A British family of three were forced to sit on the aisle floor of a TUI Fly plane, after they discovered the allotted seats did not exist at all on the aircraft.
The incident, which took place in June 2018, had Paula Taylor, 44, her husband Ian Taylor, 55, and their daughter Brooke Taylor, 10, from Alcester in Warwickshire, England, making their way back home from Menorca, an island in the Mediterranean Sea.
The family only recently, opened up about their less-than-pleasant experience on an episode of BBC One's "Rip-Off Britain: Holidays," which is scheduled to air Tuesday. Paula said they had been assigned seat numbers 41 D, E and F after they arrived early to check-in for their flight at the Mahon airport, Menorca.
"We made sure, we were three hours early at the airport to check in, just to make sure we got seats together," Paula said. "We went straight to the front and were very excited by the fact that we were alloted seats, wherein we could sit together."
However, their excitement was soon brought down by the fact that the trio failed to find their designated seats once they boarded the plane. "We all just looked at each other as if to say, 'Where's our seats gone?' There are no seats where our seats should be," Paula said.
When they approached the flight attendants regarding their confusion, even the crew failed to find a solution to their problem. Instead, they told Paula and her husband that they could opt to sit on the two - spare flip-up chairs meant for the crew, while their daughter could occupy the last empty passenger seat left on the flight.
However, as soon as the aircraft took off, the couple had no other choice but to sit on the aisle floor of the plane, as sitting on the flip-up seats made it difficult for crew members to access the food and duty free items, meant to be sold to passengers in-flight. A while later, the couple were joined by their daughter on the aisle floor, although the reason behind it was not known.
Paula said that at one point of time during the flight, the co-pilot came up to where they were sitting and thanked them for their "co-operation and understanding."
"He thanked us for keeping calm and said he was so grateful because, otherwise he would have missed the time slot alloted for take off, if passengers had not boarded their alloted seats" Taylor said. "It's hard and it's uncomfortable and it's just filthy. It's just not an experience I ever want to repeat."
After "Rip-Off Britain: Holidays" contacted TUI Fly regarding the family's ordeal, the airline company said the incident was the result of a "last minute aircraft change" and offered the three passengers a full airfare refund of 1,300 pounds ($1,669).
"Unfortunately a last minute aircraft change meant, the seats the family were originally assigned was unavailable as the alternative aircraft had a different seating configuration. We're also sorry for the way the situation was initially handled and we'll be investigating this. We will also be contacting customers directly to apologize and will be offering a full refund," a TUI Spokesman said, the Telegraph reported.
Since airline passengers are not supposed to be unseated, during any stage of the flight and only allowed to sit in crew seats under certain conditions, The Civil Aviation Authority – which regulates airlines in the United Kingdom – has asked TUI airlines to offered an explanation as to why they breached regulations and made the family sit on the plane's aisle floor.