A diabetic passenger from Ellesmere Port has instructed Bott and Co to seek flight delay compensation from TUI under EU Regulation 261/2004 on his behalf after going through the “experience from hell.”
Kevin Beards, 55, was travelling with his wife Sandra, 63, from Manchester Airport to Paphos International Airport, Cyprus. They had booked a 4* hotel for a luxury holiday, but events quickly took a turn for the worse.
Technical Fault Causes Delay
Kevin and Sandra’s flight was scheduled to depart Manchester at 9.05am. After passengers had boarded and taken their seats, they sat waiting for almost three hours. Then, they were told to disembark the aircraft and return to the airport building, due to a technical fault.
They left us on it for just under three hours. They didn’t offer us any food, and all we got was one small cup of water which they’d poured from big plastic bottles.
Once inside, TUI Airways passengers were told the oil leak fault had been fixed but they still could not board, as the maximum number of working hours had passed, so they had to wait for new aircraft and crew members.
A Hypo Diabetic Episode
Kevin Beards, who has had a triple heart bypass, was not offered any food or drink throughout the delay.
It was at this point that Mr Beards started to feel unwell. “We went back into the airport. No one seemed to know what was going on. We queued for ages to get back in – I’d started to feel unwell at this point, my legs were shaking.”
They checked my vitals and blood sugar, it was 18.8 and should be between four and seven.
Mistreatment from Crew Members
Despite Mr Beards’ obvious ill health, some staff members mistook his symptoms for drunkenness and accused him of acting disorderly. Kevin alleges that one woman told him to “shut up”, and other Swissport staff, who were contracted to work as ground staff by TUI, were verbally abusive.
“All I was doing was pacing, my wife had never seen me like that but I certainly wasn’t abusive or aggressive. The staff kept accusing me of being drunk.”
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Paramedics were summoned to the scene, where Kevin was subjected to the indignity of being treated publicly. Paramedics wanted to treat him privately, but Swissport said there was nowhere for them to go.
“I had to remove my top and inject myself. When you do that your blood sugar levels begin to drop, and sometimes they can go too low so you need to have something to eat and drink afterwards, but the Swissport staff didn’t give me a chance, they called the police.”
When Kevin’s condition was more stable, his wife was told that she could fly without him, along with the other passengers, but Sandra refused.
Escorted Out by Armed Police and Denied Boarding
Following Sandra’s refusal to travel alone, armed police officers formerly escorted the couple from the airport building and they were officially denied boarding.
Kevin was understandably upset. He says, “As if we hadn’t been humiliated enough. It wasn’t until we had gone back out through customs that I was finally able to get a drink and chocolate bar.”
Following his ordeal, Mr Beards was told by his doctor that his hypo episode is likely to have been caused by a combination of stress and lack of food and drink.
Onwards and Upwards
The couple hope that nobody else with diabetes has to endure the experience that they went through. Two days after returning from the airport booked another holiday, departing from Leeds Bradford Airport.
They found the situation so upsetting that they refuse to travel with TUI Airways again.
After issuing court proceedings against the airline after they continued to ignore the claim, Bott and Co successfully recovered £710 for the couple.
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