A voice-over artist who only has one leg was abandoned on a plane at Manchester Airport and had to be rescued by the pilot after support staff failed to help him.
David Judd, 54, who uses a prosthesis after having his leg amputated, found himself stranded on the empty plane after flying in from Spain on June 18.
Mr Judd, who needs a wheelchair when he travels, waited around 30 minutes before it became clear no one was coming to help him.
Voice actor David, who lives in Wakefield, says he has booked Manchester Airport assistance on several occasions without any problems. But he says problems arose as soon as he arrived at Terminal 2 ahead of his June 11 holiday.
“We normally fly to Leeds Bradford Airport but wanted an earlier flight,” the father-of-three told Manchester Evening News. “I had my prosthetic leg removed an hour before the flight and put on a compression sock to stop the swelling. When we arrived we had to wait which is very unusual as normally you are assisted immediately .
“We stood there for about 35-40 minutes waiting for someone to come and help us. A member of staff showed up and took our cases from us and led them into a long queue.
“When we got to the safe zone, he left. The security guy wanted me to go through the magnetic thing and said, “Can’t you just put your leg in?”. He could see that I was in a wheelchair. My wife had to carry all the bags and my leg which weighs about 8 lbs.
David Judd, 54, was left on the flight when support staff failed to show up to help him off the jet
The Manchester Airport spokesman said he was disappointed to hear of Mr Judd’s order
David says there were more problems when he and his wife Amanda returned from their week-long trip to Almería. After landing at Manchester Airport, the couple had to wait for assistance which never came – ultimately having to be helped by the pilot.
“The pilot came out and said there were no more stewardesses. Then phoned saying there was still a guy here. Other people who had special assistance – they could walk.
“I had just gotten home so I couldn’t really put my leg on so I really needed some help. After 25-30 minutes the pilot said he could push me up the ramp.
“They got a wheelchair under the plane, but there was no special assistance. It was the pilot – the guy who flies a Boeing 737 and he was pushing me in a wheelchair. I thought, ‘God, how bad is this?’
“He was so embarrassed; you could see it. You could really see it. Then we took the bus back to the parking lot and I got up trying to put my bags and the driver put his foot down. I fell backward and hit my head and arm against the window.
David is now seeking legal advice – claiming the incidents have left him feeling ‘completely insignificant’ and ‘a bit pathetic’.
David Judd said a security guard asked him at one point “Can’t you just put your leg in?”
“You could say it made me feel as insignificant as anyone could feel,” he added. “We’re supposed to go in September for a birthday, but I don’t really want to go. I really don’t want that feeling anymore.
“It’s been five weeks and I’ve been angry the whole time. But I can’t be mad because it wasn’t my fault – and it wasn’t my fault – but it makes you feel like it’s your fault that you got your leg cut off.
A Manchester Airport spokesperson said: ‘We were disappointed to learn of this passenger’s experience of traveling through our airport.
“Like UK airports, Manchester uses a third-party company to provide assistance, which is booked directly by the passenger with their airline.
“We take assistance needs very seriously and prior to the pandemic we were rated ‘good’ in the Civil Aviation Authority’s latest Airport Accessibility Report.
“We remain confident that most people in need of assistance traveling through our airport will have a positive experience, but we recognize that was not the case here. We will continue to work closely with all parties involved to ensure that passengers requiring assistance receive the best possible service and to understand how a repeat of this case will be avoided.
A spokesperson for ABM Aviation, which provides assistance at Manchester Airport, said: “We understand the importance of the special assistance service we provide to passengers.” We always aim to provide this service with efficiency, respect, care and regret when passengers encounter anything below these standards.
“Learning from these times, we are actively working with our teams, customers and partners to implement efforts to minimize the impact on passengers as we navigate this phase of the pandemic recovery.
“Special assistance providers are part of a wider network of airport services that continues to face challenges including a nationwide shortage of manpower and resources. Additionally, our teams are currently experiencing higher volumes of special assistance requests than our busiest pre-pandemic peak.
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