Victoria Brignell, who is paralyzed from the neck down, waited for over 90 minutes at Gatwick Airport to be assisted off her flight.
A 45-year-old disabled woman was left stranded in an aircraft for 95 minutes after airport staff failed to come and assist her off the flight in time. Victoria Brignell, who is paralyzed from the neck down, waited for over an hour at Gatwick airport, near London, on her British Airways flight from Malta on June 4. "When I landed at Gatwick, the crew told me that it would take 50 minutes for staff to come to get off the plane. Later, I was then told it would be another half an hour on top. The airline staff were wonderful. They kept asking me if I was okay, they were offering me drinks, and they wouldn't stop apologizing even though it wasn't their fault," Brignell told Insider.
Disabled woman Victoria Brignell was left on a plane for over 90 minutes after it landed. "I booked the help three months in advance, I reminded them two weeks ago, and still I didn't get the service that I should expect to have." https://t.co/6awpPFV0zm— Melanie Rimmer MSc SFHEA MBPsS (@Melanie_Rimmer) June 6, 2022
Finally, it was the British Airways crew who helped her off the plane after they too got tired of waiting. Brignell was stuck in an uncomfortable position, propped up by cushions to support her body for the "frustrating" 95 minutes she had to wait. Brignell knew she would have to wait for a bit but 95 minutes seemed inexcusable. She explained that she needs to be lifted from her plane seat into an aisle chair which is a specialist wheelchair used to move wheelchair users to the door of the plane and then transferred into their wheelchairs.
Victoria shouldn't have been left on the plane for that long. That is disgusting. Where are disability rights these days? Doesn't the #EqualityAct count anymore? #disability #transport #equality #VictoriaBrignell pic.twitter.com/UA1BLFgqhF— Ciara Lawrence (@ciarale01) June 7, 2022
"As I was moving away from the plane, I saw all these poor passengers waiting at the departure gate who were waiting for their flight for an hour and a half because I was stuck on the plane. If you improve services for disabled people, you improve them for everybody, and you can see that here by the next flight being delayed by an hour and a half," she explained. Brignell's friend, Kevin Bonavia added that "leaving disabled passengers stranded is shameful. I was shocked when the pilot first told us that Victoria would have to wait at least 50 minutes for assistance. The excuse given of staff shortages was unacceptable, and backup plans should have been in place."
‘I didn’t get the service I expected…’— BBC Breakfast (@BBCBreakfast) June 7, 2022
Victoria Brignell was stuck on a plane for 90 minutes as no staff turned up to push her wheelchair. Gatwick Airport has apologised.https://t.co/EnfHOdmYEP pic.twitter.com/D864kU8EWp
Brignell is hoping her case will result in changes to the airline industry to support disabled passengers. "In the long term, we need to look towards having airplanes redesigned, so we can travel in our wheelchairs. That will avoid me needing staff to come and help me off the plane, it will make the journey much more comfortable for me, and thirdly it will avoid the risk of my wheelchair going missing or being broken. I can travel in my wheelchair on a bus, on a train, and in a taxi. In this day and age, I should be able to fly in my wheelchair, too," she shared.
'Very frustrating, it's demeaning.'— Good Morning Britain (@GMB) June 7, 2022
Wheelchair user Victoria Brignell was left stranded on an aeroplane at Gatwick for an hour and 35 minutes after flying back from her holiday. The Gatwick assistance staff never showed up and in the end the airline crew helped to carry her. pic.twitter.com/fhlpEuA707
Representational Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Carlo Prearo | EyeEm