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Challenging a poor flying experience if you are disabled

26 March 2018

BBC’s Frank Gardner was left on board a plane at Heathrow Airport, for 100 minutes, because his wheelchair had been misplaced by ground staff.

John Holland-Kaye, CEO of Heathrow Airport, when interviewed on the Stephen Nolan programme,  stated that disabled passengers would not receive compensation if they are left on planes longer than 20 minutes after the last ‘able bodied’ passenger leaves the plane.

Disability Rights UK Deputy CEO Sue Bott was also interviewed on the same programme (see 39.50 minutes and  51.30 minutes). There were also phoned in comments from disabled people.

Sue gave examples of some of her own bad flying experiences. Once, when coming back from Norway, she had her guide dog checked but by the time this had been done the arranged  ‘assistance’ had gone away. The pilot of the plane ended up assisting her. 

On another occasion the person detailed to assist her said ‘come this way’ and walked off so quickly she couldn’t see where he had gone!

Sue also said that claiming about poor treatment, when you are disabled, can be complex. Her advice is that the best way to resolve this issue is to contact our Equality Advisory Support Service Helpline  or the Civil Aviation Authority

Stephen Nolan