Worcester graduate calls for 'more understanding' after wheelchair left in Amsterdam during flight home - The Worcester Observer

Worcester graduate calls for 'more understanding' after wheelchair left in Amsterdam during flight home

Worcester Editorial 17th Apr, 2024 Updated: 17th Apr, 2024   0

A UNIVERSITY of Worcester graduate turned sports commentator has called for a greater understanding of the needs of those with disabilities after claiming he had to wait five hours at Edinburgh Airport because his wheelchair was left in Amsterdam.

On August 20, 2023, Dylan Cummings, who studied Journalism at the University of Worcester between 2016 and 2019, was travelling back to Britain after commentating at the European Para Championships wheelchair basketball tournament in Rotterdam.

After being helped onto the plane by special assistance, he claimed he asked the team to make sure his wheelchair went into the hold safely, to which the team assured him that it would.

However, when they landed at Edinburgh he said he was quickly told by staff his wheelchair hadn’t been put into the hold and was instead still in Amsterdam.

He added he was given a wheelchair to either go home in or wait at the airport.

Dylan further claimed he waited five hours at the airport for his chair to arrive, during which he bought food.

He said he then got a taxi home, arriving back at around midnight and ‘disrupting his plans’ for that evening.

The 26-year-old said he filed a complaint with EasyJet, and after not hearing anything for over eight weeks, filed a separate one with AviationADR.

He said he originally asked for what he paid at the airport as compensation, along with the money for the return flight and additional compensation for the mishap.

He later changed his claim to asking for the cash he spent for the entire Edinburgh to Amsterdam round trip in the AviationADR complaint.

He said when he received a response from EasyJet in December, he was only offered £37.65 – the amount he paid for his airport food and taxi fare home – as a ‘goodwill gesture.’

AviationADR concluded from Dylan’s appeal, which he received a response for on April 2, that the hold-up regarding his wheelchair would be classified as a baggage delay.

The Montreal Convention, which establishes airline liability, does not allow for any compensation for baggage delays.

The conclusion, seen by the Observer, added: “I am unable to impose an obligation on the Airline to provide any compensation to the passenger in accordance with the relevant regulations.

“Furthermore, the Airline is not liable for reimbursing any expenses accrued after reaching the final destination.

“Consequently, requests for additional expense claims cannot be accommodated.”

Dylan told the Observer: “This entire experience has been completely demoralising, my wheelchair is treated as baggage, but it’s more than that, it is a lifeline and it acts as my legs.

“There needs to be more understanding of people’s needs and mobility aids regarding accessibility to services.”

A spokesperson for EasyJet said: “We are very sorry for the delay in reuniting Mr Cummings with his wheelchair which we are looking into with our ground handling partner at Amsterdam airport as this is not the level of service we expect for our customers.

“Our team are in touch with Mr Cummings to apologise for his experience and for the delay in responding to him, reimburse any expenses incurred while at the airport and also provide a gesture of goodwill.”

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