TC957
Topic Author
Posts: 3508
Joined: Wed May 23, 2012 1:12 pm

LHR gets bad publicity over disabled pax handling.

Mon Mar 26, 2018 10:45 am

Frank Gardner, well-known wheelchair user and BBC reporter, says LHR is the worst of the worst he's experienced for handling his wheelchair travels.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-43536502

From my experience travelling with my 90yo mum LGW-LPA-LGW over New Year time, we had no issues and it all went smoothly.
So come on LHR, this clearly isn't good enough and get your act together. I'd say even your response of " not waiting more than 20 mins " isn't good enough. Heck, the flight manifest clearly shows if passengers needing such assistance are on each flight, so act on it !
 
User avatar
alberchico
Posts: 3184
Joined: Fri Sep 24, 2004 5:52 am

Re: LHR gets bad publicity over disabled pax handling.

Mon Mar 26, 2018 11:26 am

To be fair Heathrow is a massive airport so these kinds of things are going to happen from time to time.
short summary of every jewish holiday: they tried to kill us ,we won , lets eat !
 
User avatar
readytotaxi
Posts: 6635
Joined: Mon Dec 11, 2006 2:09 am

Re: LHR gets bad publicity over disabled pax handling.

Mon Mar 26, 2018 12:10 pm

Because the percentage of passengers needing wheelchair assistance is quite low verses able body passengers I feel that that is how Heathrow address the issue, shameful. The more adverse publicity the better.
you don't get a second chance to make a first impression!
Growing older, but not up.
 
TC957
Topic Author
Posts: 3508
Joined: Wed May 23, 2012 1:12 pm

Re: LHR gets bad publicity over disabled pax handling.

Mon Mar 26, 2018 12:25 pm

Exactly ! Especially as this occurred at T2 - he arrive from Ethiopia so I assume on ET.
They can spend bundles on fancy chandaliers over the bar area ( £600K I was told !! ) but really, proper disabled pax handling is seemingly beyond them. Very shameful !
 
mjoelnir
Posts: 8499
Joined: Sun Feb 03, 2013 11:06 pm

Re: LHR gets bad publicity over disabled pax handling.

Mon Mar 26, 2018 12:26 pm

alberchico wrote:
To be fair Heathrow is a massive airport so these kinds of things are going to happen from time to time.


Why do you give a big airport 'a free out of jail card'? What allows a big airport to get it wrong? A big airport has not only more traffic, but also more resources. It seems that those problems are not one off but common. It must be rather bad, if the new aim is to get disabled people of the airplane inside 20 minutes after the rest of the passengers left. I would call it a system in shambles.
 
User avatar
sturmovik
Posts: 710
Joined: Wed May 16, 2007 12:05 am

Re: LHR gets bad publicity over disabled pax handling.

Mon Mar 26, 2018 1:14 pm

Ableism is everywhere. LHR CEO saying that it is not 'reasonable' that they pay financial damages really gets my goat. Either the airport makes reasonable accommodations for disabled passengers, or it is entirely reasonable to expect the airport to be held to account. And, for the record, 100 minutes is unreasonable.
'What's it doing now?'
 
oldannyboy
Posts: 2376
Joined: Wed Jun 15, 2016 8:28 am

Re: LHR gets bad publicity over disabled pax handling.

Tue Mar 27, 2018 10:07 am

Shameful. There's no other word for it. This is one area where less than perfect is simply not good enough. Leaving less able-bodied behind is simply inexcusable, and "aiming" at disembarking these people "within 20 minutes (after all the others have left!)" is freakin' unbelievable! Shame on them for even thinking this could be a 'goal' in the first place! If anything, these people should be the very FIRST off a plane!
 
StuckinCMHland
Posts: 210
Joined: Sat Mar 07, 2015 10:59 pm

Re: LHR gets bad publicity over disabled pax handling.

Tue Mar 27, 2018 12:08 pm

Just curious, is this a trend, does it happen all the time, or is the event/perception/personal experience he talks about uncommon to most people who have his physical limitations? I hope it is the latter, not the former.
 
andz85
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Aug 18, 2008 9:18 am

Re: LHR gets bad publicity over disabled pax handling.

Tue Mar 27, 2018 1:05 pm

Heathrow has mainly 3rd party companies which deal with disabled passengers.
They were most likely dealing with flights with mainly Indian pax on them as elderly Indians are unable to walk for some reason (they're then magically cured at baggage claim) as they believe they can get fast tracked through immigration whilst in a wheel chair.

Also Frank Gardner is an attention seeking w....
He constantly does this.
 
Osiris
Posts: 97
Joined: Tue Aug 23, 2016 6:53 pm

Re: LHR gets bad publicity over disabled pax handling.

Tue Mar 27, 2018 1:44 pm

Sounds like LHR staff made a simple mistake and it's been blown enormously out of proportion, simply because the affected person was disabled.

Nothing horrendous happened other than him being subjected to an annoying delay.

He does not deserve any compensation and, as the poster above said, he sounds like an attention seeker. No surprise he works for the BBC either, as this is their narrative down to the letter.
 
mjoelnir
Posts: 8499
Joined: Sun Feb 03, 2013 11:06 pm

Re: LHR gets bad publicity over disabled pax handling.

Tue Mar 27, 2018 4:31 pm

Osiris wrote:
Sounds like LHR staff made a simple mistake and it's been blown enormously out of proportion, simply because the affected person was disabled.

Nothing horrendous happened other than him being subjected to an annoying delay.

He does not deserve any compensation and, as the poster above said, he sounds like an attention seeker. No surprise he works for the BBC either, as this is their narrative down to the letter.


Lets take some handcuffs and chain you to your seat and have a look 100 minutes after the last passenger left, if you still exist and hear your comment than.

100 minutes are simply a scandal, nothing being blown out of proportion. To aim for 20 minutes after the last passenger left is the next scandal. The aim should be, that the wheelchair is waiting when the last non disabled person has left the airplane.
This Mr Holland-Kaye should be fired for being useless.

Here is another article not presenting a pretty picture for disabled passenger service at LHR:

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/201 ... t-heathrow
 
Osiris
Posts: 97
Joined: Tue Aug 23, 2016 6:53 pm

Re: LHR gets bad publicity over disabled pax handling.

Wed Mar 28, 2018 8:09 am

mjoelnir wrote:
Osiris wrote:
Sounds like LHR staff made a simple mistake and it's been blown enormously out of proportion, simply because the affected person was disabled.

Nothing horrendous happened other than him being subjected to an annoying delay.

He does not deserve any compensation and, as the poster above said, he sounds like an attention seeker. No surprise he works for the BBC either, as this is their narrative down to the letter.


Lets take some handcuffs and chain you to your seat and have a look 100 minutes after the last passenger left, if you still exist and hear your comment than.

100 minutes are simply a scandal, nothing being blown out of proportion. To aim for 20 minutes after the last passenger left is the next scandal. The aim should be, that the wheelchair is waiting when the last non disabled person has left the airplane.
This Mr Holland-Kaye should be fired for being useless.

Here is another article not presenting a pretty picture for disabled passenger service at LHR:

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/201 ... t-heathrow


None of what you said addresses any of my comments and my points still stand.

It was a simple mistake. Calling for compensation is laughable and calling for people to lose their jobs over it is embarrassing.
 
User avatar
TheFlyingDisk
Posts: 1842
Joined: Mon Jun 09, 2008 12:43 pm

Re: LHR gets bad publicity over disabled pax handling.

Wed Mar 28, 2018 8:17 am

Why can't the airport authorities work closely with the airlines & work something out so that disabled pax handling can be done smoothly?

Why is it that one has to rely on only one entity?
I FLY KLM+ALASKA+QATAR+MALAYSIA+AIRASIA+MALINDO
 
Andy33
Posts: 2473
Joined: Tue Sep 15, 2009 9:30 am

Re: LHR gets bad publicity over disabled pax handling.

Wed Mar 28, 2018 8:59 am

TheFlyingDisk wrote:
Why can't the airport authorities work closely with the airlines & work something out so that disabled pax handling can be done smoothly?

Why is it that one has to rely on only one entity?


Because in Europe (including the UK) the law states provision of disabled pax facilities is the responsibility of the airport. Such provision is included in the per-passenger charge the airport makes to the airline, spread equally across all passengers, disabled or not. Why is it done this way? well, because in the past that champion of the rights of the disabled, Ryanair, failed to make adequate provision itself, and attempted to pass the cost of what provision there was directly onto the individual disabled passengers, contrary to public policy.

So now, the airline takes the assistance request from the passenger and notifies the airport of the number of passengers requiring special assistance arriving or departing on each flight, in advance. They also pass on the type of assistance that is required - not everyone who needs help is wheelchair bound.
LHR puts the provision of special assistance out to tender. It appears that either the terms of the contract are too loose, or the lowest bid has been accepted without any checks on whether the contractor has adequate staff and systems in place to meet the terms.
 
Bongodog1964
Posts: 3542
Joined: Wed Oct 18, 2006 6:29 am

Re: LHR gets bad publicity over disabled pax handling.

Wed Mar 28, 2018 10:30 am

Having read a more detailed report a few days ago, it appears that Mr Gardner requested that his own wheelchair be brought to the airbridge. Instead it was offloaded to the baggage hall thus causing a delay. From what I've seen previously, it is usual for the assistance staff to use their wheelchairs to the baggage hall and for the passenger to then transfer. Mr Gardner appears to have wanted his own arrangement and the system couldn't manage it.
 
User avatar
vhtje
Posts: 1007
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 12:40 pm

Re: LHR gets bad publicity over disabled pax handling.

Wed Mar 28, 2018 10:49 am

Just to be clear, Mr Gardner is referring to the retrieval of his own wheelchair from the hold, not to passenger assistance personnel providing one of those black Heathrow wheelchairs we've all seen clogging the airbridge as we disembark.

It is not, therefore, a "request for assistance" from Heathrow Passenger Services in that sense.

Presumably this was caused by a thoughtless baggage handler sending his wheelchair to the baggage hall. I have been on a flight with Mr Gardener and have witnessed his wheelchair being taken from the cabin, put in the hold, then promptly retrieved upon arrival into Heathrow; this, however, was on BA in Terminal 5. Perhaps the airline he used in this instance has outsourced baggage handling at Heathrow? If so, does the blame not lie with Menzies/Dnata/Swissport (or whoever), and not Heathrow?
I only turn left when boarding aircraft. Well, mostly. All right, sometimes. OH OKAY - rarely.
 
User avatar
SomebodyInTLS
Posts: 1728
Joined: Wed Jun 15, 2016 12:31 pm

Re: LHR gets bad publicity over disabled pax handling.

Wed Mar 28, 2018 11:39 am

vhtje wrote:
Perhaps the airline he used in this instance has outsourced baggage handling at Heathrow? If so, does the blame not lie with Menzies/Dnata/Swissport (or whoever), and not Heathrow?


I think all UK airports outsource this service. In this case http://omniserv.eu/about-us/pages/who-we-are.aspx.

Another common one: https://www.ocs.com/uk/services/passenger-assistance-and-aviation-support/
"As with most things related to aircraft design, it's all about the trade-offs and much more nuanced than A.net likes to make out."
 
Andy33
Posts: 2473
Joined: Tue Sep 15, 2009 9:30 am

Re: LHR gets bad publicity over disabled pax handling.

Wed Mar 28, 2018 12:39 pm

All UK airports outsource special assistance for disabled/elderly passengers. But vhtje was referring to outsourced baggage handling. Now this is also outsourced at all UK airports by all airlines, except by British Airways at Heathrow (and at Gatwick, where it is done by a wholly owned BA subsidiary).
I now understand, which I didn't when I made an earlier post, that Mr Gardner normally has his own wheelchair retrieved from the hold and delivered to the jetway, and that BA at least can do this routinely at LHR.
It still isn't clear to me whether the airline's contracted baggage handler failed to deliver the wheelchair to the plane entrance, or whether the airport's contracted assistance providers failed to turn up to assist him from his seat into the wheelchair and push it through to immigration and baggage reclaim, or, I suppose, both.

For those who have never heard of Frank Gardner, he is a BBC journalist who was shot and left for dead by terrorists in Saudi Arabia in 2004. Obviously he didn't die, but was partially paralysed due to a bullet in the spine and now needs a wheelchair to move about
 
seat24charlie
Posts: 59
Joined: Tue Jun 03, 2014 1:34 am

Re: LHR gets bad publicity over disabled pax handling.

Wed Mar 28, 2018 12:55 pm

Andy33 wrote:
For those who have never heard of Frank Gardner, he is a BBC journalist who was shot and left for dead by terrorists in Saudi Arabia in 2004. Obviously he didn't die, but was partially paralysed due to a bullet in the spine and now needs a wheelchair to move about


Or, as some in this thread would have you believe, he's an attention-seeking w-----. Who to believe, honestly?

I've seen some accuse him of demanding his own wheelchair rather than using one of the standard airport chairs. You do know that not everyone can use the same wheelchairs, yes? That different disabilities and conditions can require specialist chairs and that standard chairs are often inadequate?

Gardner's experience is just a more public example of what wheelchair users experience in airports every damn day, and I say this as someone with experience within my own family. Wheelchair users never know what they can expect when they arrive - sometimes a chair is waiting for them and they're whisked off the aircraft as soon as possible. Other times they're left waiting to the point that they literally have to crawl off the aircraft (https://www.cnn.com/2015/10/25/us/unite ... index.html). Or, their custom wheelchairs (often costing five-figure sums) are damaged beyond repair and the airline refuses to take responsibility (http://america.aljazeera.com/opinions/2 ... hairs.html).

Our industry is garbage at accommodating disabled people. We've had our own experiences of waiting for up to an hour for a chair to arrive, or even being told that 'there are no chairs available.' I'm glad Frank Gardner used his platform to call attention to it. Many of us on here would whinge if we had to wait more than 5 minutes for a garbage coffee at Starbucks, but a disabled person is supposed to suck it up and shrug his shoulders when made to wait nearly two hours just to have the privilege of moving under their own power. Shocking.
 
seat24charlie
Posts: 59
Joined: Tue Jun 03, 2014 1:34 am

Re: LHR gets bad publicity over disabled pax handling.

Wed Mar 28, 2018 1:00 pm

andz85 wrote:
Heathrow has mainly 3rd party companies which deal with disabled passengers.
They were most likely dealing with flights with mainly Indian pax on them as elderly Indians are unable to walk for some reason (they're then magically cured at baggage claim) as they believe they can get fast tracked through immigration whilst in a wheel chair.

Also Frank Gardner is an attention seeking w....
He constantly does this.


Stereotyping elderly Indian travelers and then calling a disabled man an attention-seeking w... (no guts to spell it out?)

What a charmer you must be at parties.
 
hohd
Posts: 768
Joined: Sat May 17, 2008 1:03 am

Re: LHR gets bad publicity over disabled pax handling.

Wed Mar 28, 2018 1:00 pm

This happened to my parents on both occasions when they went through LHR. After waiting for 20 minutes, they gave up and slowly walked to the connection gate. Their connecting flight was already boarding and they had 2.5 hours of connection time.

Popular Searches On Airliners.net

Top Photos of Last:   24 Hours  •  48 Hours  •  7 Days  •  30 Days  •  180 Days  •  365 Days  •  All Time

Military Aircraft Every type from fighters to helicopters from air forces around the globe

Classic Airliners Props and jets from the good old days

Flight Decks Views from inside the cockpit

Aircraft Cabins Passenger cabin shots showing seat arrangements as well as cargo aircraft interior

Cargo Aircraft Pictures of great freighter aircraft

Government Aircraft Aircraft flying government officials

Helicopters Our large helicopter section. Both military and civil versions

Blimps / Airships Everything from the Goodyear blimp to the Zeppelin

Night Photos Beautiful shots taken while the sun is below the horizon

Accidents Accident, incident and crash related photos

Air to Air Photos taken by airborne photographers of airborne aircraft

Special Paint Schemes Aircraft painted in beautiful and original liveries

Airport Overviews Airport overviews from the air or ground

Tails and Winglets Tail and Winglet closeups with beautiful airline logos