A family of Halliwell holidaymakers have vented their frustration after being told they will have to wait up to 10 days to get their luggage back, which includes vital medication.

Joanne Bladen-Kay, 50, her husband Tony, 52, and their son Owen, 18, returned to Manchester Airport from Madeira at 2.30am on Saturday after a two-week holiday.

But after touching down and waiting to go home after the flight, which was delayed by an hour, they were greeted by an empty baggage carousel.

They have now been told they have to wait between seven to 10 days a week to get back their belongings, including medication.

Mrs Bladen-Kay, 50, who is head teacher of St Andrews CE Primary School in Eccles, said “My husband has four different kinds of medication in our luggage, some of it liquid and above the limit for hand luggage.

“We don’t know what to do, TUI advised us to go to the doctors…on a Saturday.

“It is hard enough to see a GP, 111 is always busy and if they have it in the pharmacy, it is still going to cost us over £10 per prescription.

“Why is it so difficult, our bags are just there, on the other side of passport control.

“Three flights landed at the same time and all TUI passengers filled out of the plane to get our bags.

“We were greeted by an enormous pile of letters which were passed around, explaining that because they didn’t have staff at this end in Manchester, they are holding onto our luggage.

“We had to do an online luggage recognition form that said it would be sent to us in seven to 10 days.”

After returning home and making a visit to TUI in Bolton, Mrs Bladen-Kay said she was told that cargo firm Swissport was to blame for the problem as well as Covid.

She said she was then told she had only been insured for outboud luggage. 

Mrs Bladen-Kay said: “The TUI staff member checked our insurance and it turns out, the insurance we bought with the holiday, with TUI, would only cover outbound luggage or if it was stolen.

“My son can’t go to work now unless he goes out and buys a pair of brand new shoes because his others are still in Manchester Airport.”

The frustrating experience comes as Manchester Airport ranked in third place on the list of worst airports for lost luggage.

She said: “Its so hot this week and we aren’t rich enough to have a summer and a winter wardrobe, all my summer clothes are there, with my son’s work shoes and all my husband’s medication.

"The lady from TUI told us we should have put important things in our hand luggage.

“My son can't put work shoes in there on the off chance they won’t give us our bags back, and my husband can't put his medication in his hand luggage because it is over the limit.

“If it was two or three days I would be able to understand it but seven to ten is ridiculous and we don’t know what to do.”

In response, a TUI spokesperson said: "We fully understand customers’ frustration travelling on TOM2537 from Madeira to Manchester who have experienced a delay in receiving their luggage, due to staffing issues at Manchester Airport. 

"We are working closely with baggage handlers to help resolve the issue as quickly as possible and affected customers will receive their luggage in the coming days.

"Due to staffing issues with the ground handling providers at Manchester airport, baggage handlers were unable to offload all baggage from the aircraft 

"All customers on the flight were sent a message addressing the issue and asked to provide their details so their luggage can be returned to them as soon as possible. 

"Customers should check with their travel insurance provider to see whether they can make a claim.

"If customers wish to make a claim through TUI, this can be completed online at the website www.tui.airlineluggageclaims.com.

"Customers need to make a claim in writing within 21 days of the date their baggage was delivered."

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