Couple's Turkish holiday an 'absolute shambles' due to flight delays

Richard Platten's wife Sarah wanted to whisk him away to Turkey as a surprise for his 70th birthday

Richard Platten's wife Sarah wanted to whisk him away to Turkey as a surprise for his 70th birthday - Credit: Archant/Sarah Platten

A couple whose flight out of Norwich airport was delayed by almost 15 hours said their break was a "shambles from start to finish".

Richard Platten's wife Sarah booked a week-long visit to Turkey in March 2021 as a surprise for his 70th birthday on June 5.

The couple, who live in the Holkham Estate, stayed in a hotel next to Norwich Airport the night before their flight.

They were due to speed along the runway at 7.50am on Monday, May 23.

Sarah Platten wanted to whisk her husband Richard away to Dalaman in Turkey to celebrate his 70th birthday

Sarah Platten wanted to surprise her husband Richard with a flight to Dalaman in Turkey to celebrate his 70th birthday - Credit: Sarah Platten

Sarah, 65, said: "We got up at 4.30am to walk to the terminal, then received a text saying our flight was delayed until 3.00pm.

Richard added: "We were angry. We didn't know what the delay was."

Sarah added: "Arriving at the airport we found it had been delayed further still. This went on with boring regularity.

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"We finally boarded at 9pm but didn't take off until 9.40pm."

TUI has apologised for the delay.

"On arriving at Dalaman we were handed a letter stating the length of the delay and what to do for a claim. 

"No reason was given.

"We finally arrived at our hotel at 6.05am the next morning. We were up for 26 hours, which left us feeling pretty wretched," Sarah continued.

Richard added: "We were absolutely shattered. It was a shambles from start to finish.

"You work hard all your life to save money for the little delights.

"It was a lovely holiday but it got spoiled. We lost three days from being knackered."

On their return to the UK, Sarah received an email stating a ‘bird strike’ caused the delay, and that no compensation claim would be settled.

She said: "I will never travel with TUI again. Their handling of the whole situation was dire."

A spokeswoman for TUI said: "We’d like to apologise for the delay to flight which was due to technical issues.

"We kept in regular contact with everyone on the flight and offered transport, overnight accommodation, meals and refreshments as needed.

"We know last minute delays are disappointing and we’d like to reassure customers we do everything we can to get them away on their holidays as planned."