A disabled mum who struggles to walk further than a car length claims she was forced to leave a plane by a ramp unaided and LAUGHED AT by flight crew.
Kellie Kemp needs a mobility scooter to get around due to severe arthritis in her legs and spine and had requested special assistance on her Thomson flights six months in advance.
However, after her flight to Tenerife, she claims it took an hour-and-a-half to locate the scooter, forcing her to walk 100ft unaided once she landed on the island.
After Kellie explained to the flight crew that she couldn’t walk the short distance up a ramp from the plane to the airport due to her disability, she says she was offered no sympathy and instead laughed at.
She was in bed for the first three days of her holiday because of this.
Kellie said: “All the staff were laughing behind my back. I felt like a piece of dirt. They told me I had to walk and then tried to get me in a wheelchair but I couldn’t fit.
“I was very uncomfortable. They were so disgusting. She just laughed. I felt like trash. I was in excruciating pain. It should have been a two-minute walk but it took me half an hour.”
“It was like ‘you’re fat, sort yourself out’. I just felt like I was an inconvenience to them. It wasn’t nice. It was humiliating.
“A short walk uphill when you’ve got these problems is a very long walk indeed.
“It’s so painful after having to walk. My knees are back to normal now. I don’t normally get that far when I’m home. I just do short distances.
“I couldn’t do it in one go. It was a long walk for me but they told me to keep going when I had to stop.
“I was given no explanation whatsoever. It was the crew on the aircraft, they didn’t know where we had to go or sit. Instead of giving me the correct information, they just wanted to go for a drink, it seemed like.
“I would say that it did ruin my holiday experience. We were checking before our flight that everything was sorted. I really was not expecting what happened at Gatwick.
“It was a rep from a different holiday company that helped us out in the end. Our staff didn’t have the correct information to hand that they had a disabled person on board.”
“It was my last break away with my family. I don’t think we’ll be doing it again and it all seemed to go to pot really.”
Kellie was with her two children, Michael, 19, and Kelsey, 16, and husband Dave, 57, who were equally horrified by the alleged treatment.
Dave said: “It’s something they need to deal with. People should not be made the butt of a joke because of their disability.
“I told them ‘I hope you don’t find yourself in the same situation’ and they found that funny.
“It’s not far to walk for a normal person but you don’t train for disability. It’s something you have to deal with the best you can.
“There are supposed to be privileges so they don’t have to go through this. It’s something they should be doing. It felt like she was a freak show that night.
“I felt like making them disabled to be honest. They found it quite hilarious. The pain she’s in, she can’t even get round the house.”
The family, who flew to Tenerife on September 13th, said their flight from Gatwick was fine, but it was when they arrived that trouble began.
As airline staff were allegedly unable to locate her scooter, Kellie says she was made to walk 100 yards from the taxi area and upstairs until it was discovered that the mobility scooter had been returned to the aircraft – despite being told to go to a bus.
After this caused Kellie to lose three days of her holiday through the pain, the family double-checked with a Thomson rep three days before the return flight that everything would be sorted.
They were told that an ambi-lift would be able to escort the mum-of-two off the plane, which would take her to her mobility scooter.
However, Kellie says nothing was provided and she was again told to walk, prompting the family to complain when a member of staff allegedly laughed and told her ‘lady go, it’s not that far, go’.
Using an uphill, enclosed ramp from the aircraft into the airport, Kellie was offered a wheelchair but unfortunately she couldn’t fit into it and had to continue to walk.
Her son Michael said: “My mother is disabled and cannot walk much further than a car length without assistance. My mum felt like an absolute garbage human being. She is equal to everyone else.
“Why aren’t the cabin crew aware of the capability and limitations of a disabled person? Ten minutes for a healthy person is easy but for a disabled person it’s like walking a mile up hill.
“I found our experience very bad. Treating my mum like stuff off the ground and not knowing what damage it has caused makes me sick.
“Had we known how badly we would have been treated we would never have booked our holiday with Thomson. They showed no respect or dignity for disabled persons.”
A Thomson spokesperson said: “We’re sorry to hear of Ms Kemp’s experience and are concerned to hear this feedback.
“Whilst we are currently investigating these claims and are trying to contact Ms Kemp, we would encourage her to get in touch with our customer service team to discuss this issue if she is able to.”