A disabled passenger’s dream holiday to Disney World with his daughter was ruined after he was left onboard the aircraft for more than two hours after landing.
Quamer Khaliq, his 11-year-old daughter and his carer were abandoned following the Thomas Cook flight’s arrival at Manchester airport, reports the Manchester Evening News.
The experience left him feeling “distressed and humiliated”.
The 44-year-old wheelchair user from Ashton-under-Lyne had booked the £6,000 trip to Orlando, Florida via specialist operator DisabledHolidays.com, which had requested special assistance for him.
However, no assistance arrived after touchdown. Members of cabin crew and the pilot attempted to contact the correct team to no avail.
The plane was then boarded by trainee flight attendants for training.
“I got distressed and started shouting and then the manager who was training the people came over and I asked her what was going on,” Mr Khaliq told the newspaper. “She said she was going to make a call.”
Special assistance eventually arrived, only to leave again for another half an hour.
When they returned, they told Mr Khaliq that his wheelchair had been taken with the luggage instead of being left to transport him from the aircraft to the airport.
By this point, the three passengers had been left onboard for around two and a half hours.
“I was in a lot of distress, especially with my daughter who didn’t leave my side,” said Mr Khaliq.
“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.”
An ABM Aviation spokesperson told The Independent the company aims to provide a “seamless service” to all passengers.
“We are concerned to hear of Quamer Khaliq’s complaint, received 13 June 2019, about his special assistance experience at Manchester Airport,” they added.
“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 they were “disappointed” that the airport’s usual standard of service had not been met and confirmed the incident is being investigated: “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 learnt.”