Family ‘disgusted’ after disabled passenger was removed from flight


A family have been left feeling “disgusted” after they say a wheelchair user in their group was removed from a flight.

Danielle Snowball, 27, her brother Gary Scholes, 40, and other members of their family were travelling to Mallorca, when they experienced issues with the special assistance they had booked for Mr Scholes, who uses a wheelchair.

The family says they had booked the special assistance weeks before along with their Ryanair flights, and that Mr Scholes has never had any issues with airport travel before.

However, when the family arrived at the departure gate at Manchester Airport on 20 August, they say Mr Scholes was told by Ryanair staff they didn’t have an aisle seat for him on the plane, and that they airline would be “unboarding” him from the flight.

The family alleges that the flight’s captain then told those already onboard that the flight was delayed because a passenger had arrived late to the gate, which they say is untrue.

The family later found out Mr Scholes was unable to board because the wheelchair assistance arrived after the gate had closed, his sister told Manchester Evening News.

She says the family had to pay an additional £850 to book Mr Scholes and his fiancé on the next available.

Speaking to MEN, Ms Snowball said: “When we booked, you can log that they require special assistance. We booked this weeks ago so they will have had lots of notice.

“We got to the boarding queue and Gary and his fiancé were waiting at the desk. When we got on the flight they hadn’t been let on yet. Then we got a call and he said that he was being unboarded from the flight.

“They said they didn’t have an aisle chair for him. This is unacceptable anyway because we alerted them that he was in a wheelchair.

“But he was just being ignored. Nobody gave him a proper explanation. It was like nobody cared. Him and his fiancé were really upset.”

She continued: “The captain made an announcement saying he was having to take all of the bags off to find my brother’s bag because a passenger had arrived at the gate late.

“All of the passengers saw my brother waiting and they knew this was a lie. It was very uncomfortable that we were put in this position.”

Ms Snowball says she was “appalled” by the whole experience and claims the group received “no help from Ryanair or Manchester Airport staff”.

The family are demanding an apology from Ryanair and Manchester Airport, as well as explanation as to why Mr Scholes was removed from the flight.

A spokesperson from Ryanair said: “Special assistance at Manchester Airport is provided by ABM – not by Ryanair.

“We sincerely regret the inconvenience caused to this passenger by ABM, who failed to provide the mobility equipment required by this passenger which resulted in him missing his flight, and who then wrongly failed to re-accommodate him on another flight.”

However, Manchester Airport said that while its special assistance provider ABM did arrive at the gate in time to assist Mr Scholes, the team had been waiting for an ambulift, a piece of equipment which would have been delivered by ground services company Swissport.

The Independent understands that the wait for an ambulift was shorter than 10 minutes, during which time Ryanair staff made the decision to leave.

The Independent has contacted Manchester Airports Group for comment.

Published by anthonyhayble

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