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Double amputee told to 'crawl' to Ryanair flight in Spain
Photo: AFP

Double amputee told to 'crawl' to Ryanair flight in Spain

Jessica Jones · 29 Mar 2016, 10:00

Published: 29 Mar 2016 10:00 GMT+02:00

Matthew Parkes was returning home to Manchester from Malaga with his wife and four-year-old daughter when staff working for Ryanair told him to crawl to the plane.

The 38-year-old told the Manchester Evening News that Ryanair staff told him to crawl down two ramps, a set of stairs, across the tarmac and up the steps of the plane.

"Ryanair made me feel humiliated and like I didn’t matter," Parkes, who lost both legs and part of a hand after contracting life-threatening sepsis last November, told the newspaper. 

"I felt like a second-class citizen and was so embarrassed when this is so fresh and I’m still getting used to people staring at me. Total humiliation."

When Parkes refused to crawl to the plane and asked to be boarded first like he had been on the way out to Malaga with airline Monarch, Ryanair refused.

Instead, the Irish low cost airline waited until all the other passengers were seated then hauled Parkes the entire length of the plane in a stretcher chair.

"They dragged me backwards from the front to the back of the plane, knocking into people. Everyone was staring at me," he said.

Parkes had to drag himself up onto his seat with no help from the flight crew and when he asked how he was to get to the toilet, he was told he would have to "crawl up the aisle". 

Parkes' wife complained to staff in the airport but to no avail. 

"Ryanair treated him like an animal on the way back - he wasn’t recognised as a person, and I had to see my husband be humiliated," said Parkes wife, Pamela.

"I’m absolutely disgusted. They need to change their policy for disabled people."

Story continues below…

She also complained that their request to be served a sandwich early in the flight to aid his medication was ignored and they were served last.

Ryanair disputed the incident in a statement, claiming: "This passenger ordered, and was provided with, PRM (passenger with reduced mobility) assistance at Malaga Airport. This service is provided to all airlines by the airport operator AENA.

"We have received no reports from either the cabin crew or the PRM provider of any issues in assisting this passenger to his seat. As far as we can tell there is no truth to these claims and no complaints were made by this passenger or his two travelling companions to either our cabin crew or the PRM assistance provider."

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Jessica Jones (jessica.jones@thelocal.com)

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