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A disabled mum watched as a Ryanair flight departed from Newcastle Airport without her

A disabled mum watched as a Ryanair flight departed from Newcastle Airport without her
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A disabled mother’s first visit to see her son after he moved to Spain was put on hold after she was unable to board a Ryanair flight from Newcastle Airport despite arriving at her gate early .

Retired couple Margaret and John Harrop were due to fly to Alicante on Ryanair flight FR4080 at 11am on September 28 to see their son Keith for the first time since he and his partner Lynne moved to the Costa Blanca in July 2020 . However, their plans when their flight departed while they were still waiting to be boarded.

Margaret and John were among seven people who watched the plane taxi onto the runway and exit without them from a special vehicle just meters away. And the couple also claim they saw their luggage being removed from the plane before takeoff.

Continue reading: Geordie mum lashes out at Ryanair over claims passengers flying to Gran Canaria have been ‘dumped’ in Lanzarote

Having arrived at the airport well ahead of their 11am flight, the couple from Kenton arrived at the airport at 8.20am, deposited their bags and went through security with no problems. They went to Special Assistance and were told to be at Gate 19 by 10am, saying they had arrived 20 minutes earlier.

They were then taken to board the plane and waited on a special auxiliary lift “10 or 20 meters” from the plane. Despite this, they were unable to board – which Ryanair blamed on the special assistance provider’s failure to “fulfill their responsibilities to these passengers, which resulted in them missing their flight”.

John said: “We have one of these shuttle elevators that will lift you up and put you on the plane if you are disabled and we could see people getting on the other side of the plane. We couldn’t see their faces but then we started to see a bag or two being taken off and Margaret said to me, ‘This is our bag.’ I said it can’t be.

“We stood there for about 25 minutes and then suddenly the plane started moving and Margaret said the plane was moving and I said of course it’s not that we’re not in yet! But it was like that.”

“The guy in charge of the shuttle mumbled and said there was a problem, but that’s all he would say.”

Margaret and John were then taken back to the terminal, where they had to wait “an hour, maybe longer” while airport staff “had a meeting”.

After an apology, the seven passengers left behind were promised seats on the Jet2.com flight at 6am the next morning, which had eight seats vacant. John and Margaret were also offered the option of staying at a hotel at the airport, which the other five guests chose, or taking a taxi to go home and return for the flight the following morning.

Margaret, 76, said: “It was a bit of a nightmare, we don’t really know whose fault it was because we never found out. We still don’t know the whole story.

“I knew my son and his partner were waiting for us over there, it’s been a while since we’ve seen them so it was very disappointing to have to return with the terrible weather especially on Wednesday afternoon. It was so so annoying and we were disappointed not only because we didn’t arrive on Wednesday but because nobody informed us about anything.

“All my medication was in the case and I didn’t know if it was on the plane or not – I have it now but nobody told us anything. We were there too much time, everyone was. We were just sitting in the departures lounge until they picked us up – it wasn’t our fault as we were already there.

“It just shouldn’t have happened if it had been the other way around and I could have just walked up the stairs had I been on vacation.”

Margaret’s son Keith said: “Luckily they haven’t booked a hotel, they’re just staying with us. So they don’t lose money, but it was annoying for them.

“I was really annoyed by the way they were treated. My mother has poor leg mobility, high blood pressure and a few medical conditions, stress is the last thing she needs.”



Keith Harrop and his partner Lynne Narey
Keith Harrop and his partner Lynne Narey

The couple are now in Spain enjoying quality time with Keith and Lynne on a 16 day trip instead of the 17 originally planned.

A Newcastle Airport spokesman said: “Following investigation we can confirm that seven passengers who were assisted in their journey by the airport were unable to travel. The passengers arrived at the plane before the scheduled departure time, but were not allowed to board the plane.

“Newcastle Airport has assisted all affected customers by ensuring they departed on the next available flight.”

A Ryanair spokesman said: “Special assistance at Newcastle Airport is provided by a third party – not Ryanair. We are disappointed that the third party supplier at Newcastle Airport failed to meet their responsibilities to these passengers, resulting in them missing their flight.”

Ryanair declined to answer the Chronicle’s inquiries as to why the plane did not wait for the occupants of the special assistance vehicle and why Mr and Mrs Harrop’s luggage was removed from the plane.

Have you had nightmare trips? Let us know in the comments!

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