A PONTYPOOL family has slammed a travel operator for not catering to their needs, leading to a “terrible experience” on their holiday of a lifetime to Florida.

The Mason family flew to the States to visit Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando in May last year, booking with Thomson – now Tui.

But son Leon, 15, who is quadriplegic, epileptic and has lung condition, became ill while abroad, resulting in the family missing their initial return flight.

Once he was deemed fit to fly, their next flight from Orlando to Bristol was forced to turn around mid-air, making an emergency landing, as crew and passengers became unwell.

And, in the terminal, Leon was unable to sit in his wheelchair, with only a pillow to support his head.

The family have since received £1,500 after seeking legal advice due to their unhappiness with the service.

But dad David, 65, has criticised the company the family booked the holiday with for not taking an interest in his their situation.

“They just didn’t want to know – when we were in America and back home,” he said.

“I called them after we made it back to the UK to say we had been delayed for 24 hours.

“They just said it was an act of God.

“It was a terrible experience. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for my son. He’ll never be able to go again.”

After returning to Torfaen, the family instructed the legal firm Bott & Co, who helped the family receive the money as a settlement for their experience.

“That is just the cost of the flights,” said Mr Mason.

“That does not cover the level of discomfort and dismay that we have experienced.”

Coby Benson, a flight delay solicitor and legal expert at Bott & Co, said: “The Mason family underwent a horrific ordeal whilst on holiday, only then to face further turmoil on their flight home.

“Under EU Regulations the airline was obliged to provide food, drink and overnight accommodation to all the passengers involved, and pay particular attention to any passengers with reduced mobility. The airline flouted these rules, forcing the family to sleep in awful conditions at the airport and fend for themselves.

“In addition to the obligatory care and assistance, the airline should also have provided each family member with compensation of €600 for the long delay they experienced. .”

A Tui UK spokeswoman said: “We are unable to comment on any specific cases. However, we can confirm that in this instance there was an administrative error, and the situation with Mr Mason has been resolved and payment raised.”