A BBC journalist has accused Heathrow Airport of having a ‘casual disregard for disabled people’ after staff lost his wheelchair and left him stuck on his plane.
Frank Gardner claims he was left stranded for ‘100 minutes’ before he could get off his flight from Ethiopia on Saturday morning.
The security correspondent says staff delivered his wheelchair to the terminal building instead of the plane door, leaving him ‘stuck on an empty plane’.
Mr Gardner, who has been in a wheelchair since he was shot six times by militants in Saudi Arabia in 2004, took to Twitter to slam the airport.
Disabled BBC journalist Frank Gardner (pictured) claims he was left stranded for ‘100 minutes’ before he could get off his plane from Ethiopia on Saturday morning
He wrote: ‘I am so utterly sick of Heathrow Airport ground staff ‘losing’ my wheelchair.
‘Over 70 mins after landing back from Ethiopia I’m still stuck on an empty plane while they try to find it.
‘Just when is UK’s premier airport going to stop treating disabled passengers this way?’
A social media spokesman for the airline replied: ‘Hi Frank, we are really sorry to hear that. Are you able to DM us with further information?’
But Mr Gardner replied: ‘Apology not accepted. You do this nearly every time. You ‘create a case number’ then it happens again the next time.
‘This casual disregard for disabled passengers is a disgrace to British airports.’
The furious exchange ended with Mr Gardner telling his 80,000 followers: ‘Finally off after 100 minutes,’ before saying ‘I’ve had better treatment in Dijbouti’.
A Heathrow spokesman said: ‘We apologise unreservedly if the service Mr Gardner received today fell short of the experience we aim to provide to our passengers.
‘We are working with the responsible airline to investigate what went wrong in this case.’
The security correspondent says Heathrow (pictured) staff delivered his wheelchair to the terminal building instead of the plane door, leaving him ‘stuck on an empty plane’
The spokesman told MailOnline airlines are the ones responsible for transporting wheelchairs. Ethiopan Airlines is yet to comment on the incident.
Speaking about the incident on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, he said: ‘There are hundreds, possibly thousands of others who have this experience and all we get is these platitudes from Heathrow Airport, calling me by my first name and saying they have created a case number for you.
‘Nothing changes, it goes on and on happening and it is just so frustrating.’
‘If you can’t walk and your wheelchair has been taken away to the terminal, that is your legs gone, that is your mobility gone.
‘It is a basic human right so I am pretty seething about it.’
Dozens of his followers rushed to share their disgust at the incident, saying financial penalties should be imposed.