Teen 'left in tears' as birthday holiday flight cancelled on the tarmac

Clare Drake and Terry Winhall's two-week holiday to Tenerife got off to a rocky start

Clare Drake and Terry Winhall's two-week holiday to Tenerife got off to a rocky start - Credit: TUI/Clare Drake

A teenager hoping to enjoy her 16th birthday abroad was "heartbroken" after hearing her flight had been cancelled on the runway.

Clare Drake and her partner Terry Winhall decided in February to whisk Clare's daughter Sophie away to Tenerife for two weeks to celebrate her big birthday.

They were among the passengers on the cancelled TOM5750 flight from Norwich to Tenerife South on Sunday, May 22.

Clare Drake and Terry Winhall on holiday in Tenerife

Clare Drake and Terry Winhall on holiday in Tenerife - Credit: Clare Drake

Speaking from Tenerife, Ms Drake said that when they found out their flight had been axed that their "hearts sank".

"We were upset but ready to get in the car to another airport to catch a flight. 

"But my daughter was absolutely devastated and in tears. She thought that her holiday was ruined," she said.

Instead of going home to Bowthorpe, the trio accepted TUI's offer to put them up in a city hotel with meals included, with the hope of being transferred to an alternative flight.

TUI has since apologised to customers for the cancellation which was due to "operational issues." 

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Ms Drake added: "We're frustrated with TUI.

"But we're here for two weeks. Missing one-and-a-half days of your holiday is annoying.

"We felt more sorry for the people who only had a week but we're worried about our flight home.

The couple are worried about any disruption to their flight home to Norwich this Sunday (June 5)

The couple are worried about any disruption to their flight home to Norwich on Sunday (June 5) - Credit: Clare Drake

"We're just hoping that because Sophie's got a GCSE exam on Tuesday that there isn't a delay in getting back.

"We're annoyed but I'm more upset for my daughter."

Mr Winhall said: "There's been a real lack of communication. 

"It's been disappointing and frustrating to say the least."

A spokesman for TUI said in a previous statement: "We would like to apologise for the inconvenience to our customers who were impacted by a flight delay due to operational issues. 

"We thank customers for their patience and understanding at this time."

It comes after similar stories of panic have been revealed - including Sheila Greenacre who travelled from Wymondham to whisk herself and her husband David away to Tenerife for a surprise trip to celebrate his 70th birthday.