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Disabled passenger denied assistance because she “didn’t look disabled”

AlexAlex Posts: 1,325 Scope community team
edited January 2018 in Disability news
A terrible example of bad attitudes and ignorance towards hidden impairments on the Independent today:

A disabled passenger has branded Stansted Airport staff “disgusting” after she was denied assistance because she “didn’t look disabled”.

Nathalie Allport-Grantham, 23, was flying to Nice with Ryanair on 31 December when a member of staff refused her the assistance she had confirmed ahead of her flight.

She had requested the use of a wheelchair to help her to the gate, as well as assistance carrying her hand luggage onboard the aircraft.

But while she was assigned a wheelchair at check-in, she says it was later taken away from her by airport staff who then told her that she was “wasting their time” by asking for help.


  • NystagmiteNystagmite Member Posts: 609 Pioneering
    Disgusting. Are they not given training on invisible disabilities?
  • MatildaMatilda Member Posts: 2,616 Disability Gamechanger
    This is all too common an occurrence, even amongst those who ought to know better.  Some years ago, it's true (but I wonder if things have changed) at a Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development reception no chairs were provided for attendees who might have difficulty standing.  And a certain central London teaching hospital now insists that you can only have a blood test in the hospital  building itself if you have seen a doctor there on that particular day.  Otherwise, you are supposed to go to a walk-in centre some distance away which is less accessible in more ways than one.  Apparently, no patients at that hospital can possibly be disabled!

    And there is no sign of attitudes changing any time soon.  Most people, even those who ought to understand these things, think that you can only be disabled if you are in a wheelchair.
  • JazzguitarJazzguitar Member Posts: 180 Courageous
    That's appalling. Complain to to your MP. And your local councillor. And to the air port
  • TopkittenTopkitten Member Posts: 1,263 Pioneering
    @Jazzguitar , complaining to the airport is pointless. All of the companies using it provide assistance on their own responsibility and it is nothing to do with the airport. They will not censure a company that provides them a regular income to support an odd case here and there.

    As for the use of cheap flight companies like Ryanair.... use them at your own risk. They are not in a position financially to provide a good service to minority groups and still provide a cheap service for the majority. It may feel good to save money but just don't expect too much special treatment, they are not geared towards it. This logic applies everywhere, for example, the cheap supermarket companies may give you cheaper food but generally provide no assistance for the disabled (electric trolleys, wider aisles, etc.). This is my main reason for never using them and sticking to Tesco and Sainsbury's. It may cost a little more but at least they do try to help and cater for minorities.

    People are so busy now trying to save money they have forgotten the old saying "You get what you pay for".

    I recently stayed a few nights in a hotel and picked a special offer which saved me quite a lot, reducing the nightly cost from over £80 down to around £50 a night. However, the comments I include got garbled though fortunately one word did stand out which was "mobility". Consequently I got a phone call which changed a difficult situation into a better one. The offer was to fill the lesser used smoking rooms which are all on the top floor (2 floor motel) but they did not have a lift. Had they not called I could have arrived and had no room available would have been in a very difficult situation, luckily they did still have a downstairs room available when they called.

    "I'm on the wrong side of heaven and the righteous side of hell" - from Wrong side of heaven by Five Finger Death Punch.
  • Neil2017Neil2017 Member Posts: 158 Courageous
    Yes it’s disgusting. I also saw a report on the BBC tv programme on the number of hotels in the U.K. who don’t know the rights of guide dogs and assistance dogs being allowed access to hotels. Makes me wonder is it also difficult for wheelchair users
  • thespicemanthespiceman Member Posts: 6,408 Disability Gamechanger
    Hello every body.  Read the story it really saddens me that this happens but from what I see on the web  the media it is occurring more and more.  I recall many times organising holidays for a disabled charity I used to volunteer for.  Even then the access to give people in our community was limited.  So much of the time I was spending trying find suitable, accessible accommodation.  Forget abroad no chance.  It has not changed.  One of the people I knew in the charity.  Went to Spain set up a hotel.  Thought all us disabled come out for a holiday.  Guess what could not do it.  That was about twenty years plus imagine that now.  Total chaos.  When are these companies going to be regulated and stop this.  I think about how it would be if it was the other way.  My perfect world every one is disabled and a few have that are not.  Have to get used to everything suited to a disabled world.  My utopia.  Would there be hell on?  
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  • NystagmiteNystagmite Member Posts: 609 Pioneering
    I've never been denied assistance but it's been patchy sometimes:
    I can walk perfectly fine; but am always offered a wheelchair. This is despite the fact that when you request assistance with Flybe, they ask what help you need. I just need someone to take me through security and on to the plane, off the plane and help to reach my destination.

    I once had it where I was just left at security and didn't have a clue where to go. Luckily, I'd been at the airport before and luckily, it was small enough that I could just about find my way around.
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