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Heather's complaint against Omniserv

Heather McQueen


Special Assistance - You got it so wrong

Complaint against Omniserv

Hi guys. Not been around this week. Here's the letter I've just sent to Edinburgh Airport and Omniserv Ltd. It explains all! Special Assistance; You got it so wrong On Tuesday 12th July, I was booked on a flight to Birmingham on BE850 at 15.05. I had pre-booked special assistance and confirmed that I needed a wheelchair to the gate and that I was unable to climb steps to the aircraft. I arrived at 13.25pm at the reserved seating area and checked in with staff at the desk. Firstly, the member of staff asked me if passenger McQueen could climb the steps. I was a little confused being referred to in the third party. She asked again, asking if my mother could climb the stairs. I told her the assistance was for me and that I couldn’t climb steps. She looked at me and said ‘What? Not at all?’ Finally it was confirmed I required a ‘Sierra’ and was given the time 14.05 but I had to be back here 20mins before that time. I went to the M&S shop next door to get a drink and snack ( I gave the receipt to the flybe steward at the gate later on as proof of time) I was back sitting in the reserved seating area at 13.40. Nobody picked me up at 14.05. I went back to the desk at 14.20 and was told there was plenty of time. At 14.35 when my flight was boarding I asked again but everyone was dealing with a gentleman who had missed his flight and had been brought back ( – in case you’re cross referencing complaints) The woman in charge shrugged her shoulders at me and said she’d tried phoning. Finally at 14.45 I was picked up by a gentleman (he was one of the few things you got right) He went as fast as possible to get me through security and to the gate. We arrived at the gate at 15.00. The flybe steward asked me what time I checked in. I told him 13.30! He went to speak to a supervisor then came back to tell me I had been booked onto BE852 at 17.15 and gave me a £7.50 refreshment voucher. I asked to speak to an Omni Serve representative. It was decided I was to be taken back down to the reserved seating. When I got there it was then decided I was to go back through security and return to gate 19. On my return to gate 19 we met The managing director. He was very apologetic and said he would investigate the matter and personally oversee any journey I made from Edinburgh again. I was left at gate 19 with my wheelchair and hand luggage and told someone would return for me when the plane was to board. Unfortunately, flight BE852 was delayed due to a technical fault so after almost boarding the plane I was again returned to gate 19. After 45mins Flybe announced that refreshment vouchers were available from gate 16 – I had no way of getting there. Bear in mind, I’ve now been at the airport since 13.30 and it’s now 18.15. My flight finally departed at 18.45. I was due to fly home again on Wednesday 13th July BE857 at 20.40. There were problems with special assistance at Birmingham airport and I will take that up with them and OCS as I was pressured into climbing ‘a few steps’ rather than get the lift to the aircraft. Unfortunately the flight was delayed and I did not arrive in Edinburgh until 22.30. My main points 1. Your staff have no right to make assumptions of disability based on appearance, please send me your policy document that they should adhere to. 2. Your wheelchairs are immensely uncomfortable – especially when left in them for hours. 3. The checking in process was a complete shambles. 4. If you have filled in forms for the airline, detailing your requirements, why do you have to justify your need again? 5. Being ‘dumped’ at a gate, on your own leaves you feeling vulnerable with very little dignity intact. 6. Who’s responsible for ensuring your special assistance passengers are treated equally when it comes to things like delayed flights and refreshment vouchers. I wish to receive a copy of your policy document on this matter. The impact I have multiple sclerosis. This was my first time travelling alone. Some of my symptoms include fatigue and pain. Both of these have been exacerbated beyond belief. I feel unable to travel alone again for fear of this happening again. I have never felt the need for having a carer with me before but my self-esteem and confidence are in tatters. I was in extreme pain the following day so found it hard to function at the event I was attending. This trip had been organised so that my travel time was minimal and I could enjoy and participate in the event I was to attend. Due to the incompetence of Omni Serve I could do neither and now on Saturday 16th July I am still recovering and have spent the last 48 hours bedridden. Living with a condition like MS is hard enough and I really don’t think you have any comprehension how events like those you put me through have such a negative impact on my illness. I am so angry that despite all the planning and preparation put into this trip to ensure minimal impact on my MS I am still suffering and have no idea how long I will continue to pay with my health due to no fault of my own. ‘Sorry’ just isn’t enough. I am thoroughly disgusted at the way I was treated from start to finish. Thank goodness for the flight crew on flight BE857 who helped me on-board and wiped my tears. I NEVER want to be put in a situation where I am reliant on your staff to get me from A to B ever again. If you are unable to deliver this service in a way in which passengers with special needs are treated with dignity and equality then you should not say that you can.

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