The world’s biggest airline, measured in numbers of passengers carried internationally, has a public relations challenge ahead of it following disturbing allegations by a passenger.
The airline is Ryanair, which according to World Air Transport Statistics (WATS) published by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), carried about 86.4 million passengers internationally in 2014. The figure includes flights within Europe.
Matthew Parkes, 38, told the Manchester Evening News Ryanair gate staff told him to drag himself down two ramps, a set of stairs, across the tarmac and up the steps of the Manchester-bound plane.
The alleged incident happened at Malaga airport, Spain. Parkes said he was stretchered aboard after refusing to crawl but was made to feel “like a second-class citizen”.
Parkes suffered a devastating rare bacterial disease on holiday and had to have both legs and part of a hand amputated.
Ryanair says Parkes received the correct assistance for a passenger with reduced mobility and as far as it can tell, “there is no truth to the claims”, the paper reported.
On arrival back at Manchester, Parkes says he waited 30 minutes to be taken off the plane, where a 10-year-old boy in a wheelchair was in the boarding queue standing outside in the rain.
Ryanair says Parkes ordered, and was provided with, PRM (passenger with reduced mobility) assistance at Malaga Airport, a service provided to all airlines by the airport operator AENA.
The airline said it had received no reports from either the cabin crew or the PRM provider of any issues in assisting this passenger to his seat.
There, for the meantime, the matter rests.
Edited by William Sykes