Travel company Tui has written to its customers promising that it has learned from the delays and cancellations that ruined the May half-holiday for many travelers to build confidence ahead of the crucial summer booking period.
The company apologized again for disrupting plans as it prepared to be questioned along with other industry officials on Tuesday by MPs on the Commons Business Select Committee, which deals with flight cancellations and compensation.
A Tui spokesman said customers hit by cancellations were rebooking and while no more customers than usual were canceling their holidays, new bookings had been weaker across the industry.
“Travel is a trust game; We’re seeing big comebacks in travel,” she said, saying bookings are expected to pick up again once passengers feel reassured their summer travel plans are safe.
Tui UK Managing Director Andrew Flintham wrote to customers to explain that the company relies on a complex ecosystem of services, including its own pilots and cabin crew, as well as operational partners who provide check-in, baggage and catering as well as Cover air traffic control and airport security.
“During the first weekend of the May half-term, the ecosystem experienced capacity issues that impacted some of our customers,” Flintham wrote. “In some cases, customers have experienced delays and, in rare cases, cancellations. These customers have had a bad experience – I apologize for that and for the hassle caused by the cancellations.”
“I want to assure you that we have learned from what happened and are working closely with our partners to address the issues that have led to the delays and cancellations.” He said this week the vast majority of Tui’s flights were operating normally and have sent more than 200,000 customers on vacation.
Hundreds of flights were canceled by airlines during the half-time break that coincided with the four-day anniversary weekend of bank holidays as they struggled to cope with a surge in demand. Airlines and airports have laid off tens of thousands of people during the pandemic and have been slow to hire more staff, with some migrating to other industries and others lost to Brexit.
The company’s teams help customers find alternative holidays and process refunds. “And I can assure you Tui would never leave you stranded abroad,” Flintham wrote.
A Tui spokesman said the problems were mainly affecting Britain but not Germany or the rest of Western Europe.
The email, which was sent out late Monday, came ahead of a hearing by the Business, Energy and Industry Strategy Committee on the chaos faced by passengers during half-term, when executives from Tui, British Airways and easyJet are being questioned by MPs . The hearing begins later Tuesday morning. EasyJet, Britain’s largest airline, made the most flight cancellations.