A DISABLED dad broke down in tears after being left on a plane for two hours after it landed because his special assistance never arrived.
Quamer Khaliq, 44, who has been dependent on a wheelchair since birth, was forced to remain in his seat after the flight from Florida touched down at Manchester Airport.
Quamer Khaliq, 44, was left on a plane for two hours after it landed[/caption]
The dad says he suffered ‘distress and humiliation’ after he was made to stay in his seat for two hours[/caption]
He had already spent nine hours in the air on the Thomas Cook flight which was taking him home from a dream £6,000 trip to Disney World in Orlando with his daughter, 11.
But the dad says he suffered “distress and humiliation” after he was made to stay in his seat along with his carer and daughter while everyone else on board left.
Mr Khaliq, who has spinal muscular atrophy, told the M.E.N: “After a couple of hours I got distressed and started shouting.
“There was a moment when I was actually crying. My daughter saw me crying. I wanted this to be special for her.
“This was one of her dreams, to go to Disney World. It spoiled it a little bit.”
The drama only came to an end after newly recruited cabin crew came aboard for training.
Mr Khaliq, from Ashton-under-Lyne, outside Manchester, threatened to dial 999 to get the fire service to rescue him.
The new recruits’ tutor raised the alarm but it took another 30 minutes for a wheelchair to be brought to the plane.
“They went to get some equipment but didn’t return for about half-an-hour.
“When they did come back they said they’d had a problem with my wheelchair which had gone with the luggage rather being kept at the gate. I said ‘just get me off the plane.’
“Then they lifted me out and got me off the plane. They used a smaller wheelchair.”
The fiasco meant that Mr Khaliq had spent almost 13 hours in his seat – he had boarded the aircraft in Florida 90 minutes before the rest of the passengers.
He said: “I was in a lot of distress, especially with my daughter who didn’t leave my side. She stayed there with me the whole time. I was more worried about her. She’s only 11.
“I was concerned that the cabin crew had left me because I believe they are not supposed to leave passengers on board.”
The dad had booked the trip through DisabledHolidays.com and the company says it booked “special assistance” for him at Manchester Airport.
ABM Aviation, which was only awarded the contract in April, has apologised and promised to investigate.
A spokesman said: “ABM Aviation endeavours to work closely with airports, airlines and other service providers to ensure a seamless service to all passengers.
“We are concerned to hear of Quamer Khaliq’s complaint, received 13th June 2019, about his special assistance experience at Manchester Airport.
“Please be assured that we take all passengers feedback very seriously and are actively reviewing the situation to ensure a smoother process for the future.
“In the meantime, ABM Aviation sends their sincere apologies and assurance that we are deeply committed to service excellence for all passengers we serve.”
A Thomas Cook Airlines spokeswoman said: “Mr. Khaliq’s experience was clearly unacceptable.
“On arrival into Manchester, our crew made multiple attempts to connect with Manchester Airport’s special assistance providers, and a member of the Thomas Cook Airlines team stayed with Mr. Khaliq until he was met at the aircraft.
“We have asked Manchester Airport to look into what went wrong with its provider to ensure that this does not happen again.”
A Manchester Airport spokesman said: “We are committed to ensuring all our customers enjoy a positive experience when travelling through Manchester Airport, and are therefore disappointed to hear the standards we expect of our partners do not appear to have been met on this occasion.
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“We have raised this matter as a priority with ABM Aviation, our special assistance provider, and will work with all parties concerned to understand what happened here, and will ensure any lessons are learned.
“As an airport, we have invested heavily in the services we provide to passengers requiring special assistance over the past 12 months.
“We changed special assistance provider at Manchester at the start of this financial year and heavily invested in resource and new equipment.”