ryan’s mother, said: “Being stuck at the end completely ruined the holiday for them. They’re just really nice, hard-working guys.
“They were so excited for their vacation. They had been talking about going on vacation together since they were 14. We were worried they would get drunk or have an accident, but what let us down was the trusted company they went with.
The vacation was Ryan’s 18th birthday present in March and he rushed to book the tickets the very next day. At noon on May 31, Ryan phoned TUI’s 24-hour helpline. He was told they had missed the replacement flight, which left at 11 a.m., and had to make their own arrangements to return home.
Anna received a phone call from her son to tell him what had happened. She said: “He’s a very strong and resilient young man, but they didn’t know what time they would get home or how they would get home. They were basically left on the street. It was absolutely appalling.
Anna, who works in the NHS, went to the TUI store in Cheshire Oaks and after two hours of phone calls the store manager was able to confirm that the boys had been ‘missed’ from the communication list in an error system and had not ‘I was not informed of the postponement of the flight.
She said the next available TUI return flight for the boys was Saturday June 4. Instead, Ryan paid 450 euros for a return flight for the three of them with EasyJet, eventually returning to Manchester at 3am on Wednesday June 1.
Anna said: “They were completely exhausted when they landed in Manchester and they had spent all their money. It was really traumatic as a parent because we couldn’t do anything and didn’t know how we were going to bring them home.
Ryan was told he would be reimbursed for the EasyJet flight within seven to 14 days but, as of June 24, he has still not received his compensation for funding his own return flight. The 18-year-old works as a support worker and the subsequent robbery caused him to miss his job.
TUI said in a statement: ‘We would like to apologize to Mr Burton and his party for their experience. Unfortunately, due to operational issues, we have taken the decision to cancel the customer flight from Alicante to Manchester on Monday 30th May.
“Our goal is to communicate with customers as quickly as possible if there is a change in their vacation and to offer transport, accommodation, meals and refreshments as needed. On this occasion, customers decided to procure their own return flights from an alternative carrier.
“We can confirm that our teams are processing Mr Burton’s forms and will reimburse the cost of return flights to customers as soon as possible. We understand how frustrating and disappointing this has been and are truly sorry for the inconvenience.
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