Family’s dream holiday from Glasgow to Spain turns into 43-hour hell after TUI flights

A dirty pool, bad food, and seriously delayed flights – just some of the things you hope not to encounter on vacation.

But for one family from Govan, it was the nightmare end to their dream holiday in Spain.

Kelly Ann MacKinnon and her children Layton, 9, and Amelia, 11 months, traveled from Manchester in Andalusia to join her husband Kevin on Wednesday May 18, for an idyllic family holiday on the Costa del Sol.

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Kevin was in Sevilla earlier in the week for Rangers’ Europa League final and once reunited the family had a perfect week in Benalmadena – before flight delays and a hellish hotel stay ruined the travel.

Things took a turn when Kelly Ann, Kevin and their children tried to fly back to Manchester with TUI airlines on Wednesday May 25.

The family said Glasgow Live they arrived on time for their 11:10 a.m. flight home, but less than an hour before their flight was scheduled to depart, it was delayed “indefinitely”, only to be canceled later that day.

During the seven-hour hold-up at Malaga airport, the family received two text messages from TUI apologizing for the ‘indefinite delay’ to their flight and were offered €12 in food vouchers per person.

But the family of four only received three coupons because tot Amelia was not eligible.

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Kelly Ann said: “They refused to provide one for my daughter as she didn’t have her own seat. She’s 11 months old and still needs to eat, we’re just grateful she’s still breastfeeding, otherwise it would have been worse.”

Eventually, TUI sent the family to spend the night at Sol Principal near the airport, where a “dirty” swimming pool welcomed the family. The kids even got “a rash” after taking a bath, furious mum Kelly Ann told us.

Kevin joined his family on Wednesday May 18 for an idyllic family vacation on the Costa del Sol.
Dad Kevin joined his family on the Costa del Sol after being in Seville – but his dream trip ended in a nightmare when the family’s return flights were significantly delayed

The 35-year-old said: “At first glance it looked good, but after letting the kids cool off in the pool after being stuck at the airport all day, they both walked out covered in rashes!

“The pool was filthy and the food was shocking.”

To make matters worse, Kelly Ann said TUI holiday providers were supposed to provide a drink at dinner – but she and her husband Kevin “had to fight over” the water.

She said: “We had a great holiday until we tried to get home on Wednesday. We booked everything through TUI, flying out of Manchester as those were the only flights we could get in time for the match.

“Our vacation dates were May 18-25, but we didn’t return until May 27.

Kelly Ann MacKinnon
Kelly Ann MacKinnon and her family were stranded at the airport twice in one week

“TUI is an absolute joke of a company.”

Kelly Ann said that after TUI moved the family to a hotel on Wednesday afternoon, they were not heard from holiday providers for another 24 hours – and had to be told of further flight delays by the hotel staff.

She said: “We had no contact from TUI. It was the hotel that advised us to stay there one more day.

“The only rep who came to the hotel after more than 24 hours late was hopeless and actually walked away from me while I was talking.

“She admitted they knew the flight had been delayed before they first checked us in on Wednesday morning, but didn’t tell us why.

“I asked what would happen regarding the compensation, especially as our car was in the meet and greet car park in Manchester, and it ran away from me.”

The family then returned to Malaga airport on Friday to board their flight home, but once again were delayed by seven hours.

Kelly Ann said: “We were picked up from this hotel at 12.30am on Friday only to be faced with delays again. Our flight didn’t leave until 7.30am.”

This time, however, the family was not offered overnight stays or food vouchers.

She said: “There were no shops open in Malaga. We were only given a bottle of water and Pringles once the plane left.

“When we finally got back to Manchester airport, we had to wait three hours to get our bags.”

By the time the family returned to Glasgow at 7.30pm that Friday, they had traveled for over 12 hours and were ‘sick, broken and broken’.

Kelly Ann said: “I have since received an email saying we will be entitled to £350 pp due to the delay and a £200 voucher which is of no use as I would no longer feel confidence to fly with them.

“We’ve been delayed twice, so I think we should at least get the standard government claim twice.

“It seems like it doesn’t matter if you’re delayed three hours or 46 hours, you get the same amount.

“We had to deal with additional expenses due to our two extra days of absence, we had to buy clean clothes and diapers for my daughter. My husband lost two days of work. In addition, we had to go back to Glasgow without sleeping.”

A TUI spokeswoman said: “We would like to apologize to customers traveling on flight TOM2301 from Malaga to Manchester who were unable to depart as scheduled on Wednesday 25 May due to operational issues.

“All affected customers were offered welfare vouchers, overnight accommodation and meals while we worked on a new flight plan.

“We were in regular contact with customers and advised them of their new departure times as soon as possible. The flight departed for Manchester at 06.27am local time on Friday 27th May.”