EK To Disabled Pax Left Without Wheelchair: “Have Some Cake”

Open Jaw
Emirates has come under fire for offering a cake as compensation to an elderly disabled passenger left without a wheelchair at HKG and had to struggle to make her own way to arrivals.

Marian Robinson, 77, and her husband Herbert, 79, flew with EK last week from LHR to HKG, via DXB, to visit their daughter, Lindsey Gordon. Herbert Robinson had pre-booked wheelchair assistance for his wife, who cannot walk more than a few steps unaided due to several illnesses.

Although a wheelchair was provided for the DXB stop-over, there was no wheelchair on arrival at HKG. "They waited on the aircraft until they were told to get off, then they waited outside the aircraft and nobody came," explained their daughter.

"The captain kindly tried to help and asked a passing porter to assist, but he declined. I was waiting at arrivals for over 2 hours, terrified that they had somehow been stranded in Dubai. Eventually, after much trauma, they managed to find their way through the airport and I found them in the middle of the concourse more than 2 hours after the aircraft landed. There were severely traumatized and confused as to what had happened."

Gordon complained to the airline, requesting that her parents could perhaps be upgraded on their return journey by way of compensation, she received an e-mail from customer services saying this wasn't possible due to policy. Instead, she was told: "We can surely book a complimentary cake for them. Let me know if I should book the cake for them?"

Gordon was dismayed by the response. "I hardly think a cake makes up for what my parents went through, and the real issue is that nobody explained why the wheelchair wasn't provided and they still haven't. Mum and dad had been travelling for a total of 20 hours. My mum can only walk a few steps, even with a walking stick, so it was a massive effort for her to get from the aircraft to the arrivals hall which is quite a distance and involves a train and several escalators.

"To make matters worse, when my parents checked in for the return flight I told them what had happened on the inward journey and the check-in clerk laughed. I had to inform her that it wasn't actually funny."

Emirates said it was investigating the case and issued an apology, while blaming a 3rd party service at HKG. "Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of Emirates Flight Crew to help Mr. and Mrs. Robinson on the ground, adequate assistance from the Hong Kong airport wheelchair handling team did not materialize in time. This service is operated by third parties on behalf of all airlines," it added.

(will not be published)