TUI responds after wheelchair-user forced to drag herself up aisle on Newcastle flight

·2-min read
An AlbaStar plane Picture: AP-CALL/CREATIVE COMMONS
An AlbaStar plane Picture: AP-CALL/CREATIVE COMMONS

An airline has launched an investigation after a woman was forced to drag herself up the aisle to the toilet after being left without a wheelchair on her flight to Mallorca.

Hartlepool woman and disability-blogger Jennie Berry publicly took to Instagram to share her shocking treatment on her flight with small Spanish airline AlbaStar.

In the video, Jennie could be seen having to drag herself along the aisle of the plane to make it to the toilet after the airline had no ‘aisle chair’ – a type of wheelchair for airplanes – on board.

Read more: Hartlepool's Jennie Berry posts video of shocking Albastar flight

She also claimed that staff on board the flight from Newcastle Airport to Palma, Mallorca refused to help her to the toilet.

Now TUI, who the flight was booked through, has launched an investigation and says it is taking the matter “very seriously”.

A TUI spokesperson said: “We are really concerned to hear about Ms Berry’s experience on her flight to Palma as we take matters like this very seriously.

“While Ms Berry booked through TUI, the flight was operated by a third party airline. We are therefore investigating this incident as a matter of urgency with them.

“We are already in direct contact with Ms Berry and will continue to provide her any additional support she needs.”

The video prompted a huge reaction on social media earlier this week with many viewers branding it “disgraceful”.

Albastar, which operated the flight on TUI’s behalf, has now apologised for the incident, but said aisle chairs were not a requirement on aircraft.

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The spokesperson said: “AlbaStar would like to express its sincere apologies for the event that recently took place on one of our flights in relation to the flight experience of a passenger with reduced mobility.

“Our main concern is the safety and comfort of all our passengers on each and every flight we operate.

“We are working to investigate the incident to ensure that this isolated incident does not happen again on any of our aircraft.

“Aisle wheelchairs are not mandatory as per current regulation, not even recommended nor mentioned when talking about aircraft equipment/furnishing.

“On this flight, the passengers list received before the flight didn’t show the presence of a “Wheelchair C passenger”, meaning Albastar was never informed of the presence of a disabled passenger.

“In the aircraft, there are no special seats for disabled passengers onboard. Instead, there are seats where disabled passengers cannot seat due to regulations, namely emergency exit/windows seats.”

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