BRITISH Airways have apologised to a passenger with kidney failure after charging him £90 extra for his dialysis equipment – when it should have been transported free.
Amit Sanchadev, who has end stage renal failure, was twice told by BA that he could take the life-saving equipment on board for free.
But when the 41-year-old checked in for a flight from Tenerife to Gatwick last month he was told he had to pay 100 Euros or leave it behind.
Mr Sanchadev, a purchasing co-ordinator from London, claims the airline held him to ransom despite the fact he was carrying a hospital letter proving the equipment was needed to keep him alive.
He took to British Airway’s Facebook page to post a lengthy complaint about the treatment he had suffered.
He told them: “Even though BA say they will refund, it’s a matter of principle and it’s a total disgrace. My dialysis is my lifeline.”
Mr Sanchadev called the airline twice before his holiday and was advised there would be no problem carrying the equipment free if he took his hospital letter.
But he experienced problems on his outward flight on July 6 when BA tried to charge but eventually backed down.
Mr Sanchadev, who paid £600 for return flights for himself and his wife, added: “I went to the airport in Tenerife and waited until my turn to check-in. I provided my hospital letters to the check-in staff and told them I have two medical bags to check-in as per BA rules.
“They looked into my eyes and said, ‘Sorry you are just a hand luggage person, so you need to pay’.
“I did not ask how much at this point as I could see the queue behind me was long and I was feeling like crap.
“I thought to myself, ‘Why have I come on holiday?’ I don’t deserve to be here, that’s how I felt. I felt let down inside hearing this and I am lucky to be alive.”
He continued: “I explained to the check-in agents that I have medical bags which I came with and if I don’t take them I cannot survive.
“They said to me that’s your problem with BA in London not ours. I was gobsmacked.
“I asked if I could speak to the manager or supervisor, they called and spoke in Spanish. I was told I had to pay 100 Euros for the two medical bags or leave them there.
“At this point, my blood pressure was high and I felt I was being held ransom by BA and its partners they use.”
Back in the UK, he was determined to force BA to refund the money and stop the airline treating other passengers in the same way.
He told them: “I want to know what BA will do about this and how the senior directors are going to sort this out, because I have lost trust in British Airways.
“How can I put my life at risk in their hands? I have found many passenger have had the same situations, with them.
“The distress they caused me, it’s hard to explain to anyone, when a person is on dialysis they depend on this to allow them to help them do things otherwise we die.
“My whole trip was ruined by BA , and I know I will never fly with them again because they broke the trust.
“All I got was some stupid call to say sorry and we will let the training team know. I can assure it won’t happen.
“For people, in my shoes, travelling abroad is now a luxury. I may not get to go back to Tenerife, which I enjoy, we take each moment as great experience and memories when go away and come back.”
A spokeswoman for British Airways, said: “We understand how critical medical equipment can be, and have a policy in place which allows customers to travel with their dialysis equipment free of charge and without medical clearance.
“We have apologised to our customer for this misunderstanding and have issued a refund. We will be working with our staff to ensure this doesn’t happen again.”