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Gatwick apologise after disabled woman is stranded on plane

Victoria Brignell stuck on a plane
Victoria Brignell stuck on a plane Image credit: twitter

Gatwick Airport has issued an apology after a disabled passenger was left stranded on a plane for more than an hour and a half.

Victoria Brignell, who is quadriplegic, claims she was told it would take fifty minutes to safely remove her from the aircraft.

Mrs Brignell said: “I booked the help three months in advance, it wasn't as if I just turned up, they knew I was coming, and I reminded them two weeks ago, and still I didn't get the service that I should expect to have."

She praised British Airways staff, who were “fantastic”, and offered her complimentary drinks whilst she waited for the airport staff to arrive.

Brignell said: "I can't use my arms or legs. To get off a plane I need two people to lift me from the aeroplane seat into an aisle chair, which is a specially-designed narrow wheelchair to push me along the aisle off the plane, and lift me into my wheelchair waiting outside.

"My wheelchair arrived promptly, but the people who were supposed to help me get off the plane didn't turn up - they were busy elsewhere."

The delay also held up passengers waiting to board the plane for its next flight.

Gatwick later apologised for the incident and will launch an investigation, but Brignell intends to make a formal complaint against the airport.

She said: "I just feel in 2022 people shouldn't be stuck on a plane for that long.

"UK airports need to get their act together and plan their staffing appropriately."

A Gatwick airport spokesperson said: “The treatment received at Gatwick airport was unacceptable and I would like to offer our sincere apologies to Victoria. This incident has been escalated and Gatwick and Wilson James, our assistance provider, are investigating how this happened as a matter of urgency.”

A spokesperson at Wilson James said: “We are deeply disappointed to have delivered a poor service on this occasion. While the aviation sector in particular is struggling with well-documented pressures, Ms Brignell’s experience is unacceptable and falls far below our values and aims as a service provider; the Wilson James team extends our sincere apologies to her.

“We will be reaching out to her privately to offer our apologies, and Wilson James and the airport are investigating the incident as a matter of priority.”

Brignell’s friend Sonia Sodha tweeted a photo of Victoria stranded on the plane.