Daryl Tavernor was left stranded on the plane for two hours after his delayed flight from Rome to Manchester and then left at border control for another 90 minutes
A disabled passenger was forced to call the police for help after he was left stranded at border control ‘for hours’.
Daryl Tavernor, 33, admitted he left like a ‘hostage’ after he was left stranded on the plane for two hours after his delayed flight from Rome to Manchester, Manchester Evening News reported.
The digital marketer, who has spinal muscular atrophy and requires special assistance, was forced to wait at border control for another 90 minutes before calling police.
Daryl, of Stoke-on-Trent, said: “I felt like I was being held hostage so I had no other option but to call the police.
“All the other passengers were able to get off the plane as quickly as they could. It usually only takes around 10 to 15 minutes for special assistance to get me off the plane.
“But it was just me and the crew and captain stuck for another two hours.
“The captain got so annoyed he went to find special assistance himself. I was told they didn’t come straight away as they don’t usually have plans landing at this time.
“But they can’t plead ignorance, the captain would have told them everything on our way.
“At this point I’ve been on the plane for five-and-a-half hours, I was extremely uncomfortable and just wanted to be in my chair.
“The person they sent for me really struggled to get me off the plane, I’m not a heavy guy but this person really struggled.”
The 33-year-old requires special assistance to get him off the plane, and into his wheelchair which is kept in the hold during the flight on May 26.
After landing, passengers were quickly let off the flight while Daryl started his wait for special assistance staff, run by a company called ABM, to get him off the plane and into his chair.
Two hours later, Daryl, the cabin crew, and pilots, were still left waiting.
The pilots and crew tried to take this into their own hands, looking for special assistance staff so they could all leave, and it wasn’t until 4.30am that Daryl was back in his chair and into Terminal 3.
Kenny Brown | Manchester Evening News)
A member of special assistance staff accompanied him to border control where no staff were to be found.
This led to frantic phone calls by special assistance to find border staff to get Daryl out of the airport. Approaching 6am, and with no end in sight to this ‘ridiculous’ order, Daryl took matters into his own hands, and rang the police.
Within minutes, a handful of border agents had arrived, and Daryl could be let out of the airport.
He added: “When we finally got to border control there just wasn’t anybody there, this really put them into a panic.
“They were ringing their bosses, but he couldn’t get hold of anyone. Nobody seemed to be able to phone border force, this went on for a good hour.
“I was pleading for them to just let me through, even if it had to be a fire exit or something.
Kenny Brown | Manchester Evening News)
“It became very clear very quickly that airport staff have no line of communication at all with security staff, which I found concerning.
“I felt like I was being held hostage so I had no other option but to call the police.
“I got through to GMP who have a station at the airport and within 10 minutes five border agents were there.
“Apparently they had no idea I was here, despite special assistance trying to get through to them.
“They said they only knew because the police had contacted them. I basically had no other option but to take it out of the airport’s hands.”
A Manchester Airport spokesman said: “We are sorry to hear that Mr Tavernor had a disappointing experience and will work with our special assistance provider to understand how a repeat of this might be avoided.
“We, and others in our industry including airlines, baggage handlers and assistance providers, are experiencing staff shortages at present due to the rapid pace at which travel has recovered from the pandemic.
“We are working tirelessly to address this as quickly as possible through a major recruitment drive, and to mitigate these challenges as best we can in the meantime.”
An ABM spokesperson said: “We understand the importance of the special assistance service we provide passengers, and delivering that service with efficiency, respect, and care is critical.
“We regret any time when our service does not meet that standard, and are working with our teams and partners in examining Mr Tavernor’s experience.
“We are currently experiencing higher volumes of passengers who require special assistance than our busiest pre-pandemic peak while the entire industry continues to face resource challenges.
“We know that we are not alone in managing these issues and understand the inconvenience and emotional impact this all may have on individuals travelling, particularly those requiring additional assistance.
“We are working in collaboration with all our clients and partners to minimize the impact as we navigate this phase of the pandemic recovery.”
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.