A desperate Ryanair passenger in a wheelchair felt forced to crawl off of a flight in a “bum shuffle” down plane steps after an “unacceptable” delay in assistance.
Adrian Keogh, 37, told Sky News he wants airports and airlines to do more for people with disabilities after his ordeal at an airport in Sweden.
Mr Keogh, from Wicklow in the Republic of Ireland, said he had booked and paid extra for priority to ensure he got the support he needed.
“When I booked it with Ryanair the assistance was free, but I booked priority just to be extra cautious for kind of my own security,” he said.
However, when he arrived at Landvetter Airport near Gothenburg, Mr Keogh was informed it would be at least one hour before they could get assistance to help him disembark the plane.
Mr Keogh said as he desperately needed the toilet he had no choice but to exit the plane.
He said: “When we landed, the rest of the passengers disembarked from the plane but me and my brother stayed back, for him to give me a hand to get off the plane.
“While we were waiting for a steward to come to get us off, she came and told us that it would be a minimum of one hour before the lift will come to take me off the plane.
“And so, I decided to crawl off to get to the toilet.”
Mr Keogh said he started to “bum shuffle” down the steps.
“My brother wanted to lift me down but I decided not to because it’s too unsafe.
“I got to the end of the steps of the plane and transferred onto the wheelchair,” he told Sky News.
Mr Keogh also shared his experience on social media.
In an Instagram post on Saturday, Mr Keogh shared images of how he had to make his way down the metal steps in a seated position.
The post said: “Please excuse the bad picture but this is a photo of myself having to crawl off a Ryanair flight which landed in Landvetter Airport tonight at 11pm.
“I am as some may know a full-time wheelchair user and paid extra for special assistance to be lifted off the plane down to my wheelchair.
“It’s unacceptable to expect me to crawl down the steep metal steps but on arrival I was informed that it would be at least one hour before they would have the lift available to help me off the plane so what option had I but to crawl off the plane.”
The post continued: “The Landvetter authorities blamed Ryanair and Ryanair blamed Landvetter.
“They especially didn’t want us taking the picture.
“I am not looking for anything only the service I paid for and to be able to travel with dignity.
“I ask you to share this as much as you can to highlight the struggle wheelchair-bound people have to deal with.”
A spokesperson from Ryanair told Sky News that special assistance at the airport is managed by a third party and not the airline.
It added: “We regret that Landvetter Airport failed to provide Special Assistance to this passenger upon arrival at Landvetter on 29 Apr and we are working with Landvetter Airport to ensure this does not recur.”
Landvetter Airport commented on Mr Keogh’s post apologising for the delay in assistance and said delays occurred due to another medical emergency.
The airport said: “Dear Sir, we are sorry for your experience. Due to some delays last night, there were more planes landing around the same time as your flight.
“With several booked assistants requirements, including yours, and a medical emergency simultaneously, caused a pushed [sic] forward. Your assistance service was not forgotten but delayed.”
Mr Keogh said he wanted wheelchair users to not be afraid to speak up and said that if you do have a disability to make sure to ask questions.
“I would like airlines and airports to communicate better,” he said.
He added: “All I ask for is people with disabilities, if they have any issues, ring the airlines, ring the airports to iron them out before travel. It’s all about preparation when you’re in a wheelchair.”
Sky News has contacted Landvetter Airport for comment.