UK: Disabled woman left in plane for an hour and half at Gatwick Airport

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A disabled woman was left stuck on a plane at Gatwick Airport for more than an hour and a half after no staff came to help her.

Radio producer Victoria Brignell, paralysed from the neck down, returned home from a trip to Malta on Saturday.

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The west London resident told Good Morning Britain: ‘I had a brilliant holiday in Malta, and our plane landed at Gatwick.

‘But shortly after landing, one airline staff came up to me and said they were very sorry, but the airport staff coming to get [me] off the plane would be at least another 50 minutes.

‘And then time passed, and I was told they would be another half an hour on top of that, and in the end, I was stuck for another hour and 35 minutes.’

She stressed the airport’s responsibility to get her off the plane, not the British Airways staff, who she said was ‘brilliant’.

‘It was very frustrating and very demeaning,’ Victoria added.

‘I booked the support two months in advance. It wasn’t like they weren’t expecting me; they knew I was coming.

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An airport spokesperson said: ‘The treatment received at Gatwick Airport was unacceptable, and I would like to apologise to Victoria. This incident has been escalated, and Gatwick and Wilson James, our assistance provider, is investigating how this happened as a matter of urgency.’

A spokesperson for Wilson James, the firm contracted by Gatwick to help disabled passengers, said: ‘We are deeply disappointed to have delivered a poor service on this occasion.

‘While the aviation sector, in particular, is struggling with well-documented pressures, Ms Brignell’s experience is unacceptable and falls far below our values and aims as a service provider; the Wilson James team extends our sincere apologies to her.

‘We will be reaching out to her privately to apologise, and Wilson James and the airport are investigating the incident as a matter of priority.’

Disability charity Scope has urged airlines not to forget its disabled passengers amid the staffing crisis.

 

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