- A TUI plane flew from Greece to Scotland without passengers, MailOnline reported.
- Passengers were kicked off the plane because crew had worked too many hours, per the report.
- Their flight was delayed by 13 hours and TUI was unable to provide overnight accommodation.
- For more stories visit Business Insider.
Passengers were booted off a plane by British airline TUI because the crew had worked too many hours – but the plane still flew off without them, according to a report by MailOnline.
The flight from the Greek island Corfu to Aberdeen, Scotland — originally scheduled for 22:15 on 22 July — was initially delayed by a few hours, which a TUI spokesperson told Insider was related to “operational disruption.”
But after passengers had taken a shuttle bus to board the plane, they were told to return to the terminal because the captain had exceeded his legal limit on working hours, passenger Steve Dongworth told MailOnline. He said that TUI staff later told him it was actually the cabin crew, not the pilot, who had timed out.
Passengers were given a new flight time of 1:45 p.m. on July 23, MailOnline reported — more than 13 hours after the original flight was scheduled to depart. Data from FlightRadar 24 confirms the flight was scheduled for this time.
Dongworth told MailOnline that while he waited at the airport he had checked flight-tracking app FlightRadar24 and saw that the plane had actually departed at 3:44 a.m. and made the journey to Scotland. Insider confirmed via both FlightRadar 24 and FlightAware that the plane departed at this time and flew to Aberdeen.
“The plane still needed to return to the UK as this would then impact other flights,” the TUI spokesperson told Insider. “Passengers couldn’t fly on this aircraft as there was not any crew to operate the flight.”
TUI was unable to provide overnight accommodation for the passengers waiting for their rescheduled flight. Dongworth said they were left to sleep on the floor in the departure lounge.
“We were told those who wanted to leave could do so but would not be allowed back into the gate until they had checked in for the new flight,” Dongworth told MailOnline, adding that he didn’t want to walk round Corfu so late at night.
“Regretfully, a lack of hotel availability in the area meant we couldn’t source any overnight accommodation for customers as we normally would in these circumstances,” the TUI spokesperson told Insider.
The airline told affected passengers that they wouldn’t be able to access their checked-in luggage during the delay, per a screenshot of an email from TUI that Dongworth shared on Twitter.
Dongworth told MailOnline that the airline only offered him sandwiches during the delay, but a TUI spokesperson told Insider that staff handed out water and meal vouchers to the passengers.
The flight was ultimately delayed again, departing at 15:57 on July 23, per data from FlightRadar 24.
The spokesperson told Insider that TUI had kept the passengers up to date while it worked on a new flight plan and had provided them with details on how to claim compensation under EU rules.
“We do everything we can to get customers away as planned and, while instances like this are rare, we recognise we fell short of our usually high standards and apologise again,” the spokesperson said.