A row has broken out between Ryanair and Bordeaux airport after a passenger in a wheelchair and her partner were taken to the gate by airport staff as requested - only to find their plane was already moving ready for take-off.
The plane was forced to stop taxiing and return to the gate to let the missing passengers board.
Ryanair told The Independent: “It is unacceptable that Bordeaux Airport failed to provide this passenger with the special assistance required to board this flight… despite Ryanair paying for this service.
“Not only did they fail to board this passenger, but they misinformed the crew on this flight that all passengers had been boarded when in fact this passenger had not, and the aircraft began to taxi onto the runway. Ground staff at Bordeaux Airport realised their error and notified the crew who returned to stand in order to board the passenger.
“It is abysmal that Ryanair customers requiring special assistance are being let down by Bordeaux Airport and we are working with them to ensure that this does not recur.”
Bordeaux airport bristled at Ryanair’s statement, calling it “false and defamatory”.
The airport says that the elderly passenger, travelling last Tuesday (September 19), had indicated her requirements to Ryanair when purchasing her ticket, and on arrival, was accompanied by an agent at the airport’s expense as far as the boarding area.
“We should add that throughout this time, the passenger was under the responsibility of the airline organising her travel.
“The airport is only the operator of the infrastructure. When boarding began for Edinburgh, all passengers were directed to the plane by Ryanair.
“The passenger in a wheelchair and her partner were present in the boarding lounge at this time, clearly visible to Ryanair personnel and under their responsibility.
“When the employee accompanying them came to take them to the plane, they found that Ryanair had closed the gate and the plane was already taxiing.”
One passenger told The Scottish Sun that the pilot announced that the plane had to turn around at this point due to “a personal object” being left behind.
Only later did the pilot learn that the ‘personal object’ was in fact two people.
“The pilot apologised repeatedly at the start and the end of the flight,” said the passenger.
"He said something about staff in the airport being overwhelmed.”