A TUI passenger with a broken ankle was forced to spend 17 hours on the floor of an airport after the airline refused to let him fly.
Ross Snowdon, from Hartlepool, was returning to Newcastle after a holiday in Tenerife with his partner when the airline told him he wasn’t allowed to board the plane because of his injury.
The 30-year-old snapped his ankle during his trip, after falling over while walking on August 14.
He then spent 11 hours at University Hospital of the Nuestra Señora de Candelaria in Tenerife where it was put into a cast, before being given a letter by his doctor to allow him to travel.
The letter, which was also signed by medical staff, stated in Spanish: “Patient can return to his country this Friday as planned.”
However, when Ross tried to board his 8:30pm Tui flight back home to Newcastle on August 16, airline staff claimed it was not an official document.
He wrote on Facebook: “They wouldn’t let us fly home last night due to us not having a ‘fit to fly’ document even though I had the letter from the hospital which specifically states we can fly.”
Ross also claimed: “So after that they didn’t even bother looking for another flight for us to get home or didn’t look to book us in the hotel for the night, they just left us to sleep the full night on the airport floor even though I have a broken leg.
“Worst night of my life I am absolutely gobsmacked at how we’ve been treated to be honest. Please share.”
He told Sun Online Travel: “They said it was not official even though the doctor who I got the fit to fly off said he doesn’t know why they haven’t accepted it.”
The couple were left by themselves at the airport, with “no help or support from the reps” and “in tears” after being forced to miss their flight.
He had to get a taxi to a 24-hour doctor’s service in the area for an official “fit to fly” document that airlines would accept – and then pay for new flights.
Ross, who works as an engineer for the Royal Navy, added: “I spent 17 hours on the airport floor in excruciating pain and Tui didn’t try to help at all.
“My partner even had to take me to a disabled toilet on the morning of our flight to inject me with blood thinners before the flight.
“Luckily we managed to get a flight with Ryanair the next day at 2pm but that cost us another £600 – and Ryanair didn’t even ask for the document.
“The Tui reps were a disgrace and it got to the point were they were just walking past us pretending to be on their phones, probably embarrassed at themselves.”
However, a Tui spokesperson told Sun Online Travel that Ross was denied boarding because there weren’t any spare seats on the flight – according to their policy, a passenger with a broken leg or ankle would have to book two seats to travel but Ross’s flight was completely full.
Tui also claim they offered to put him on a flight a few days later, which he declined.
A Tui spokesperson said: “We are sorry to hear that Mr Snowdon was unable to fly home due to not having the correct documentation.
“We did look into a number of options, however as the flight was full we were unable to accommodate the requirements requested by the doctor for the customer to safely return home.
“We offered to move the customer to the next available flight however Mr Snowdon made his own arrangements.”
What is TUI’s policy for flying with broken bones?
On the TUI Fly website, it warns: “No flights are allowed within 24 hours after a fracture.
“Only flights with a flight time of less than 2 hours are allowed between 24 hours and 48 hours after a fracture.
“All passengers with broken limbs set in plaster casts must provide a physician’s certificate confirming that the passenger is allowed to fly.”
It also explains that any passengers with a leg cast must purchase two seats.
A passenger travelling with Ryanair broke his ankle after the plane “suddenly lurched” when he was walking to the bathroom.
An investigation found that the injury was caused by the pilot executing a “sudden manoeuvre” to keep the flight level.
A man was charged £4.8k to fly home business class when he broke his leg and couldn’t fit in a normal seat.