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Disabled passenger stranded on grounded plane for two hours

A disabled man was abandoned on a Jet2 plane for two hours after it had landed at Manchester Airport.

Ray King, 68, had landed in Manchester at 4.45pm on a flight from Dalaman earlier this month.

After landing, he says everyone else disembarked the plane but he and his wife and another couple had to sit waiting for two hours for the pre-booked special assistance to arrive.

Mr King and wife Pauline say that Jet2 staff were “amazing” and tried to help speed things along, but assistance from Manchester Airport-based agency ABM was slow to arrive.

Eventually, the Kings were taken to the terminal by ambulift, where Mr King, a wheelchair user, had to tackle the walk to passport control on foot. The couple had requested a wheelchair in advance but were told none were available.

Mr King told Manchester Evening News : “Despite needing a wheelchair to negotiate the many areas of the airport, I was dumped at a door and told ‘there is the lift’. If it hadn’t been for my wife’s help I would have been helpless.

“Both Jet2.com captains, the one who flew us in and the one who arrived to fly the next passengers out, were amazing and really tried to help. I don’t blame the airline, they tried their utmost.

“When they finally got us they had no wheelchairs after the ride to the terminal so I just had to walk a bit, sit down, then walk again, and suffer with the help of my wife.”

The Jet2 aircraft the couple arrived on had been set to take off again shortly after 6pm, but due to the assistance delay it was then held up until 8pm, with the next set of passengers delayed by two hours.

Mr King said: “We will never fly through Manchester Airport again. It was the complete opposite at Dalaman, they couldn’t help enough.

“We live equal distance to Newcastle and Leeds and we go away three times a year. We’ve always travelled from Manchester but we will not do that again.”

Manchester Airport said that airport services firm ABM Aviation had dealt with the special assistance request in this case, but that a “technical outage” on the day may have contributed to the slow service.

Of the airport staff’s service, Mr King adds: “Even in the terminal there were no lights on and we had to shout to get the passport control guy. Our baggage was just plonked on the floor and my wife had to go hunting for it. No explanation, no staff.”

A Manchester Airport spokesperson said: “We are sorry to hear this passenger had a disappointing experience upon arrival.

“Our whole industry is facing resource challenges at present, following the most damaging two years in its history.

“This includes not only airports and airlines, but also third parties operating on our site, including the special assistance providers who are responsible for supporting passengers such as Mr King with additional requirements.

“We will continue to work with our partners to understand the challenges they’re facing, mitigate these pressures in the interim and deliver the best passenger experience we can.”

Manchester Airport has received criticism in the early half of 2022 for longer than usual queues, slow progress in security lanes and poor management, as some passengers missed flights waiting to get through.

The airport’s former managing director, Karen Smart, resigned in March amid the chaos, while chief executive of Manchester Airports Group, Charlie Cornish, apologised to passengers in April for the “queues and congestion they’ve experienced in recent weeks”.

Xural.com

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