BBC journalist has criticised the treatment of disabled passengers by Heathrow airport after they “lost” his wheelchair.
Frank Gardner was left stranded on a plane for nearly two hours after landing at Heathrow on Saturday morning as it transpired his wheelchair was wrongly labelled and taken to the terminal rather than brought to the plane. It took 100 minutes to locate his wheelchair and a frustrated Gardner tweeted throughout the ordeal:
I am so utterly sick of @HeathrowAirport ground staff 'losing' my wheelchair. Over 70 mins after landing back from Ethiopia I'm still stuck on an empty plane while they try to find it Just when is UK's premier airport going to stop treating disabled passengers this way? pic.twitter.com/f84wXCgXKB
— Frank Gardner (@FrankRGardner) March 24, 2018
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “There are hundreds, possibly thousands of others who have this experience and all we get is these platitudes from Heathrow Airport, calling me by my first name and saying they have created a case number for you.
“Nothing changes, it goes on and on happening and it is just so frustrating.”
Following the media attention this received over the weekend, Gardner was invited in by the CEO of Heathrow airport to discuss the problems that disabled passengers experience and tweeted much more positively following the discussions:
Just spent (hopefully) 1 of most constructive hrs of my life! @HeathrowAirport CEO took notes as we went thru disabled passengers' probs at airports. We covered hi-lift failing to turn up, wchairs getting taken off into terminal + more thoughtful attitudes needed twds disabled.
— Frank Gardner (@FrankRGardner) March 25, 2018
Let’s hope these ideas are taken forward and acted on to ensure disabled travellers are not subjected to unnecessary delays and problems in the future.