When tragedy struck we had to face Tui's 'inhumane' process

Last month, police officers broke the news that my son’s girlfriend had taken her own life. The two of them were due to go on a Tui holiday in June. It had been booked with a credit voucher issued after their original trip last summer was cancelled due to Covid.

As my son’s girlfriend had made the new booking, we had the original reference number but not the revised one. On my first call to Tui to explain the tragic circumstances, an agent said she’d find the revised booking number in order to cancel the holiday, but I was cut off after being on hold for 11 minutes.

I called again and was told by another agent that data protection prevented her giving me the revised reference, without which the holiday couldn’t be cancelled.

I explained all confirmation details were on the deceased’s phone which had been taken by police, but I was stonewalled. I asked for a contact for senior management and was told that was against policy.

I was told Tui would only accept correspondence by email to its cancellations department, but that required the reference number that it wouldn’t give me, and a copy of the death certificate, which won’t be forthcoming for weeks because of the police investigations.

How on earth can Tui have such an inhumane process for dealing with such a tragic case?

SR, London

It seems Tui applied its ordinary requirements to an extraordinary circumstance, and it beggars belief that agents did not deviate from their script to meet your need. The press office cottoned on to the gravity of its failings, and you were called the day after my contact.

The holiday was cancelled and I’m assured the refund will be processed by the travel insurance provider before the death certificate is received. Staff are apparently trained to deal with sensitive circumstances, and the company intends to follow up on your experience.

Tui said: “We understand how devastating this must be for the family. We have apologised, and reassured SR his feedback is being taken seriously.”

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