A MUM has branded Flybe “disgusting” after not letting her severely mentally ill son board one of their planes.
Dean Lumsden, who suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and anxiety, was planning on heading to Southampton to watch a Cricket World Cup match with friends after they had bought his plane tickets.
However as they arrived at Newcastle airport on Monday morning, Dean, 26, was told he had actually been put on a standby list and was not going to be allowed onto the flight.
Dean, second from left, with his friends minutes before receiving the bad news
Images taken moments before they were due to board show Dean, from Consett in County Durham, with four friends looking elated about making the trip.
Michelle Watson claims his friends were not made aware at any stage of booking the tickets that Dean was on a standby list.
The 47-year old decided to outline her frustration by taking to Flybe’s Facebook page on Tuesday.
She said: “Absolutely disgusting airline! Absolutely disgraceful set up! My mentally disabled son was promised an experience to go to watch the Bangladesh v Afghan cricket match with a group of friends for his birthday.
“He was so psyched up to go after six weeks of coaxing and encouraging him to go, only to get to boarding gate and be informed he could not board as he was a stand by passenger!”
A photo taken just before the group got to the gate shows Dean, second from left, beaming along with his friends in a special Bangladesh cricket top he bought for the occasion.
An avid cricket fan, Dean had forked out £45 for the t top to match his friends, as well as £55 on tickets to the match and money on accommodation.
Dean had purchased the ticket to celebrate his birthday
Another shows Dean’s boarding card, which was apparently the group’s first and only indication that the ticket was a standby.
The trip had been planned for weeks with Michelle steadily trying to build Dean’s confidence to go.
After being informed he could not board, Dean’s friends were left with the heart wrenching decision of whether to leave him or catch the flight to the match.
Dean insisted they go, but was then left alone at the airport feeling “so let down”.
Social media users have reacted with outrage to Michelle’s post. One woman, Melanie Michaela Reed writes, “Oh my god!! That’s disgusting. Poor Dean. X”
However, other users have questioned whether Michelle should have obtained special assistance for her son.
Akex Taylor says, “Most scheduled airlines overbook flights, nothing new about that. If your son has mental health issues then why didn’t you book special assistance? Maybe someone else would have been selected for stand by.”
But Michelle insists she thought her son would be fine travelling as part of a group and is now calling on the airline to reconsider their standby policy.
She said: “I have never known an airline like this. To me, once you’ve bought a ticket online you have bought a ticket, how can you not be allowed to fly?
“It’s not about the money, I just do not understand the policy. How many more people have to go through it?”
Dean had no idea he had been placed on standby until arriving at the airport
Michelle has since received an apology from the airline on Facebook as well as information regarding compensation for the flight, but she says this is not enough.
Michelle said, “I’m really annoyed as it’s just knocked him right back. He was a mess afterwards. This had taken a lot of planning, 90% of the time Dean feels he won’t be able to do things, but this one time he was able to and the whole lot went down the drain. He doesn’t understand that it’s not him, it’s just policy, but they shouldn’t oversell the tickets.”
An accident at age 18 left Dean with complex mental health issues which often render him unable to leave the house.
He had recently begun helping out at a local Indian restaurant, Trafalgar Cafe, when he struck up a friendship with the men.
He said: “I was supporting Bangladesh as the people who I work for are massive cricket fans and kept me basically from not killing myself by giving me a reason to live”.
Flybe asked Michelle to submit further information so they could look into this “as a matter of urgency.”
A spokeswoman said: “Flybe can confirm that one of its social media agents responded immediately to Michelle Watson with understandable concern over the issues raised in her Facebook post regarding her son’s recent experience.
“In order to fully investigate this matter they requested some basic information so that this could be investigated further however to date have not received this and so are unable to action further.
“We can reassure her that as soon as we receive the booking reference, e-mail address used for booking and the full names of the passengers we will most certainly look into this as a matter of urgency.”