A voiceover artist who has only one leg was abandoned on a plane at Manchester Airport and had to be rescued by the pilot after assistance staff failed to help him off.
David Judd, 54, who uses a prosthetic limb after having his leg amputated, was left stranded on the empty aircraft after flying in from Spain on June 18.
Mr Judd, who needs a wheelchair when he travels, was waiting for around 30 minutes before it became clear no one was coming to help.
Voice actor David, who lives in Wakefield, says he has booked assistance at Manchester Airport many times before without any issues. But he claims problems arose as soon as he arrived at Terminal 2 ahead of his holiday on June 11.
‘We normally go to Leeds Bradford Airport but we wanted an earlier flight,’ the dad-of-three told the Manchester Evening News. ‘I took my prosthetic leg off an hour before the flight and put a compression sock on to stop the swelling. When we got there, we had to wait, which is very unusual as normally you’re assisted immediately.
‘We were there for around 35 to 40 minutes just waiting for someone to come and help us. A staff member turned up and took our suitcases from us and took it to a long queue.
‘When we got to the security area, he left. The guy at security wanted me to walk through the magnetic thing and said, ‘Can’t you just put your leg on?’. He could see I was in a wheelchair. My wife was left to carry all the bags and my leg which is about 8lbs.’
David Judd, 54, was left on the flight when assistance staff did not turn up to help him off jet
Manchester Airport spokesman said they were disappointed to hear of Mr Judd’s ordeal
David says there were more problems when he and his wife Amanda returned from their one-week trip to Almería. After landing at Manchester Airport, the couple were left waiting for assistance that never came – eventually having to be helped by the pilot.
‘The pilot came out and said there were no stewardesses left. Then radioed saying there was a guy still here. The other people who had special assistance – they could walk.
‘I had just come back so I couldn’t really put my leg on so I really did need help. After 25 – 30 minutes, the pilot said he could push me on the ramp.
‘They did get a wheelchair from under the plane, but there was no special assistance whatsoever. This was the pilot – the guy that flies a Boeing 737 and he was pushing me in a wheelchair. I thought, ‘My God, how wrong is this?’
‘He was so embarrassed; you could see it. You could really see it. Then we got the bus back to the car park and I stood up trying to put my suitcases in and the driver put her foot down. I fell back and hit my head and arm on the window.
David is now looking to take legal advice – saying the incidents left him feeling ‘completely insignificant’ and ‘a little bit pathetic’.
David Judd said one security guard had asked him at one point ‘Can’t you just put your leg on?’
‘You could say it made me feel as insignificant as anyone could possibly feel,’ he added. ‘We’re meant to be going away in September for an anniversary but I don’t really want to go. I really don’t want that feeling again.
‘It’s been five weeks and I’ve been angry all that time. But I can’t be angry because this wasn’t my doing – and this wasn’t my fault – but it makes you feel like it’s your fault you have your leg cut off.’
A Manchester Airport spokesman said: ‘We were disappointed to hear of this passenger’s experience when travelling through our airport.
‘Like airports across the UK, Manchester contracts a third-party company to provide assistance, which is booked directly by the passenger with their airline.
‘We take assistance requirements very seriously and, prior to the pandemic, were rated ‘good’ in the Civil Aviation Authority’s most recent Airport Accessibility report.
‘We remain confident that most people with assistance needs travelling through our airport will have a positive experience, but we recognise that this was not the case here. We will continue to work closely with all involved to ensure passengers requiring assistance receive the best service possible, and to understand how a repeat of this case will be avoided.’
An ABM Aviation spokesperson, which provides assistance support at Manchester Airport, said: ‘We understand the importance of the special assistance service we provide to passengers. We always aim to deliver that service with efficiency, respect, and care and regret when passengers experience anything short of these standards.
‘Learning from these moments, we are actively working with our teams, clients and partners to implement efforts to minimise the impact on passengers as we navigate this phase of the pandemic recovery.
‘Special assistance providers are one part of a larger network of airport services that continues to face challenges, including a national labour and resource shortage. In addition, our teams are currently experiencing higher volumes of special assistance requests than our busiest pre-pandemic peak.’
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