A 33-year-old passenger with a severe physical disability claims to have been abandoned for more than two hours on an aircraft at Manchester Airport, UK. The man was only rescued after his caretaker managed to call the police, who helped them get through border control.
Daryl Tavernor and his caregiver arrived from travel on a Ryanair flight from Rome on Thursday, May 26. After all passengers and crew disembarked, the two remained on the plane for two hours awaiting the company’s support. After finally being removed from the aircraft at 4:40 am, they faced another hour of waiting to go through immigration, which was already closed at that time.
According to the British newspaper The Guardian , Tavernor, who has spinal muscular atrophy, said he felt held hostage and called for a review of airport services for wheelchair users. He also said he was “physically injured and emotionally drained”.
Tavernor also noted that the long delays experienced by thousands of passengers at UK airports due to staff shortages are an even more serious occurrence for wheelchair users. On Twitter, he posted images of the empty airport as he looked for help:
Arrived at MCR Airport with no special assistance to help get me off the plane for 2 hrs, then no Border Force agents to allow me entry for another hour, we had to call the Manchester Police to get them to T3! @TheSun @guardiannews @MENnewsdesk pic.twitter.com/KS35YEi9mx
— Daryl Tavernor (@DarylTavernor) May 26, 2022
Manchester Airport told the newspaper it was “sorry to hear that Tavernor had a disappointing experience” but did not offer an apology or response to a detailed complaint. The British terminal outsources its special assistance service to a company called ABM which has also expressed regret but no apology. Ryanair did not comment to the newspaper.
The rapid recovery of air demand in Europe is blamed for poor passenger service.
A Manchester airport spokesperson told The Guardian: “We and others in our industry, including airlines, baggage handlers and assistance providers, are facing staff shortages at the moment due to the rapid pace at which travel has recovered. of the pandemic. We are working tirelessly to resolve this as quickly as possible.”
An ABM spokesperson said it was looking into Tavenor’s experience and added: “We are currently facing greater volumes of passengers requiring special assistance than our busiest pre-pandemic peak, while the entire industry continues to face resource challenges.” .