Why I will never book a holiday as a wheelchair user with TUI ever again

This isn’t my normal type of post but I thought I needed to make the experience I had as a disabled person while travelling with TUI public knowledge. At the time of writing this post I have over 100,000 individual visitor counts on this blog, furthermore I have decided to use this platform to reach out to TUI for some answers.

I have worked very hard on building up this blog over several years and I’ve never used it for something like this before but I don’t know what else I can do. I’m sorry this isn’t a Lush review, that’s what you guys follow me for in the first place but I needed to do this post on here and I’d really appreciate my readers forgiveness on writing and posting this ‘non Lush’ post.

After getting nowhere with TUI via email, telephone or from going back into the store that we booked our holiday in, I have been left with no choice other than to do this. If doing this stops just one other disabled customer from going through the awful experience that I did in the care of TUI then the tears, stress and the time writing all of this will be more than worth it.

TUI refuse to reply to me on all platforms of social media now, I figure it’s because they hope I will just go away. I will not go away. All I want is an explanation, some acknowledgement that they made a huge mistake and a proper and sincere apology. Not only for the awful treatment I got from TUI while on my honeymoon but also for lying to me about their investigations into the incident and the treatment I have received thereafter.

I will try and keep this post brief but I have been battling to get some form of acknowledgement from TUI for over 4 months now and unfortunately their poor level of customer service gets more and more ludicrous as the weeks go by.

I booked my honeymoon in a TUI store, I went in, in my wheelchair to book it and I paid it in full on the same day. I even paid extra on my holiday insurance through them, with a list of all of my medical conditions. The lady who booked us in was really helpful, she made sure the hotel was wheelchair friendly and told me about TUI’s taxi transfer scheme for their disabled customers.

I had to take a form into my doctors surgery where my GP had to confirm in writing on it that I couldn’t get on a TUI coach that wasn’t wheelchair accessible. Once I had provided TUI with this evidence then they would pay and sort me a taxi transfer on both the arrival and departure of our trip.

I thought this was a bit over excessive, I asked if my blue badge would not be evidence enough, TUI said no. I then went to my doctors to enquire about getting this document sorted. There was a charge for the completion of this form (even though TUI said it would be free).

I feel that the GP charging for this document is perfectly understandable though, GP’s have much more important things to be doing with their already precious and over stretched time.

I got my GP to fill out the form and I handed it in to my local TUI store the same day. I was told that the taxi’s would now be organised by TUI’s welfare team and that I had nothing else to worry about.

We had a nice honeymoon, the journey there was a little stressful but it always is travelling in the wheelchair. At both of the airports there wasn’t a high level of assistance  (if any) like we had been promised but we managed.

Once we got off of the plane at our holiday destination we were given the appropriate taxi documents and got taken via a taxi to our hotel straight away.

It was our journey home where it all went wrong.

We asked 2 different TUI reps during our honeymoon if we needed to do anything in regards to our taxi transfer on the day we flew home. We said that on the way here the TUI rep at the airport gave us a form to give to the taxi driver, we asked if we needed one for the return journey. We were told there was no need for a form because our names were on the taxi list and that everything was sorted.

On our last day we sat and waited for the taxi to come. It didn’t. No one in the hotel could help (you know what hotels are like once you’ve checked out) and there wasn’t any TUI reps there to go to for help either. There was no sign of a taxi and it was getting closer and closer to our flight time.

A TUI coach turned up for the passengers that were on the same flight as us. We was supposed to leave in the taxi before them so at this point panic had well and truly struck.

The TUI coach driver was carrying a list, on it was a list of his passengers names, he was doing a headcount over and over, he had 2 missing passengers. My husband ran straight up to him as he was the first and only TUI contact we had seen anywhere near our hotel that evening.

Low and behold, we were the 2 missing passengers, our names were there on his coach list. We were booked to go back to the airport on the coach and not in a taxi. The TUI coach driver said that he had to leave with or without us. Seeing as I couldn’t get on the coach we said he could go. He then left and by this point I was sobbing.

Hysterical, I demanded that the hotel manager helped us, that if he didn’t we were going to miss our flight. To cut the story short, the hotel sorted us out with a taxi in the end, we were however running dangerously late by the time it had been ‘sorted’.

We got in to the taxi and then had to argue with the driver that our journey had already been paid for by TUI, (with a language barrier this wasn’t easy) but in the end the taxi driver understood and took us to the airport with no charge to us. He was so kind to do that as TUI clearly hadn’t paid for, or ordered the taxi as promised.

We made it onto the plane within seconds of the gates closing, by this point we were shattered and so traumatised that we joked we needed a holiday.

When we got home we went in to our local store to find out what had gone wrong. The TUI shop staff told us to email in via the TUI website so we did.

We finally got a response after chasing it several times, they said they had investigated our complaint and that they had concluded that it was the taxi firms fault. They also added that as the taxi firm were a third party company they weren’t responsible for the taxi firms actions.

We immediately emailed them back to say that this couldn’t be the case as our names were on the TUI coach drivers list, TUI then took another month to respond back to this email. They still didn’t accept any liability for our ordeal and avoided answering the question as to why we were on the coach drivers list.

TUI’s response basically said that different customers have different levels of expectations and that they can’t please everyone. This was the last we have heard from them in writing.

My husband did however receive a call from TUI’s ‘executive team’ at the back end of last year, he was unfortunately at work and missed the phone call. He called back and the lady who took the call said she’d pass on the message and get someone to call us back. This was back in November/early December and we haven’t heard anything since that last call.

I am disgusted with how TUI have treated my husband and I, the holiday was not a cheap one. Travelling in a wheelchair is not easy and the stress of the whole situation made me very ill. We went above and beyond to ensure the journey was straight forward but TUI failed us to the highest degree.

If it wasn’t for the kind taxi driver we would have missed our flight. I am outraged that TUI passed the blame on to the taxi firm, especially as it was the taxi firm who sorted and dealt with TUI’s incompetence off of their own back for us.

I urge anyone who uses a wheelchair who is thinking of using TUI to travel with to avoid doing so.

I have received such a high level of disrespect from TUI, we were thrown into a very inappropriate situation after paying a huge amount of money. TUI’s lack of any type of compassion or a true and thorough investigation as to why this even happened speaks volumes about the company itself.

I will never, ever be travelling with TUI again.

Author: Lulu

Hello, my name is Lulu and I am a 26 year old freelance writer with a very unhealthy obsession with Lush Cosmetics. I mostly blog about Lush but I also do posts that touch upon disability, mental health and invisible illnesses on various other social media platforms. If you can read this then I guess I should thank you for visiting my blog, I hope to see you again soon! :)