A plane that was already taxiing to the runway for take-off has made a U-turn and returned to the departure gate to ensure a passenger in a wheelchair made it onto the flight.
The incident took place at Bordeaux Airport in southwest France last Tuesday (19 September) and has seen conflicting accusations of blame bandied around between the airline and the airport.
Someone left behind
Ryanair flight FR6700 was due to depart at 10pm and had already left the gate to head to the runway for take-off to Edinburgh when airline staff were informed someone had been left behind.
The airline released a statement blaming Bordeaux airport staff for the problem. It said: “It is unacceptable that Bordeaux Airport failed to provide this passenger with the special assistance required to board this flight from Bordeaux to Edinburgh despite Ryanair paying for this service.”
It is abysmal that Ryanair customers requiring special assistance are being let down by Bordeaux Airport and we are working with them to ensure that this does not recur.Ryanair
“Not only did they fail to board this passenger, but they misinformed the crew on this flight that all passengers had been boarded when in fact this passenger had not, and the aircraft began to taxi on to the runway. Ground staff at Bordeaux Airport realised their error and notified the crew who returned to stand in order to board the passenger,” Ryanair continued.
Under the responsibility of the airline
The airport on the other hand, issued a statement rejecting Ryanair’s understanding of their role. They highlight that on purchasing her ticket the passenger requested wheelchair assistance “from the airline” and was assigned an agent to take her to the boarding gate.
“It should be pointed out that during all this time, the passenger remained under the responsibility of the airline organising her transport. The airport is simply an infrastructure operator,” a spokesperson for the airport said.
Ryanair teams had closed the doors
“When boarding for the flight to Edinburgh began, all passengers were directed towards the aircraft by Ryanair’s service provider. The passenger in the wheelchair and her companion were present in the boarding lounge at this time, visible to Ryanair staff and under their responsibility,” the spokesperson added.
“When the support assistant took charge of the passenger and her companion to escort them to their aircraft, they realised that the Ryanair teams had closed the aircraft doors and the aircraft was moving.”