A DAD fighting for compensation after his dream holiday was cancelled by text at the airport has been told his family "doesn't exist".
Steve Hession is desperately trying to claim £1,400 after TUI called off his two-week trip to Greece at the eleventh hour.
The 45-year-old was in line at the gate with his wife Kerrie and their two children when they received an automated message to say their 14 nights on the island of Kos had been axed due to "significant operation disruption".
TUI apologised for the inconvenience and offered a refund and compensation – but the holiday giant keeps saying it has no record of the Hessions and therefore they aren't entitled to any cash.
Steve has had his application rejected four times already and he says he is now at the end of his tether.
The British Gas worker said: "It's been utter mayhem for all of us.
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"What should have been a brilliant family holiday, a time for me and my wife to enjoy our own anniversary and spend time with the kids after a terrible 18 months, simply turned into a nightmare – and this is causing further anxiety.
"I have been playing tennis with TUI as they keep saying we don't exist as we never booked with them, and thus we are not entitled to any money.
"I've applied four times and each time they've said no. It's baffling.
"But they know we exist because they've refunded the holiday."
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Dad-of-two Steve added: "It's not like we're complaining for the sake of complaining, we literally got an email from TUI telling us to apply for compensation.
"It has been so stressful, absolutely horrendous."
The family, from Blackburn, Lancashire, were flying to Kos for Kerrie's brother's wedding, followed by a relaxing two weeks in the sun.
But the £4,000 getaway was plunged into chaos from the moment they set off.
After arriving at Manchester Airport in plenty of time on May 28, they were met with long delays and queues stretching from one terminal to another.
They finally made it to get the gate, but minutes later, they got a text informing them their entire trip had been cancelled.
Passengers around them burst into tears as they faced the prospect of being stranded airside.
Eventually, they were escorted out of the building by armed police – but faced chaotic scenes trying to retrieve their bags.
It's been utter mayhem for all of us.
Luckily the bride and groom managed to fly out to Kos the following day, and Steve secured spots on a new flight in time for the wedding – for an extra £1,800.
TUI issued the Hessions a refund for the holiday, but they are still waiting to have their £350-per-passenger and £200 voucher claims accepted.
A spokesperson confirmed the repeated rejections were due to a "technical error" which has now been resolved.
They said: "We’d like to apologise to those customers who have incorrectly been told they are not eligible for compensation for their cancelled flights.
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"This was due to a technical error on our flight manifest system which has now been resolved.
"We will be contacting the small number of people affected to assist them with their claims."
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