Passenger Jenny Cook said the hardworking co-pilot was showered with praise by onlooking passengers as he was filmed loading luggage onto the plane to Crete from Manchester Airport. The co-pilot’s heroic efforts comes as more than 30,000 TUI passengers are set to have their flights from the airport cancelled as staff shortages continue to wrack the industry.
She said to the BBC: “The next thing we knew we were taxing to the runway.
“We were all cheering. Simon had gone above and beyond.”
Another passenger labelled Simon “the hero of their holiday”.
Katherine Cox, from Warrington, Cheshire, told the Manchester Evening News: “The crew and pilot on the flight were amazing.
“Simon was the hero of our holiday. We would have missed our air traffic control slot.”
TUI has also praised the co-pilot’s efforts, saying it shows the “incredible dedication” of its staff, who it says are doing “everything they can” to get customers up in the air and on their holidays.
It added it could “not thank him enough” for his “swift and decisive actions”.
A spokesperson for the company said: “We are aware of videos shared on social media showing one of our amazing TUI pilots supporting our operation by loading bags onto one of our aircraft bound for Crete from Manchester on 30 May 2022.
“Whilst not something our pilots would normally do, this video is one example of the incredible dedication of TUI colleagues who are doing everything they can to get customers away on their holidays. We can’t thank him enough for his swift and decisive actions, and we would like to thank all of our teams who continue to demonstrate their hard-work and commitment to TUI and its customers.
“We understand that we have disappointed some customers with the recent disruption, but we would like to reassure them that we are doing everything we can to get them away on their holidays.”
Commenting on TUI’s recent struggles, Manchester Airport Group said it understood the travel company’s “difficult decision to cancel a number of services”.
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A Manchester Airport spokesman said: “Over the last few days TUI and its appointed ground handler, Swissport, have experienced significant challenges with their check-in and baggage reclaim operations at Manchester Airport.
“From extensive discussions with the TUI and Swissport management teams, it is clear that they are experiencing temporary staff shortages, in common with other aviation and travel companies.
“Given these challenges, we understand TUI’s difficult decision to cancel a number of services over the course of the next month, although we are obviously disappointed to see passengers’ plans disrupted in this way.
“We will continue to work with TUI, Swissport and other partners to give passengers the best possible service as the travel sector builds back to full strength after the pandemic.
“In the meantime, we continue to advise passengers to arrive three hours before their flight and to be as prepared as they can be for their journey through the airport.”