‘FFS not again!’ Disabled BBC journalist Frank Gardner is left stranded on empty plane at Gatwick for the FIFTH time as he slams UK airports for their ‘consistently cr*p’ treatment of wheelchair users
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A disabled BBC journalist was left stranded on an empty plane at Gatwick last night as he slammed UK airports for their ‘consistently cr*p’ treatment of wheelchair users.
Security correspondent Frank Gardner was forced to wait on the aircraft from Madrid while passengers and Iberia Express airline crew disembarked the plane without offering him assistance.
He slammed Gatwick Airport for the ‘c**p’ service while he was forced to sit in his seat as new crew members got on board and started preparing for the next flight.
This is the fifth time he says this has happened to him since he began using a wheelchair in 2004 – after being shot six times by militants while reporting in Saudi Arabia.
Security correspondent Frank Gardner was forced to wait on the aircraft from Madrid while passengers and airline crew disembarked the plane without offering him assistance
The veteran journalist slammed the airport last night for the ‘cr*p’ treatment as he was left on the empty flight without any wheelchair assistance
Wheelchair user Mr Gardner said: ‘FFS not again! Just back from exhausting week covering NATO summit in Madrid and quelle surprise, I’m still stuck on the plane at Gatwick.
‘Iberia crew are gone and a new crew has come onboard. Just WHY are UK airports so consistently cr*p at getting disabled people off planes?’
Responding to concerned friends online, the journalist said that the issue only ever happens in the UK – with foreign airports never leaving him on aircrafts without assistance.
He added that his producer stayed with him but the airline crew cleared off the plane.
A Gatwick spokeswoman said: ‘We apologise for the delay Mr Gardner experienced on this occasion.
‘We have been working closely with our assistance provider, Wilson James, to establish the reasons for this.
'In questa fase, it appears there was no special assistance booking from the airline for Mr Gardner.
'Però, as soon as we were made aware, the team responded and Mr Gardner received assistance within 20 minuti.
‘We strive to provide the best possible service to all passengers so will continue to look into this with Wilson James and the airline concerned.
‘We apologise again for any delay Mr Gardner experienced returning from the Nato summit in Madrid.’
This comes after a passenger with restricted mobility died at Gatwick on June 15.
He fell while going up an escalator after leaving an aircraft without a helper.
A similar incident happened to Mr Gardner just two months ago when he was flying from Estonia to London’s Heathrow Airport.
At the time he shunned the airport for making disabled passengers ‘the lowest priority.’
Scrisse: ‘It’s happened again. Stuck on an empty plane at Heathrow airport long after everyone else is off — ‘no staff to get my wheelchair off the plane’.
‘I am SO disappointed with @HeathrowAirport as disabled passengers are once again apparently the lowest priority.’
Nel 2018, Mr Gardner said he had been left on planes twice in six months – with Heathrow pledging to investigate after apologising.
Al tempo, he said Heathrow had a ‘casual disregard for disabled people’ after staff lost his wheelchair and left him stuck on his plane.
He said he was left stranded for ‘100 minutes’ before he could get off his flight from Ethiopia on March 24, 2018.
Mr Garden was the BBC Middle East Correspondent at the time of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and covered the aftermath – including the beginning of the War on Terror for the Corporation
Nel 2004, Mr Gardner and his cameraman Simon Cumbers were working in Saudi Arabia, finishing a piece for television
Staff delivered Mr Gardner wheelchair to the terminal building instead of the plane door, leaving him stuck.
Heathrow apologised at the time. He was also left on an easyJet flight at Gatwick in 2017. The airline and airport both pledged to investigate.
Nel 2004, Mr Gardner and his cameraman Simon Cumbers were working in Saudi Arabia, finishing a piece for television.
They were shot six times at close range by a group of Al Qaeda sympathisers and Cumbers was killed while Gardner was left for dead.
His legs have minimal sensation from the knees down, while above the knee he can feel them but can ‘barely move them’.
Despite his injuries, Mr Gardner returned to work and was awarded an OBE for services to journalism in 2005.
He continued to cover stories in danger zones around the world, including Afghanistan and Colombia.
Mr Garden was the BBC Middle East Correspondent at the time of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and covered the aftermath – including the beginning of the War on Terror for the Corporation.
Adel Al-Dhubaiti, the man who murdered his colleague, was later caught and sentenced to death, and executed in Saudi Arabia in January 2016.