Agency unable to open after entire team is bumped off flight back from conference

By Lisa James
06/10/2023
Home » Agency unable to open after entire team is bumped off flight back from conference

West Yorkshire independent Spa Travel couldn’t open as planned earlier this week when the whole team got stranded in Istanbul after they were bumped off their return flight.

Proprietor Paul Dayson and his team had been in Turkey for the Elite Travel Group conference.

They’d told customers the shop, in Boston Spa, would be closed for three days, from last Friday (29 September) up to and including this Monday, 2 October and would reopen on Tuesday morning.

When they arrived at Istanbul airport on Monday morning for their flight to Manchester, they were told they were on standby and, if they didn’t get on that flight, they would be on a later flight in the afternoon.

In fact, they couldn’t get on either, and spent 12 hours at the airport trying to sort out flights for the next day and overnight accommodation.

Paul said hundreds of other passengers were also offloaded from other Turkish Airlines flights to different countries.

He said: “It was horrendous. We were pushed from pillar to post. We kept being told different things. At one point they said there were no flight for three days.

“It took from 2pm to 6pm to get anyone to talk to us and we eventually rebooked for Tuesday morning.

“I have never stood in as many queues in my life and not known where I was going. We were at the airport for over 12 hours. One of my team said we did 19,000 steps wandering around after being sent from one place to another.

Paul and team posted on Facebook on Tuesday afternoon to say they’d finally arrived back in the office

“We were in the country on a Turkish invite. Turkish Airlines was the main sponsor of the conference. If they’d said right at the beginning ‘you’re not on this flight and unlikely to be on the next one’, we could have booked an alternative flight to Manchester with easyJet or could have gone back to the hotel and just chilled and been able to deal with client queries.”

Paul has been assured he will receive compensation but said: “My team are knackered and distressed and so am I.

“We had very little sleep on Monday night, got up early to get to the airport and, after arriving at Manchester, I had to drive back on the M62 and drop all the team off at their homes.

“Then we all had showers and made our way to work, to open the shop at 3pm on Tuesday afternoon.

“We’d told customers we would reopen on Tuesday morning and when we didn’t, we had a lot of worried people and a lot who had been inconvenienced. It’s left a seriously bad taste.”

To make matters worse, Paul’s phone was stolen on Sunday night, the night before they were due to fly out.

“We had customers who were driving from Leeds to pick up a set of tickets, who were due to fly the following day. If I hadn’t had my phone stolen, I could have contacted them.”

Paul thinks he and the team were bumped off to make way for football fans travelling to Manchester for the UEFA Champions League match between Galatasaray and Manchester United on Tuesday.

“About 3,500 Galatasaray fans travelled to the match and the flight we eventually flew out on was full of fans,” he said.

“The lack of help was worrying. God knows what one of our customers would have done if it had happened to them.”

Travel Gossip has contacted Turkish Airlines for a response.

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