Ryanair Told Amputee To Crawl To Plane
A dad who had both legs amputated claims he was told to CRAWL to a plane by staff working for Ryanair.
Matthew Parkes, 38, says he was instructed by gate staff to drag himself down two ramps, a set of stairs, across tarmac and up the steps of the Manchester -bound plane.
When he refused, he says they carried him the full length of the plane on a stretcher chair – in front of hundreds of seated passengers.
Ryanair say Mr Parkes was provided with the correct assistance for a passenger with reduced mobility and said ‘as far as they can tell there is no truth to the claims’.
They said none of the three passengers complained – even though one was Mr Parkes’ four-year-old daughter
But Mr Parkes’ wife Pamela, who works in marketing, said she complained to ground staff and cabin crew on the day and now plans to submit an official formal complaint.
Matthew, who lost both legs and part of a hand last November after suffering deadly sepsis on holiday , told the M.E.N: “Ryanair made me feel humiliated and like I didn’t matter.
“I felt like a second-class citizen and was so embarrassed when this is so fresh and I’m still getting used to people staring at me. Total humiliation.”
Matthew, from Cheadle , is still struggling with pain which means he can’t wear prosthetics.
Despite this, he bravely agreed to go on holiday to Malaga with wife Pamela, 40, and their daughter Sophia, four.
But after a smooth flight out with Monarch and four days away, he claims that on the return journey, a staff member advised he crawl despite having informed Ryanair in advance of his needs and arriving an hour early at the gate.
When he refused and asked to be boarded first on a stretcher seat – as Monarch had done – he says they made him wait for all the other passengers.
He said: “Then they dragged me backwards from the front to the back of the plane, knocking into people. Everyone was staring at me.”
Pamela had also asked that Matthew be given a sandwich early in the flight to aid his medication. But she claims attendants started at the front and served him last.
On arrival at Manchester, Matthew says he waited 30 minutes to be taken off the plane – where a 10-year-old boy in a wheelchair was waiting outside in the rain in a queue of passengers ready to board.
Pamela, 40, who works in marketing, said: “We had such a fantastic holiday. Matthew was terrified, understandably, but enjoyed it.
“On the way out, Monarch were amazing. They boarded him first on a narrow stretcher, there was an air bridge, and they gave him a hot sandwich.
“Then Ryanair treated him like an animal on the way back – he wasn’t recognised as a person, and I had to see my husband be humiliated.
“I’m absolutely disgusted. They need to change their policy for disabled people.”
Flick Harris of Manchester Disabled People’s Access Group said: “Ryanair has a history of discriminating against disabled people.
“It’s really shocking that this should take place after so many years of the equality act and other anti-discrimination law.
“It shows a lack of commitment to anti-discrimination by Ryanair – and also a lack of basic humanity because everyone has a right to dignity.”
She said there was plenty of guidance to help them change their policies and train staff – and that the government needs to enforce anti-discrimination legislation.
A Ryanair spokesman said: “This passenger ordered, and was provided with, PRM (passenger with reduced mobility) assistance at Malaga Airport. This service is provided to all airlines by the airport operator AENA.
“We have received no reports from either the cabin crew or the PRM provider of any issues in assisting this passenger to his seat. As far as we can tell there is no truth to these claims and no complaints were made by this passenger or his two travelling companions to either our cabin crew or the PRM assistance provider.”
Speaking of the airline’s denial Mrs Parkes added: “I’m not surprised they’ve denied it because it’s Ryanair.
“I didn’t expect them to admit it – they expect my four-year-old daughter to put a complaint in!”
We don’t want anything from them, we wouldn’t travel with Ryanair again even if they paid us.
“What we do want is for them to change their disability policies.”