Monday 26 September 2016

Elderly woman 'confined to a wheelchair' for hours after being 'dumped' by airport staff

Meadhbh McGrath

Published 12/07/2016 | 19:32

British airline easyJet has launched an investigation after an elderly woman was allegedly abandoned in a wheelchair at Edinburgh Airport. Photo: Facebook
British airline easyJet has launched an investigation after an elderly woman was allegedly abandoned in a wheelchair at Edinburgh Airport. Photo: Facebook
An easyJet flight. Photo: PA Wire/Press Association Images

British airline easyJet has launched an investigation after an elderly woman was allegedly abandoned in a wheelchair at Edinburgh Airport.

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The incident reportedly took place on Sunday night as the woman was planning to take a flight to join her family on a summer holiday.

A fellow passenger took to Facebook to describe how she had found the woman alone at the wrong departure gate.

“A vulnerable woman confined to a wheelchair 'dumped' by your staff at Gate 1A in Edinburgh at 6.45pm tonight for a flight departing at 9.55pm! Not a soul anywhere in this area until I arrived at the gate at 9pm,” the concerned passenger wrote on easyJet’s Facebook page.

On finding the woman, she saw she was “visibly upset” and recalled her saying: “Thank goodness someone else is here.”

She claimed that a member of staff was “extremely rude” to the elderly woman and told them that the gate for their flight had been changed, but didn’t offer to assist her.

“I wheeled her to the new gate and sat her right next to check in. I was further disappointed when staff there too blatantly ignored her holding up her passport.

“I asked if she could board and they said no because someone had to come for her. She was jostled as the crowds surrounded her on boarding.

An easyJet flight. Photo: PA Wire/Press Association Images
An easyJet flight. Photo: PA Wire/Press Association Images

“Out of nowhere then came five other wheelchair-bound passengers, all with families and each had a member of staff pushing them,” she said.

When she asked the check-in staff why the elderly woman had been treated differently, she said they refused to answer.

The passenger described the incident as “outrageous”.

A spokesperson for EasyJet noted that special assistance at the airport is provided by OmniServ who are contracted by Edinburgh airport, and the elderly woman was in OmniServ’s care at the time of the incident.

“easyJet is very concerned to see this picture and is urgently taking this up with Edinburgh Airport and their special assistance provider Omni-serv,” the spokesperson said.

“This is clearly not the customer service and care we expect to be provided to our passengers. As such we have immediately launched an investigation with Omni-serv to establish what happened and ensure it cannot happen again.”

A representative from OmniServ told Independent.ie: “We are grateful that this has been brought to our attention. We are taking this matter seriously and investigating to find out exactly what happened here."

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