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‘Not Again!’: BBC Journalist Frank Gardner Left Stuck On Plane At Gatwick

July 4, 2022

The BBC journalist Frank Gardner has expressed outrage at being left on a plane after it landed at Gatwick.

The security correspondent, who uses a wheelchair, was stranded on the aircraft after flying to the West Sussex airport with Iberia Express on Thursday night.

A passenger with restricted mobility died at Gatwick on 15 June. He fell while going up an escalator after leaving an aircraft without a helper.

Gardner has been left on planes at UK airports several times in recent years.

During the latest incident, he posted an image on Twitter from inside the aircraft with no other passengers in sight.

He wrote: “FFS not again! Just back from exhausting week covering Nato summit in Madrid and quelle surprise, I’m still stuck on the plane at Gatwick.

“Iberia crew are gone and a new crew has come onboard.

“Just WHY are UK airports so consistently crap at getting disabled people off planes?”

He added: “It never happens abroad, only in UK.”

Once he was able to leave the aircraft, Gardner wrote: “Off the plane now – only a 20-minute delay which is mild – but ground handlers said ‘nobody told us there was a disabled passenger onboard’.

“Airline, Iberia, insist they did.

“All in all, so tedious and boring!”

A Gatwick spokesperson said: “We apologise for the delay Mr Gardner experienced on this occasion.

“We have been working closely with our assistance provider, Wilson James, to establish the reasons for this.

“At this stage, it appears there was no special assistance booking from the airline for Mr Gardner.

“However, as soon as we were made aware, the team responded and Mr Gardner received assistance within 20 minutes.

“We strive to provide the best possible service to all passengers so will continue to look into this with Wilson James and the airline concerned.

“We apologise again for any delay Mr Gardner experienced returning from the Nato summit in Madrid.”

Gardner was left partially paralysed after al-Qaida gunmen shot him in Saudi Arabia in 2004.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Kate Joseph permalink
    July 4, 2022 12:16 pm

    It’s all about bothering to communicate…and then
    Double check people!! Kind of common sense.

  2. July 8, 2022 10:37 am

    This is happening with too much regularity and how many are occurring which are not being reported as the person in the wheelchair assumes this is the ‘normal’ or usual service.

    But it should not be normal or usual, as persons in wheelchairs should not have to wait for assistance, for it is not as though no one knew the plane was not landing.

    in this instance Gatwick are blaming Iberia, who are then stating they had complied with the requirements, but will anyone get to know who is at fault does anyone really care.`

    It should be law that the person enquiring assistance be disembarked before other passengers, so if there is a delay with the assistance required then all passengers will be delayed. Only then will true equality be achieved, for either the airport or airline would not wish to inconvenience all their passengers, but currently feel it is OK to inconvenience passengers in wheelchairs.

    This is an infringement on human rights and in every incident appropriate actions to compensate should be made.


  1. ‘Not Again!’: BBC Journalist Frank Gardner Left Stuck On Plane At Gatwick | Same Difference | Carer Voice

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