Mum’s horror after landing from Crete holiday to find sick autistic son wasn’t on the plane
A Mum has described her horror after she returned home from holiday in Greece to find her sick autistic son didn’t get on the plane with her.
Nicola Purdy and her kids Jack, 24, Alex, 12, and Darcie, 11, had gone on a Tui holiday to Crete on May 28 before flying home to Wales on June 4.
When they arrived at Heraklion Airport in Crete for their flight home, Jack, who has autism, was taken ill as he was vomiting.
He was wheeled away by a doctor and Ms Purdy was told he would be put on the plane in priority seating.
However when she boarded the flight she saw his assigned seat was unoccupied but assumed he was sat further down the front of the plane.
But after collecting her luggage with Alex and Darcie, Ms Purdy realised her eldest son was missing.
She told Wales Online: “I found the night duty manager at Cardiff airport and in the end I had to contact the police and the British Consolate. Eventually we found out he was still in Heraklion Aiport. I could not believe it.”
To make matters worse Jack had been left in Crete without his passport, mobile phone or money.
Ms Purdy added: “It was awful. What must have been going through his mind? He must have been thinking we had all abandoned him. He had no means of communication with anyone and was in another country.
“It would have been awful for this to happen to someone more vulnerable or younger than Jack. I thought he was safe and was on the flight. It had never happened to me before. Why would I not assume he was on the flight?
“I posted what happened online and I have had some trolls saying, ‘Why did you not look that your son was on board?’ but why would I after what I was told?”
Jack was taken to hospital and then returned to the airport, where a TUI manager was waiting.
Ms Purdy said: “I spoke to the British Consolate and they got him on the next available flight the next day, accompanied by someone from TUI and he was then put in a taxi home to Swansea.
“He was tearful. When he got home he was still not well at all.
“It’s awful what has happened to my son. I felt completely out of control of the situation. It was such an awful experience.
“I believe TUI should compensate us and ensure it does not happen to anybody else.
“I am livid. This caused so much distress to all of us, especially my youngest children, who were inconsolable.”
A TUI UK spokesman said: “We are sorry to hear that Mrs Purdy’s son was taken ill in the airport lounge before his flight.
“Once we were made aware that he had returned from hospital and was still at the airport we fully supported them by arranging both a flight back to the UK and onward travel home, covering the entire cost.
“We were in direct contact with Mrs Purdy to keep her updated with the situation and have tried to make further contact following their return to the UK.”