A Ryanair and France’s Bordeaux Airport are blaming each other after a flight to Scotland was forced to turn back on the runway after discovering a wheelchair-bound passenger had been left behind.
According to the airline, which described the incident as “unacceptable”, Sky News reported this Friday that the airport did not provide “necessary special assistance” to passengers and that staff were “misinformed” that all passengers had boarded.
In response, the airport said the passenger and her companion were in the departure lounge “under the responsibility of the airline which decided to leave without taking into account its own customers”.
Flight FR 6700 was scheduled to depart from Bordeaux, France to Edinburgh, Scotland at 10pm (local time) on Tuesday. As the plane began to circle the runway to prepare for takeoff, the error was discovered. At that, the pilot turned back and picked up the oblivious passenger and his companion.
Ryanair said it was working with the airport to ensure “this never happens again”. “Despite Ryanair paying for this service, it is unacceptable that Bordeaux Airport did not provide this passenger with the special assistance he needed to board this flight from Bordeaux to Edinburgh,” the airline said in a statement.
“Not only did they not board this passenger, but they falsely informed the crew of this flight that all passengers had boarded, when in fact this passenger did not,” he added.
According to Ryanair, “Customers who require special assistance are being turned away by Bordeaux Airport is appalling”. “We are working with them to ensure this does not happen again,” he stressed.
Bordeaux Airport called Ryanair’s statement “false and defamatory”. According to the company, the passenger requested wheelchair assistance from the airline while purchasing the ticket, and an agent of the company mandated by the airport was appointed to facilitate mobility until boarding the flight.
“It should be noted that throughout this time, the passenger was under the responsibility of the airline that arranged his transport. At the start of boarding the flight to Edinburgh, all passengers were escorted to the aircraft by the Ryanair service provider. The passenger was in a wheelchair and his girlfriend was in the departure lounge at this time, Ryanair staff knew and were under their responsibility. Under”, they highlighted in a statement.
According to the airport, “When the support attendant took over to escort the passenger and his companion onto the plane with them, they realized Ryanair crews had closed the doors and the plane was moving”.
However, the company acknowledged that “agents accompanying passengers from the boarding gate to the flight should have arrived at the gate earlier”, adding that “all necessary measures will be taken to limit the customer’s waiting time”.
“It is very regrettable that the airline took the liberty of describing a situation without talking to us in advance, and the airport itself is to blame for its failure,” the note concluded.
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