• Spain's news in English
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

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

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."

For more news from Spain, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Jessica Jones (jessica.jones@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Spain's 'Napflix' aims to bore viewers to sleep
Photo: Screengrab/ Napflix

A Spanish video platform called Napflix, designed to put people to sleep with dull content, was launched this week and its founders are on the lookout for more "monotony and repetition."

Recipe: How to make fabada - traditional Asturian bean stew
Photo: Flavio Lorenzo Sánchez/Flickr

The hearty Asturian dish is a perfect lunch on a cold day... and don't forget the crusty bread and cider!

Brit 'paedo' held on Costa del Sol after Most Wanted appeal

One of Britain's most wanted fugitives was arrested on the Costa Del Sol following a tip-off from an expat just hours after his face appeared on a public appeal.

Spain's parliament approves deficit reduction measures
Photo: Images Money/Flickr

Spanish lawmakers approved on Thursday measures to reduce the public deficit and keep it under the target agreed with the European Union.

'Cubism and War' show opens at Barcelona Picasso Museum
Pablo Picasso Harlequin and Woman with a Necklace. Photo: MP

Barcelona's Picasso Museum unveiled an exhibition on "Cubism and War" on Thursday depicting how one of the most influential artistic styles of the 20th century survived the First World War.

Why this bionic limb pioneer doesn't believe in disability
Hugh Herr has been award Spain's top science prize. Photo: FPA

The Local speaks to Hugh Herr on winning Spain's top science prize and how being an amputee doesn't make him disabled.

Dine in the buff at Spain's first nudist restaurant
A buffet of organic food will be served on "human tables". Photo: Innato / Facebook

Spain's first naked dining experience is to arrive on the island of Tenerife following the success of a similar venture in London.

Spain's top court overturns bullfighting ban in Catalonia
Photo: AFP

Spain's Constitutional Court on Thursday cancelled a bullfighting ban in Catalonia in what is likely to exacerbate tensions between Madrid and the separatist region, and between animal activists and fans of the tradition.

Out of the dark: Five years on from Eta ceasefire
Eta members made a ceasefire declaration in January, 2011. Photo: Gara / AFP

Five years after armed separatist group Eta declared a permanent ceasefire, Basque journalist Alberto Letona is still wondering when the dialogue will begin.

Hunt for ten most wanted Brit fugitives hiding out in Spain
Call Crimestoppers if you recognize these faces.

These fugitives from British justice are thought to be hiding out in Spain. Do you recognize anyone?

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Madrid parish church faces fine over 'too noisy' bells
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Celebrate expat life at Madrid’s THRIVE convention
Fury after kids told to bring their own loo roll to school
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Disney announces plans for Don Quixote action movie
Activist tells 8-yr-old matador wannabe with cancer 'just die'
King to make last minute push to avoid third vote in Spain
Amazing photos of Catalonia's 'human tower' contest
What's on in Spain: October 2016
'No way, Jose! You'll never get your hands on our Rock'
Recipe: How to make a classic Spanish tortilla de patatas
Chorizo in paella? Go back to cooking school Jamie Oliver
Spain in eye of a perfect storm after 10 months without govt
Thousands share clips of life for 'Spain in a Day' film
Ten incredible Spain locations for Game of Thrones season 7
Analysis & Opinion
Why moving to Spain could be the best decision of your life
Seven reasons why autumn is the very best season in Spain
Spanish study finds four types of personality. Which are you?
New search underway for civil war grave of poet Lorca
Bison found decapitated on Valencia nature reserve
Forgotten Voices: What Brits in Spain think about Brexit
One dead and 14 injured in blast at Spanish resort
Game of Thrones want extras 'with muscles' to film in Spain
Thousands march in Madrid to push for bullfighting ban
jobs available