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Family Forced to Sit on Floor for Flight

Family Forced to Sit on Floor for Flight
Jennifer Billock

A family of three from the United Kingdom was forced to sit on the floor of a plane for their flight home from Menorca after they boarded the plane to find their own seats didn’t actually exist; flight attendants offered up their own jump seats but eventually had to relocate the family to the floor.

The Taylor family—Paula, Ian, and 10-year-old daughter Brooke—recently flew home to the United Kingdom from Menorca, though they were seated on the floor the entire time. The family boarded the plane to discover that their seats on TUI Airlines didn’t actually exist on the plane.

“We made sure we were three hours early at the airport to check in early just to make sure we got seats together,” Paula told BBC One’s Rip-Off Britain: Holidays, reported by The Telegraph. “We went straight to the front and we were very excited by the fact we had managed to sit together. [When we got to our seats,] 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.”

The airline offered Brooke the last remaining seat on the plane and gave the two jump seats to the couple, but then had to relocate everyone to the floor when the crew needed access to food and duty-free products.

“It’s hard and it’s uncomfortable and it’s just filthy,” Paula told BBC One. “It’s just not an experience I ever want to repeat.”

TUI Airlines is now being investigated about the incident, which was against Civil Aviation Authority guidelines—passengers are required to have a seat for the duration of a flight. For its part, TUI offered a statement to The Telegraph:

“We are sorry to hear about Mr. Taylor and his family’s experience with us,” a spokesperson said. “Unfortunately a last minute aircraft change meant that the seats the family was originally assigned were unavailable as the alternative aircraft had a different seating configuration … We will also be contacting the customers directly to apologize and will be offering a full refund.”

[Photo: Paula Taylor]

View Comments (11)


  1. eng3

    January 29, 2019 at 9:58 am

    How is this legal? Was the floor rated for 16G?

  2. ksandness

    January 29, 2019 at 11:28 am

    That was clearly a case of overbooking. Did the clerk at check-in not know about the change of aircraft? Someone goofed.

    The airline should have asked for volunteers who could give up their seats, and if there were none, put the family on the next available flight.

  3. CaliforniaSteve

    January 29, 2019 at 11:54 am

    That is about as ludicrous a situation as I think I’veever heard. This family is certainly entitled to a heck of a lot more than just a refund of their fare.

  4. pdsales

    January 29, 2019 at 2:37 pm

    “…then had to relocate everyone to the floor when the crew needed access to food and duty-free products.”


    Civil Aviation Authority guidelines require that passengers have a seat for the duration of a flight. No requirement to supply food and duty free on 2:15 flight.

    Food and duty free does not trump CAA guidelines. Sorry, no food or duty free this flight,

  5. OZFLYER86

    January 29, 2019 at 4:05 pm

    Better than being offloaded !!!!!!!!!!

  6. j2simpso

    January 29, 2019 at 10:35 pm

    In what sense is it better than being offloaded?! The rules are there for a reason! A bit of heavy turbulence and the pax could have broken bones to say nothing of the discomfort and indignity of sitting on a floor for a prolong period of time! It’s also unclear whether the jump seats are permissible for general passengers to use since they aren’t trained on the proper and safe use of those seats (i.e. how to buckle/unbuckle, how to brace in the event of an emergency, etc.) The last time I’ve flown, I’ve never seen an emergency card for those seats as they were marked, For Crew Use Only!

  7. jamar

    January 30, 2019 at 1:25 pm

    Exactly. Having to take a later flight is a minor inconvenience compared to the possible injuries if any turbulence were to happen during that flight. I see this as the airline trying to avoid having to pay to reaccommodate them were they actually to deny boarding, given how much compensation they’d be entitled to under EU law.

  8. Dubiox

    January 30, 2019 at 2:50 pm

    What is the big deal? I’d rather stand or sit on the floor the whole time anyway than be in a cramped seat.

  9. Shiv01

    February 2, 2019 at 5:55 am

    From a safety point of view this is utterly insane. How on earth did the crew allow it? The aircraft should not have been allowed to take off!

  10. White Eagle

    February 8, 2019 at 7:48 am

    Unbelievable…but coming from there, probably not the first time!

  11. jungly

    February 10, 2019 at 4:08 pm

    I would have given them hell. But taken the opportunity to ask “I want two free tickets to hawaii via this airline, all expenses paid if you force me to sit on the floor.” otherwise book me on the next flight with free accommodations and compensation for free stuff.

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