Wheelchair pair ordeal after flight nightmare

Bartholomew and Margaret Moriarty with their daughter Tina.
Bartholomew and Margaret Moriarty with their daughter Tina.

The daughter of a wheelchair-bound couple who missed their flight to Dublin after being mistakenly boarded onto a plane bound for Tenerife says she is disgusted they have not received any explanation or apology.

Bartholomew and Margaret Moriarty, aged 72 and 69, were among five disabled passengers removed from the plane before it took off. They have had no response from the airport or disabled services provider OCS since the incident in May.

The couple, of Chaulden, Hemel Hempstead, were travelling to Ireland with daughter Tina for a family wedding.

Tina, of Gadebridge, requested wheelchair assistance when she booked the flights because of her parents’ illnesses. Bartholomew has had three hip operations while Margaret has Alzheimer’s and undergone three operations for cancer.

Tina says she was told on board the plane that her parents were at the front of the aircraft, but it was too late to move nearer them as the flight was about to take off. Flight operator Ryanair refused to comment on this.

It was only once Tina landed in Dublin she realised her parents had not made the journey. She said: “I got a phone call from my mum who was in tears. They were stranded at the airport and were left to their own devices.

“I spent 61/2 hours waiting for them and they didn’t get in until 10.30pm. I think it is disgusting.”

Airport spokesman Jackie Bowry said the mistake was down to an OCS driver who took the passengers to the wrong gate. She added: “We regret the considerable inconvenience faced by the family concerned. We take this incident very seriously and will work with OCS to prevent such an occurrence happening in the future.”

Tina said: “It was more than an inconvenience, it was very upsetting and stressful for them. They weren’t themselves at the wedding and it has taken my mum a long time to recover from it.”