Travel Trouble

Mon, 3 Sep, 2018Over60

81-year-old grandmother and disabled son kicked off two flights

81-year-old grandmother and disabled son kicked off two flights

An 81-year-old grandmother was left “humiliated” after two mishaps with Ryanair’s handling of her disabled son.  

Kathleen Dunne was first asked to disembark a Ryanair flight or leave her disabled son’s wheelchair behind on Tuesday. But after she rebooked a flight for the following day at a different airport, Kathleen was once again asked to get off the aircraft after staff struggled to fold her son’s wheelchair.

Kathleen, from Merseyside, UK, is a carer for her son Gary, 53, who has severe mobility problems and is deaf as a result of measles as a baby.

Although the pair missed the first flight on Tuesday, they were eventually allowed to fly from Manchester Airport on Wednesday, after staff figured out how to fold the wheelchair.

But Kathleen said she was 'mortified' after the pilot made an announcement blaming “the lady with the wheelchair” for the flight delay.

“It was horrible. I was shaking, and it was so hard to explain what was going on to Gary because he can't hear,” she told Liverpool Echo.

“We have been flying with them for years and there has never been any problem. I didn't feel like going on holiday after that.”

Kathleen said she was asked to leave the plane and led under the aircraft and over to the hold.

She said: “There was a nice man who said one way or the other I will get this wheelchair on the plane. But the pilot said over the intercom ‘sorry for the delay it is not our problem, it is the problem of the lady with the wheelchair.’

“People were saying I can't believe he said that. I am still upset about it now.”

Kathleen concedes she did not have the manual for the chair nor did she know how to fold it herself, but says she never had problems before.

A spokeswoman for Ryanair said wheelchair services at both airports are provided by outside companies “at great expense to the airlines.”

A spokeswoman for OmniServ, which provides special assistance services at Liverpool Airport, said: “On behalf of the entire Liverpool John Lennon Airport team, we apologise for the inconveniences Kathleen Dunne and her son experienced.”

The company said: “Various members of the team worked tirelessly with Ms Dunne to ascertain if the wheelchair could be collapsed to meet the requirements.