Storm Eunice left families “screaming and vomiting” on a flight back to the UK after they experienced extreme turbulence during a failed landing, passengers said.
Customers from TUI airline said they were “petrified” as their pilot attempted to touch down at Manchester Airport twice on their way back from Morrocco on Friday (February 18).
Passengers said they decided to pray after the pilot was forced to divert the plane to Glasglow while they were thrown “up, down and side to side” in the “horrendous” storm.
One traveller, who asked not to be named, slammed the airline and said they were left waiting for replacement coaches back to Manchester while standing in the snow.
He said: “I just don’t understand why they [ TUI ] were willing to take the risk and fly when there was a red weather warning.
“We were all shaken up. Lots of people said they would be avoiding flying from now on.
“There were kids crying and that was so sad to see. They will be traumatised.”
Manchester Airport reported dozens of cancelled flights – 46 in total both outbound and inbound on Friday – but said the bulk were “preemptive”.
Flight BY669 was due to leave Marrakesh Airport at 12.05pm, but left at 1.09pm, reports Manchester Evening News.
“I heard one child asking their parents “are we going to die” and that really brought things home,” the passenger said.
“The pilot decided to give in and ascended the plane to a higher altitude. For a few seconds, we all caught our breath.”
They added: “Then the second descent started. Everyone knew what to expect and it was ten times worse. I could see people going up and down in their seats.
“Kids and adults were vomiting. People were having panic attacks.
“Strangers were holding hands and families leant over to hold hands across the aisle.
“People were praying. It was just a horrible experience.”
The Boltonian claims that no sick bags had been provided by the airline, so people had to use duty-free bags or were sick on the floor.
After struggling to land, passengers were told the plane was being diverted and it landed at safely Glasgow Airport at around 5.30pm.
He added: “Everyone gave a round of applause to the pilot when we finally landed.”
The passenger claims TUI staff were “ill prepared” for the diversion and passengers were initially told four coaches were waiting to take them to Manchester.
He said: “One arrived and we were told the others weren’t coming, so we’d have to get taxis.
“We got moved to another side of the airport. There were kids, frail people in wheelchairs and elderly people all standing outside in the cold.
“One woman asked a member of staff if we could wait inside and was told ‘don’t you think I’m cold too?’.”
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He claims that no bottles of water, food vouchers or blankets were offered to customers as they waited.
After almost three hours, the passenger says a friendly taxi driver picked them up and set off in difficult weather conditions to take him and his wife back to Manchester Airport.
A TUI spokeswoman said: “We’re aware that due to Storm Eunice TUI Airways TOM669 from Marrakech to Manchester was diverted to Glasgow, as the safety of our and crew is our number one priority.
“Our crew offered support onboard, and all passengers were safely disembarked.
“Unfortunately, due to the unplanned diversion, there was a shortage of vehicles available for the transfer back to Manchester.
“We would like to apologise to those customers affected and thank them for their patience and understanding.”
Silver Screen Beat have contacted TUI for comment.