Disabled woman “left in tears” after Easyjet refuse to let her stay with husband

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EASYJET have apologised after a severely disabled woman claims she was refused to stay with her carer.

Bridget Willard, 48, claims she was left feeling “humiliated” and “in tears” after a flight attendant wouldn’t allow husband, Michael to assist her off the plane, despite not having her walking frame.

Mrs Willard also claims the flight assistant “rolled her eyes” when she pleaded that her husband stays by her side.

Bridget, Michael, and mother-in-law had been travelling to London, Gatwick, on an EasyJet flight from Dalaman, Turkey, which departed on September 27.

Suffering from numerous conditions, including PTSD, agoraphobia, and fibromyalgia, a condition which causes pain all over the body, Mrs Willard said the incident caused her “tremendous stress” after already having to endure a four hour flight.

When they arrived at London Gatwick, all able-bodied passengers were first disembarked.

Mrs Willard was then led to the front of the plane as part of EasyJet’s special assistance service, where disabled passengers are given assistance leaving the plane.

Bridget at London Gatwick with her frame

There Mrs Willard claims she was questioned by a female flight attendant who said there was not enough room on the ambulift shuttle to disembark her husband as well and that he would have to go ahead to the baggage carousel.

After Mrs Willard explained that she needed to be with her carer, she claims the flight attendant rolled her eyes and asked to know the reasons why.

Mrs Willard refused, uncomfortable with explaining her numerous disabilities and conditions, some of which are extremely personal, to the stewardess and in front of other passengers.

She claims that after insistence from her husband that she not be left alone, she was allowed to disembark in the ambulift with her elderly mother-in-law but that this was insufficient for her “complex needs”.

By the time she found her carer Mr Willard at the baggage claim, Mrs Willard said she was an “emotional wreck”.

She said the stress of the incident caused her to lose her personal belongings, as her carer would usually help with memory and organisation.

Mrs Willard initially filed a customer complaint seeking compensation, on October 1.

She received a response from EasyJet on October 4 by email, which said: “I am really sorry to hear the experience you have on our flight.

“I can only imagine how stressful it must have been for you.”

The email then goes on to detail how Mrs Willard could continue to make her claim at which point EasyJet would notify Mrs Willard of her eligibility of compensation.

Speaking today about the ordeal, Mrs Willard said: “I felt agitated, anxious, humiliated and angry that the flight attendant wanted to know why I needed my carer/husband.

EasyJet’s “special assistance” outlined on their website.

“I don’t think she had any right to question me and my needs, especially in the manner that she did it.

“I know I look able-bodied and I know I look too young for a frame or a carer but not all disabilities are visible.

“I face this type of discrimination all the time and sometimes I despair that these things still happen in 2018.”

A spokesman for EasyJet commented: ““We are sorry that Mrs Willard was dissatisfied with her experience disembarking the aircraft after her flight.

“We are aware that she was travelling with two companions and unfortunately there was only room in the ambulift for her and one companion.

“We are in contact with Mrs Willard about her experience and are investigating with the special assistance provider for Gatwick Airport, Wilson James, and the cabin crew to see if any lessons can be learned.”

 
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