Exclusive: An Inside Look to the Chaos at Paphos Airport & TUI’s Poor Treatment

Photo Credit: @asproctor on Twitter

LONDON – A TUI passenger has approached AviationSource following the chaos at Paphos Airport. One thing we do know is that it is continuing, and the treatment is poor.

The Situation…

Around 200 employees at Larnaca & Paphos airports have joined in an impromptu two-hour strike which has resulted in the cancellation of services by the carrier.

However, carriers such as TUI and Jet2 were made aware of this action hours before flights departed to Paphos, causing widespread condemnation of the carriers.

Such a strike took place because redundancies were being made by LGS and Swissport.

This has resulted in 111 employees at Larnaca Airport and 42 at Paphos being sacked, with 45 being made redundant by Swissport in Larnaca.

Around 15 flights have been canceled as a result of the strike action.

Meet Kate…

Kate Roberts, who flew from Birmingham on Wednesday, has still not received all of her suitcases that belong to her family and has kindly explained the continued chaotic situation.

She also mentioned how it took her two hours to deplane the aircraft and was offered nothing by TUI in the meantime. Kate also reported that some passengers on other flights were stuck on the aircraft for five hours after landing.

Upon deboarding, she was able to get a couple of photos and videos, but they were limited as airport staff told her not to take any in an effort to reduce the amount of social media exposure.

Upon entering baggage claim, she was told that she wouldn’t be getting her luggage and that there weren’t many TUI reps around the airport to give her the next instructions.

From there, she has had to wait over three days for her luggage and is still waiting for one more suitcase in her family booking to arrive.

She also witnessed the following: “We would see vans full of luggage turn up each day, but would only offload 2-3 pieces per hotel, which added further fuel to the fire”.

“At the airport, it was absolute chaos. Families with little kids, disabled and elderly passengers were all stuck, not being able to figure out what the next steps would be”.

“We are staying at Louis Phaeton Beach, which has been a brilliant support team. Also, other holidaymakers have offered to share sunscreen and other items with passengers stuck.”

“As you can see, I’ve been on them right from the start and still getting nowhere (See the images below). I will be asking for a full refund from TUI for this holiday. I’m self-employed, and I’m not able to get away too often.”

“My sister and I lost our dad to covid in 2020 and have had our mother receiving 24-hour care since due to covid related complications. This was supposed to be a well-needed relaxing break!!! Very disappointed in TUI”.

Poor Customer Service – In Photos…

Kate was also kind enough to share her messages with TUI, including the poor customer service received, irrespective of whether it was a Swissport/LGS issue or not:

The screenshots are in chronological order:

Hours after disembarking, TUI eventually released a statement to passengers, although this was too late:

“We would like to inform you that when you arrived in Paphos today, there was an ongoing strike by the Ground Handling team at the airport, which TUI had not been informed would be taking place.”

“This meant that some of the flights which arrived today experienced a delay in disembarking from the aircraft and going through the terminal building.”

“Also, we have been advised some of the flights arriving; there was no possibility of taking your luggage from the aircraft. If you were affected by the above, we would like to apologize for this disruption caused to the start of your holiday; this isn’t how we anticipated it would be.”

“If you do not have your luggage, we appreciate that some passengers may have young children or need medication; if this is the case and you have to purchase any essential items, please keep a copy of your receipts to a reasonable amount and submit them on the following web form”.

When also asked for an update on her luggage, she was fobbed off by the airline, who said the following below:

Kate also confirmed to me today that the last load of her luggage still hasn’t turned up, despite this update being given out by TUI previously:

Below is the airline’s response from yesterday, which still didn’t provide any better news for Kate:

Later that day, Kate received an email stating that TUI would be able to expense essential items for passengers for up to £25 per day for a maximum of three days as a result of the lost luggage:

Then, to add further insult to injury, Kate received an email about booking excursions, despite the fact that her family doesn’t have enough clothes to do so:

Then, in the last hour, Kate received a harrowing email from TUI offering £75 per case that still hasn’t been delivered yet. Have they been lost by the airline, especially if they are telling her to claim on insurance?:


AviationSource has approached TUI for a comment on the whole ordeal. As the time of publishing is over the weekend, it’s expected we will get a comment from them on Monday.

UPDATED MONDAY: This is what TUI had to say on this particular issue:

“We completely understand the frustration of Ms. Roberts and all customers affected by the unexpected strike by external ground handling staff at Paphos Airport last week.”

“Whilst the situation was completely outside of our control, we did everything we could to support customers and provide them with information as quickly as possible.”

“Our teams are urgently investigating the location of Ms. Roberts’ luggage, and we will be in touch with her as soon as possible to help resolve the issue.”

Yes, the strikes at the airport were the major cause for this disruption that Kate and hundreds of others received, but it is down to the communication from TUI and other operators to ensure the rest of the process goes smoothly.

And it is clear from what Kate has told AviationSource that tour operators such as TUI have failed in this process substantially.

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