50-hour flight delay for passengers from Tenerife to Birmingham

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The plane with 150 holidaymakers, which was supposed to leave Tenerife at 8.30 pm on Saturday, arrived in Birmingham over two days late. One passenger, Shaun Rawcliffe from Droitwich, said: “To say I am elated to return to the UK is an understatement. I will never travel with Monarch again. Everyone realises there are delays but the lack of communication and information was terrible.” The Monarch service, operated by Lithuanian charter firm Aurela, was initially delayed by three hours and then grounded by a door hatch problem.

Mr Rawcliffe, a 50-year-old manager for BT Global Services, said the passengers were kept on the plane in “blistering heat” for an hour on the tarmac in Tenerife. They were then allowed back into the airport and packed into a sweltering corridor while they waited for news of their flight. Eventually, after vociferous protests, the passengers were taken to a hotel in capital Santa Cruz while they waited for parts to be sourced to repair the 737.

When the travellers were taken back to Tenerife airport, they refused to board the Lithuanian aircraft, forcing Monarch to arrange for another plane to fly them back to Birmingham. Mr Rawcliffe, who filmed footage of the delays and posted the footage on YouTube, said: “I saw the pilot going in and out of the cockpit with a torch. He was slamming about and that happened about six or seven times over an hour. But we were told nothing."

“No-one wanted to take responsibility. Monarch blamed the problems on ground handling agent Iberia, while the Spanish operator claimed it was up to Monarch to look after us. The hotel did its best but it wasn’t designed to cater for holidaymakers. If they had taken us back to the resort we could have relaxed – but we couldn’t even wash and dry our clothes."

Monarch apologized for the inconvenience caused and said it had given each passenger £100 in compensation, as well as a £100 flight voucher. A statement said: “Monarch confirms flight ZB933 departed from Tenerife on Monday at 22:38 local time on a Monarch Airbus A300 and landed at Birmingham Airport at 02:33 UK time. Monarch again apologises to all passengers for any upset and inconvenience caused.”

But Mr Rawcliffe branded the offer derisory. “I spent more than that in phone calls and I am not going to use a voucher for another Monarch flight,” he said.

Source: Birminghammail.net