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Unread 9 Jul 19, 02:01 AM  
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Trying for More Ears
Join Date: Jul 12
Awful flight & disgraceful treatment at MCO yesterday

This is the email I have sent to Thomas Cook & MCO after our flight last night.

Just a heads up on what we went through, not looking to be told we were in the right or the wrong.

I will check back in when I can, but we are obviously going to try to get our holiday back on track & I need a lot of rest before I can do that!


We traveled on Thomas cook flight MT6210 on 7th July from Manchester (MAN) to Orlando (MCO). If you are reading this on behalf of Orlando airport, rather than Thomas Cook, then please bear with me, your role will unfold later in the email.

We were due to depart at 11.55 am but were informed of a delay at check in of 2 hours.

We finally departed Manchester around 14.35 pm. The captain apologised for the delay, but said that an aircraft door had been damaged by an air bridge a couple of days before, and that Thomas Cook had been suffering a knock on effect from this in the following days, with planes having to be moved around to try to cover all routes.

We were informed on the tannoy that there were 5 toilets on board. One at row 9 & 4 at row 28. When we were allowed to leave our seats after take off, it turned out that one toilet on each side of row 28 was out of order. There were only 3 toilets available. The signs on these doors were not hand written, they were printed as though they have been out of order for a longer length of time,

I asked 2 different stewardesses about these toilets & both of them spoke to me as if I was trying to cause trouble. They told me that one toilet had a broken lock & the other had a problem with it's oxygen mask.

I told them that as someone with health problems, it was causing me huge problems having to queue so long for the toilet. Also, as we were in row 29, we spent the whole flight with people stood over the top of us waiting for the single toilet on each side of the aisle.

Both stewardesses had the same VERY snotty response to my complaint. They told me it was better than having a delay. I pointed out that we HAD a delay. I also pointed out that sometimes a delay is the only option to fix a problem that can cause problems for passengers comfort or safety. I believe that delays to fix things like this are avoided to try not to have to pay compensation to the passengers.

They told me that they had no idea how long the toilets had been out of order as the plane had been brought in from JFK the night before. If a company like Thomas Cook cannot repair a toilet door lock & an oxygen mask, how am I to feel safe that they can fix & upkeep the major components of an aircraft?

I asked why we could not use the toilet in premium economy. She told me that it would make no difference since there were 40 people in PE to share only 1 toilet, which made it the same as the rest of the plane. The rest of the plane had 3 working toilets. She claimed that 1 toilet would only suffice the 40 passengers in PE, which means 3 toilets at her maximum capacity of 40 passengers per toilet, meant 120 people had access to toilets on a full flight.

To add another issue to this. The couple sat next to us asked to upgrade to PE. We were told at check in that they had many free seats in PE & were asked if we wanted to pay to upgrade. The couple were told that the seats in PE had been taken by Thomas Cook staff from the JFK inbound flight. So the people we were not allowed to upset by sharing the toilets in PE were Thomas Cook staff. Why were they not put in economy & passengers moved to PE so they could make use of the toilet?

I have mobility problems, IBS, fibromyalgia, hyper sensitivity to temperature, pain, noise etc & my complaint was treated as if I was complaining that they had run out of the beef option during the meal service.

After this uncomfortable flight with disrespectful staff, we landed at MCO at 18.19 pm. We were told by the pilot that there had been a thunderstorm as we were coming in & that no flights had left for 15 minutes, so we would have to wait for a short while for a bridge to come free. We waited & waited. At 19.30 we were eventually allocated a gate, but we were told that now the problem was that there were no ground services to guide us in to the gate, or affix the bridge. The doors were finally opened at 20.05 pm. We sat on the plane after landing for 105 minutes before the doors opened.

Being disabled, I waited for everyone else to disembark before heading to the exit. I was told that my wheelchair had not been brought up from the hold & was unlikely to be brought any time soon. 2 Swissair reps tried to convince us to leave in an airport wheelchair but we refused. The flight crew told us that this had been brewing for the last week & it was getting harder & harder to get the luggage & wheelchairs unloaded. The pilot told us that he had been informed that all the staff had walked out & there was nobody to unload the plane. The chief stewardess advised us to sit tight on the plane until they brought my wheelchair, since there was more chance that they would ignore us once we left the plane.

After a further hour sat on the plane & despite asking to speak to the airports own management, we gave in & took an airport wheelchair, so that we could at least go & find someone to speak to. This was now 3 whole hours after landing that we left the plane, still without my own wheelchair.

We arrived at the luggage carousel, where the entire flight were still waiting, with no luggage. We begged for help from Thomas cook reps & from Swiss air, who just smirked at us, laughed at our predicament, whilst each blaming the other company. I told them I must be able to speak to a representative or management of the airport. I was told that they had been informed, but the issue was with Thomas Cook & Swiss air & nothing to do with them. As a passenger arriving at an airport, if 2 companies are having a playground argument about whose fault it is, I fully expect the airport itself to step in & demand they fix the situation. Part of my fare goes to the airport, even if it is indirectly, so I expect to get a service provided to me.

The unrest was becoming unbearable & a big security guard came & said he was trying to sort it, but warned us that if anyone said anything else, he would take them away & lock them in a room. I told him that I felt like we were being held hostage as we were not allowed to have our cases, but were not allowed to leave without them. I was trying to explain to him that being stuck in an airport wheelchair, rather than my own wheelchair, meant I could not get to the bathroom. The airport wheelchairs cannot be self propelled, I was traveling with 3 males, my husband, our son & my dad. None of them could take me to the into the ladies bathroom, which was where the disabled toilet was situated, & I could not take myself. It was like my legs were cut off, I could not move myself.
I got as far as saying that I felt like a hostage when he started bawling his head off at me saying if I was his hostage, I would know about it, as I tried to continue to tell him that it was my bathroom issue that made me feel like this, he shouted his threat again, that if I said ANYTHING else, I would be taken away & locked in a room away from my family. The whole flight were looking at me, I was so humiliated, however, this was nothing compared to the humiliation of a stranger offering to take me to the toilet. I had no choice but to accept, but this flight & the arrivals upset had flare up my stomach condition. You cannot imaging just how degrading & terrifying this experience was for me & I don't think I will ever get over it. I don't believe the issue was even within the jurisdiction of Border security. There was no need for him to bully me & frighten me like that. I hope you can look at CCTV to verify this, I certainly have witnesses

Any staff took themselves to an area away from the passengers, but whenever anyone approached them, the security guard would threaten them, saying they were not allowed to congregate there, the staff knew this, which is why they stayed there & I was unable to speak to them. I sent messages to them that I needed to speak to them, but they refused to come to see me.

We were offered no water, never asked if we could be assisted in any way. To the staff on the airport floor, we were comedic entertainment. To the airport management, we were insignificant, irrelevant, nothing.

It was 22.20 when I finally received my wheelchair & our luggage. I am suffering terrible health consequences both from the problems, but more so by the way they were dealt with, or rather NOT dealt with. We missed the delivery of my fathers mobility scooter, we had no food to arrive to, we were broken.

************************************************** **

I cannot attest to whether everything we were told was true or untrue, I can only tell you it is what we were told & how it happened.

Hopefully it gets sorted & nobody else has to go through this
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Unread 9 Jul 19, 06:09 AM  
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Sending you a big hug, some pixie dust and hope you can enjoy your holiday x
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Unread 9 Jul 19, 06:46 AM  
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Oh dear sounds truly awful feel for you all, hope you can enjoy your holiday now
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Unread 9 Jul 19, 06:57 AM  
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Im glad that youve sent this message, hopefully you are able to draw a line under it for now so that it doesnt spoil the holiday and can deal with this shocking situation when you get home.

Hope you have a wonderful holiday despite the dreadful start 👍
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Unread 9 Jul 19, 08:00 AM  
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That's awful I would have said I was telephoning the news papers ( I think the Telegraph is pretty good for such complaints).
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Unread 9 Jul 19, 08:28 AM  
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Thomas Cook do seem to be on the last tether at the moment as we keep seeing more stories from them.
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Unread 9 Jul 19, 08:35 AM  
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Originally Posted by Spike1911 View Post
Thomas Cook do seem to be on the last tether at the moment as we keep seeing more stories from them.
Some of the issues reported here are outside of the control of Thomas Cook. The last week has seen many delays at MCO due to the horrendous storms. You cant expect people to work outside in thunderstorms

Also, due to EU compensation rules, it means that most operators including the big boys can not afford to wait for a toilet to be fixed. A 5 hour delay will make the flight loss making
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Unread 9 Jul 19, 08:37 AM  
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That sounds horrendous, I hope youve had a more restful night and can try and enjoy the rest of your holiday, lots of love xx
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