Family needing wheelchairs left waiting on plane for 1½ hours at Jersey Airport

Rory Steel said they were waiting for an hour a half for ground crew to bring a wheelchair to help his family get off the plane. Picture: Rory Steel. (35789033)

A FAMILY was left stranded on a plane at Jersey Airport for 1½ hours as they waited for wheelchair assistance on Monday night, in a ‘really poor end to a lovely holiday’.

Rory Steel was returning from a holiday with his wife and children, Ava (13) and Corban (8), who both use wheelchairs.

The flight from Heathrow to Jersey departed half an hour late and landed in Jersey at 8.48pm with a 20-minute delay.

Mr Steel said passengers got up, ready to leave, but were not able to disembark as the ground were dealing with another flight.

He said the incident ‘was a really poor end to a lovely holiday’, adding that his family did not travel often because of the logistics involved.

Claire Steel and Rory Steel with their children L>R Corban Steel and Ava Steel. Picture: ROB CURRIE. (35789017)

Mr Steel said: ‘The last part of that journey put a damp squib on it. It was really disappointing.’

Though the BA crew on the night was very apologetic, he said he had not heard anything from the Airport or Ports of Jersey.

Mr Steel, who is used to travelling with his children and using airports’ special-assistance services, said that he had not experienced these problems elsewhere.

‘We’ve just come back from Majorca, where they have got 14 people in yellow shirts helping you through the airport.

‘It’s just that last leg that’s an issue. It just seems that accessibility isn’t given the priority [in Jersey].

‘We travel to lots of different places and people bend over backwards, and we don’t seem to get the same here.’

A spokesperson for Swissport said: ‘We are sincerely sorry for the delay experienced by passengers. A number of flights arriving at the same time, and poor weather, exacerbated some resource challenges, but we are working with our airline partners and the Airport to continuously improve turnaround times.’

Matt Thomas, chief executive of Ports of Jersey, said: ‘We sincerely apologise to those passengers arriving at Jersey Airport who did not experience acceptable service levels.

‘We are deeply disappointed by feedback that we have received and both we and our airline partners are committed to delivering the highest levels of service.

‘We have launched an investigation to understand what happened, and the matter has been escalated to Swissport, who deliver ground handling on behalf of our airlines. However, as a matter of urgency, we are reviewing the contingency and resilience plans of our key business partners as we ramp up volumes for the summer season.’

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