Make Omniserve have disabled/wheelchair awareness training
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I and thousands of others have received appalling treatment by the ground crew company Omniserve. They serve most UK airports. Recently in the news Ehlers Danlos syndrome and POTS sufferer Nathalie Allport Grantham was told she didn't look 'disabled enough' at Stansted airport despite pre booking disabled assistance. It was a very distressing experience for her.
I too have Ehlers Danlos Syndrome and POTS and also at Stansted airport was let down and very distressed with Omniserve. I had to fill in a lengthy form through my travel company as I use a powered wheelchair. I had to specify dimensions and weight of my chair as well as what assistance I needed. I specified needing to take my chair to the plane and use the special lift up to the plane. They would then load my chair on with the baggage. I was waiting at the gate and met with surprise from Omniserve. Told there was no lift but eventually one appeared! I was made to wait on the tarmac in my chair for 15 minutes and then Omniserve baggage handlers quizzed me over my chair and said it wouldn't fit on the plane and didn't know if it was too heavy. It was like they had never dealt with a wheelchair before! What was the point of me filling in a lengthy wheelchair info form which never gets passed on? I was then made to climb the stairs to the plane which took me ages and the whole queue of passengers for the plane were waiting behind me! On returning to Stansted I was put on the lift and I asked where my chair was and they said it was waiting for me. On arrival at the terminal there was a lady with a flimsy airport wheelchair and they had no clue I needed my powered wheelchair from the plane. I was made to sit in a portacabin on the floor for 30 minutes as they didn't know where my chair was and I was in extreme pain and very distressed. My chair eventually was found but it had been dismantled the wrong way. I later found out it had been dropped leading to me now needing a new chair as it's damaged the motor and bent the frame. It took another 20 minutes for my husband to reassemble my chair. There was no apology and my travel company were not helpful as they blamed Omniserve. If I had been told the chair needed to be dismantled I would have made sure it was done the right way. Something needs to be done to stop this appalling treatment and for others to not have to experience what me, Nathalie and thousands of others have been through. Advanced disability awareness and wheelchair awareness training is needed for Omniserve. Let's make this happen!
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