BBC presenter Ade Adepitan slammed a budget airline after he claimed he was “hassled by staff”. The sports presenter, 50, took to his social media to share his awful experience travelling with Wizz Air.
Wheelchair basketball player Ade posted a video and wrote alongside the clip: “Do. Better. @wizzair.” In the video filmed inside the plane, he said: “I’ve just had a moment of realisation, because I constantly get confused at why you have such a battle with airline staff when you’re a wheelchair user.
“I’ve got a wheelchair that folds down and it folds small enough to fit in the overhead compartment up there. And on a lot of airlines – no most airlines – I’m fine but Wizz Airlines, they gave me a lot of hassle. But basically saying the wheelchair had to go down below and then when I was arguing my case, the woman said ‘you’re holding up loads of people who should be getting on the flight’.”
He continued: “So my realisation is, these people, the staff, do not understand the importance of a wheelchair. To them, a wheelchair is just a piece of baggage, it’s just something that, if it gets lost, it’s you know fine, you’ll replace it. I just don’t think they get it. So to all airlines, you need to start training your staff to understand about disability.
“Now I know some of you are doing it and you are doing a bit of work on it but it is still not properly sinking in. A wheelchair is not baggage, a wheelchair is essential piece of equipment. Without it, that’s it, I’m stuffed. If it gets lost, if it gets damaged, so I want it up there.
“How can people’s hand on luggage, people’s luggage that they put up in their vent compartment, how can that be considered more important than my wheelchair? It’s ridiculous isn’t it? It is ridiculous.” Ade was supported by his followers in the comments as para-athlete Kylie Grimes wrote: “They were holding up the passengers not listening and doing the right thing. Thank you for Speaking up for all of us.”
Anita Rani added: “Well said. How dare they make out that you are inconveniencing everyone else. Speak out. Make change happen x” While Nadine Coyle said: “Well said!! It is ridiculous!!! Sending loads of love to you & yours!!” In response to Ade’s video, Wizz Air told The Mirror: “We apologise if Mr. Adepitan felt he was not addressed by crew in the right way.
“We understand the importance of wheelchairs for users and will always provide special assistance when requested for passengers who require it. Two mobility equipment items can be checked-in or taken on board free of charge. Wheelchairs typically must travel in the hold due to overhead cabin size constraints. We ask customers with collapsible wheelchairs to provide the dimensions when informing our Special Assistance Team ahead of travel so that they can advise on storage.
“The safety of our passengers is our number one priority. We take special care with wheelchairs to avoid any damage, even if they are loaded into the cargo hold. Our guidance for special assistance can be found on our website here.”