A disabled Ryanair passenger was faced with a ‘nightmare’ when the plane she was supposed to be travelling on took off while she was still on the tarmac.
Retired couple Margaret and John Harrop were supposed to fly out to Alicante, Spain, to see their son Keith for the first time since he and his partner Lynne Narey moved out there in July 2020.
John recalled: "We got one of these shuttle lifts that raises you up and puts you in the plane if you're disabled, and we could see people getting onto the other side of the plane. We couldn't see their faces, but then we started to see one or two bags being taken off and Margaret said to me, 'that's our bag'. I said, it can't be.
"We were standing there for about 25 minutes and then all of a sudden, the plane started to move and Margaret said that plane's moving, and I said of course it wasn't we're not on it yet! But it was."
"The bloke in charge of the shuttle was mumbling and he said there's been an issue, but he wouldn't say anymore."
Margaret and John, who were two of seven passengers left behind, were taken back to the terminal and made to wait for ‘an hour, maybe more’.
The group were all offered places on a Jet2 flight at 6.00am the next day and were given the option of staying at a hotel at the airport – as five of the guests did – or a taxi home before returning the next day.
Margaret, 76, said: "It was a bit of a nightmare, we don't really know whose fault it was because we never got to know. We still don't know the full story.”
She said the situation was ‘very disappointing’, as it had been a while since she had seen her son and his partner – who were waiting for them in Spain.
“It was so, so annoying and we were disappointed not only because we didn't get there on Wednesday, but because nobody informed us about anything,” Margaret continued.
"All my medication was in the case and I didn't know whether it was on the plane or not – I've got it now, but nobody told us anything. We were there in loads of time, everybody was. We were just sitting in the departure lounge until they came for us – it wasn't any of our faults because we were already there.
"It just shouldn't have happened, if it'd been the other way and I had been able to just been able to walk up the stairs, I would have been on my holidays."
Son Keith said that ‘luckily’ Margaret and John were supposed to be staying with him, so hadn’t lost any money from hotel bookings.
However, he said it was ‘upsetting’ for them, adding: "I was really annoyed just by the way they were treated. My mam has bad mobility with her legs, high blood pressure and a few medical conditions, stress is the last thing she needs."
A spokesperson from Newcastle Airport said: "Following investigation, we can confirm that seven passengers that were assisted with their journey through the airport were unable to travel. The passengers arrived at the aircraft in advance of the scheduled departure time but were not permitted to board the aircraft.
"Newcastle Airport assisted all customers affected by ensuring they departed on the next available flight."
A spokesperson from Ryanair told LADbible: "Special assistance at Newcastle Airport is provided by a third party – not by Ryanair.
"We are disappointed that the third party provider at Newcastle Airport failed to fulfil their responsibility to these passengers prior to this flight closing causing them to miss their flight."
LADbible has reached out to Newcastle Airport for further comment.
Featured Image Credit: Keith Harrop/Stimmungsbilder1 / Alamy Stock Photo