HUNDREDS of TUI passengers were left stranded at a ski resort in France yesterday after dozens of flights were grounded due to bad weather.
Travellers were forced to sleep at the airport before the Red Cross were called in with provisions including bedding and McDonald’s meals.
Heavy fog over the Alpine town of Chambery meant thousands of travellers were unable to board their planes and were forced to sleep on the airport floor after TUI failed to provide hotels or accommodation.
An “emergency situation” was declared and the French Red Cross was called in to provide sleeping mats, blankets and bags full of McDonald’s burgers for refreshments.
Chambery Airport tweeted: “Dear passengers, due to bad weather conditions and for security reasons, the air traffic is disrupted, some delays must be expected. Thank you for your understanding.
“Yes it is an emergency situation but food and water are distributed and I know some McDonald’s sandwiches will be distributed.
“Coaches are already bringing people to accommodation places.”
Alongside a picture of dozens of McDonald’s bags on Saturday night, they added: “Our teams are mobilized to assist, inform, house and refuel the nearly 1000 people who were unable to fly today at the airport because of the fog.
“Meals are delivered by our teams at the emergency accommodations for tonight.”
Joe Gratton, 28, had been booked on the 6am TUI flight to Chambery from Manchester Airport on Saturday morning when the plane was cancelled.
The freelance marketing consultant said: “We had been so excited to head off but shambolic isn’t a term that does it justice.
“Whilst the weather conditions may have initially caused issues, the management of the entire situation after-the-fact has been utterly horrendous.
“We spent over nine hours on a plane with just the supply of two shortbread fingers and 200ml of water, a period of which was spent without access to bathroom facilities.”
He added: “It’s been a nightmare for us and we’ve already lost two days of our week-long break.
“But I can’t imagine what it’s like for those poor people in Chambery.
“There were many parents with small children who were trapped and unavailable to feed their children.
“You don’t expect the Red Cross to be called in and have to bring McDonald’s but things really have become desperate.
“For a private tour company and airport operator to rely on the help of Humanitarian Aid Charities to simply help their own customers is disgusting and unacceptable by anybody’s standards.”
He was eventually put up in an airport hotel in Manchester for the night along with the other 250 other passengers.
Passengers in Chambery, who weren’t left to sleep on the airport floor, were taken to spend the night at a nearby gym and auditorium.
Melanie Tan tweeted: “My mother is 71 years old travelling on a ski holiday with her two friends.
“It’s a disgrace that you won’t pay for a hotel, there are many options in Chambery you shouldn’t be making people sleep on camp beds run by the Red Cross. Totally inappropriate & unprofessional.”
Sam Rapley added: “@TUIUK/@crystalski have put people on camp beds in halls after pretending for hours they would arrange appropriate accommodation. You are a #disgrace.”
Lindsay McClelland said: “What an absolute disgrace – 17 hours stranded in Chambery airport. No offer of food or water. My children freezing and sleeping on the floor.
“My husband on crutches. Exposing your front-line staff to verbal and abusive angry passengers and not filtering down info.”
A TUI spokesperson told Sun Online Travel: “We can confirm that a number of customers have been impacted following adverse and changeable weather conditions in Chambery on Saturday 4 January.
“The safety of our customers and crew is always our highest priority and we are doing all we can to get everyone to their destination as quickly as possible today.
“Customers are being provided with food and drinks and…
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