Wheelchair Help (NONE) with RYAN AIR

Hi All,

Promised this a week or two ago but suffering with a chest infection so sorry for lateness. Also apologies for typing before I start.

I will try and condense this as much as possible but I need people to know how bad Ryan Air were.

I have travelled all my life. I have had people with disabilities in my family all my life. So I am well versed in the problems once may have when travelling.

For Christmas I was travelling between Stansted Airport and Limoges. I was on my own and had made all the necessary arrangements myself. I have travelled by plane quite a few times with Ryan Air now. I have PPMS and apart from fatigue I have cognitigve problems and mobility problems. I walk with a stick and use a wheelchair when needed.

When I initially booked my ticket the confirmation email came back to me with the wheelchair assistance. I did not print it out immediately. When i looked again at the email it has changed into an email “in code” . In other words it was impossible to decipher it and I could not check in as I didn’t have a reservation number. I rang RA Customer Services. Spoke with a very nice man from Hungary. Explained my situation and he re-sent the confirmation email immediately. I printed it out immediately and so i had my reservation number. Good job I did. Minutes later when I returned to the email it had reverted to the “in code” form.

When I looked at the email I had printed no mention of the wheelchair assistance. First mistake. I should have rung again but I couldn’t. I had been informed and assured by the guy that it was in the system. Surely an error?

Day of journey. Arrived at Limoges airport. Early. Staff there are normally helpful and friendly. They are employed by Ryan Air, I asked! Checked in my bag. 15 kilos. Also had a smaller bag I was keeping, handbag and a stick. No wheelchair assistance recorded. Explained all above. I was asked did I know Limoges airport? First time there? Very small airport? Did I really need a wheelchair??? ASked to go to another desk to sort it out. Cutting a long story short, 4 journeys between these two desks by me before it was agreed I could have a wheelchair. Come back in half an hour I was told and"take that wheelchair there parked by the check in desk". I returned in half an hour. No I couldn’t have that chair. Again another cople of journeys between the desks before I was given the wheelchair! Now very tired and stressed. I needed the chair!

Normally through check in you can stay seated and they wave the magic stick around you. Not this time. Can you please walk through the security barrier??? No I can’t especially when you have taken my stick from me! Eventually I was pushed through by a disgruntled “pusher”.

Arrive at Stansted airport. Had told Cabin Crew that I needed a wheelchair at Stansted (it is a huge airport as they mostly are these days). Had explained all the above problems so could they please insure there was a wheelchair at the aircraft side (I do not need a high-lift, I can make the steps, albeit slowly.

No wheelchair. What a surprise! A hi-lift is there waiting for another aircraft so I hitched a ride with him!.

Spent Christmas trying to speak with Customer Services again but to no avail.

Day of journey. Arrio

Arrive early at STansted Airport. Checked in there at 0736 for a 0900 departure. I know that because they write it down. I explained (again)all the above. They are superb at Stansted Airpot, the Special Assistance people. (They work for the Airports Authority. I was told it was a busy day but they would accommodate me. I was given the wheelchair at 0736. I was then taken to have my 15k bag checked in. AS it was Christmas my smaller bag was full and weighed 10 k but I had to keep it with me. I had a handbag and my stick.

Gate closes at 0835. About 0810/0815 the Check in lady calls me and says we have a problem! I am then wheeled to the desk. She was very apologetic. She says that her Manager has said that I can’t have the wheelchair or any assistance. As it was not in my booking theycould not help me. She was very sorry and embarrassed I think. She re-iterated it was her Manager who was saying this. She also said I could wait til later on for help but I may miss my plane. There is only one plane a day to Limoges. I was asked to get out of the wheelchair there and then.

I did not have time to think about arguing. I had to get that plane that day. All my assistance at the other end was arranged.

The very nice Polish young man who had been helping me said he would push me to FAst Track as that would help me. He was not supposed to do this and he would probably get in to trouble. That was very kind of him.

He pushed me to Fask Track. I then had to make my way through all of the security. It The Security people were disgusted at the way I had been treated and told me to complain to the Airports Authority.

I then had to walk through all the duty free area. You then get a shuttle bus to the other gate. My plane was parked at the seconde to last gate in the airport. I am told it is almost a mile walk from one end of the terminal to the other. Trying to negoitate the shuttle train with all my luggage… My ten kilo bag did not have wheels on it as it was supposed to be on my knee, so I was having to carry/drag that.

The hsuttle stopped between terminals!! It was now 0845. Ten minutes after the gate has closed. So I was sure that I had missed the one and only plane to Limoges that day so I was trying to think of other ways to get back. By now I was extremely stressed, hot and tired. Neither of those things is good for my thinking and my brain was beginning to shut down.

When we finally got to our terminal, everyone for the Limoges flight was running up the escalator. Not me!!

When I finally emerged at the gate I was the last passenger and they were closing the gate. Thankfully there had ben a delay on the flight and I made it!!!

To say I was humiliated, embarrassed and all the other adjectives you can think of is an understatement. To be told that in front of everybody in the middle of the reception and the to be asked to get out of the wheelchair! Thank God for the lovely young man who helped me.

This whole situation was caused by Ryan Air. I have the original email which looking at this morning, definately states my wheelchair assistance booked. It was then carried on by the Manager at the Airports Authority. He said he did not have enough wheelchairs. Rubbish! I saw lots of wheelchairs just behind the area I was sitting in. Perhaps he meant that they had not employed enough “pushers”.

On reflection. What if I had been unable to walk? Not been able to try and get there myself? What would they have done then? I would certainly have missed my flight.

I have had several flights with RA now where although I have booked the wheelchair it has been given to another person. On one occasion, a few years ago now, I elected to walk through Stansted airport on my own, rather than wait the 45 mins (at least) I was told it would take for a wheelchair to arrive for me. It took me 55 mins to get through the airport and retrieve my own luggage. It ruined y first few days of my holidays as I was in bed recovering.

This time I was in bed for a couple of day after the Stansted fiasco and finally came down with a chest infection which anti biotics and cough medicine have not shifted. I am not saying RA caused this obviously but there actions certainly did not help.

I would be interested in anyone’s thoughts on the above or similiar problems.

I am electing to try and not use RA anymore for travelling. I was treated abominably.

Sorry for it being so long but the story in itself was so long!

Anne x

Anne

That sounds utterly harrowing. Quite the reverse of the treatment I was given last weekend travelling BA from Gatwick to Edinburgh. And every other occasion that I’ve flown since being disabled enough to require assistance.

I assume you will be (copying and pasting the above) writing to Ryan Air to complain. And of course to tell them that not only will you not fly with them again, but have posted your experience on here so many other people with MS will also think twice before flying Ryan Air.

I hope you’ve got over the chest infection now. Nasty things. You could probably blame that on Ryan Air too. Or on air travel generally. Very unhealthy breathing in other peoples recycled germs.

Sue

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Anne

sorry to hear of your troubles but I’m sad to say your not alone, a few years ago I flew with easy jet from Liverpool, the first time was great, chair near check in then fast tracked through security taken to steps of plane, I could then manage them slowly. On my return I was collected at the plane, again fast tracked through security t baggage reclaim then taken to my car door in the car park. Excellent service. On my second flight I had to ask for a chair even though it was booked, after a long wait a chair arrived I then queued through security taken to a doorway then I suspect because it was raining told I had to walk to the plane which happened to be parked as far away as possible. Not sure how I made it. On my return I was again collected, got my heavy bags I was carrying a taken to the airport entrance where I was told it was now policy not to assist me outside the building. It must have looked very amusing watching me struggle kicking my suitcase to the car whilst walking with crutches. Don’t think I’ve flown since!

Anne, it’s a disgrace.

I hope you’ve sent copies to Ryanair and every available forum in the travel industry.

It takes courage and strength beyond the bounds of the ordinary for us to show the initiative to get off our rear ends and travel.

It certainly doesn’t help when those that promise do not deliver. And it’s their job.

Best wishes, Steve. x

Hiya Anne

Oh how awful this must have been for you! It’s bad enough just coping with MS but never mind such a dreadful experience!

l’d love to go on holiday but as my MS has worsened I daren’t book a flight as if I couldn’t get assistance I’d be stuck!

I used to travel a lot but I don’t anymore.

xxxx

Sorry Anne but it’s a case of you get what you pay for. RA and Easy Jet can offer cheap tickets because they pay peanuts so employ monkeys.

BA is getting that way; probably jealous at the profit RA get.

All right they probably don’t fly to Limoges but Virgin are the best followed closely by BA. They only are interested if a customer can walk; has little baggage and does not want catering; even a drink.

I would definitely complain to Stanstead Airport, Assisted Travel Home | London Stansted Airport Omniserv who deal with disabled passengers I know are a bunch of idiots, complain through the MS Society.

George

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They talk a good fight but obviously did not for you Home | AccessAble

G

I travelled to New York with ba and a lady next to me had a stick. The ba lady asked the lady next to me if she wanted a wheel chair and priority boarding the lady was very sure she didn’t want a chair or priority boarding. The ba lady explained that the walk to the plane was a long way, and insisted on getting a chair. The lady with the stick agreed to walk to the plane before everyone else and board. When she’d gone a guy turned up with the wheel chair and the ba lady explained it wasn’t needed now, so he took it away. So with them you clearly don’t need to book assistance there customer service skills just recognise you may need it. I’d definitely book with ba again…I hope ra acknowledge your complaint and do something. Cat xx

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sounds rotten, I hope you do complain

Sonia x

That’s so awful… i’m sorry that ive been a while replying. ive not been on a plane since being disabled but i was talking to Lee about maybe one day…but after reading this i don’t think i could and then theres the difficulties with takng Frazer, it is possible but i would have to get the right advice and then i couldnt begin to walk anywhere so what do they do? I imagine a massive hoist like a bungee jump rope with me and Frazer dangling from it! scary eh

Michelle and Frazer xx

Hi Michelle. I’m surprised to read the opening complaint. It must have been a worry.

I have used the Airport Assistance many, many times since my diagnosis. (Both Ryanair and Aerlingus). It is provided by the Airport and not the actual airline. They only pass the request that was requested by the person who booked the flight ticket. My local airport here is only small and there is never a problem. Where I fly to, Las Palmas, is big and it was a bit daunting the first time. Not knowing what the procedure was and the language barrier with the assistants didn’t help. They couldn’t understand me when I was asking them where we were being taken next etc.

I have found them to be very helpful, friendly and efficient. A wonderful service that I couldn’t manage without. There assistants wheel my chair to the gate, then hubby and me (and whoever else is lined up) are rolled onto a tailgate and up into a carrier/truck(! don’t know what to call it) and then that is driven to the plane. It is again lifted to the level of the steps and you are taken in through a door, just behind the cockpit. If you are unable to manage any steps, there is a narrow chair for them to transfer you to your seat. Now we know the routine, it’s never a worry.

I have some mobility so only need the lift up to enter the plane. I can shuffle to my seat okay. I don’t know what happens with assistance dogs though. They must travel all the time too. Maybe make enquiries? I can just see Frazer with his shades on! :slight_smile:

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