Bexhill woman left ‘stranded’ at airport due to airline mix-up

Katarzyna Tokarek SUS-180702-103558001
Katarzyna Tokarek SUS-180702-103558001

A disabled woman from Bexhill claims she was left stranded at Hamburg airport for more than 16 hours due to an airline not arranging special assistance for her.

Katarzyna Tokarek, 57, was due to fly back home from Germany early in the morning on January 4 after spending Christmas with her friend.

She said she booked tickets with Ryanair, stating she needed special assistance in a wheelchair.

Katarzyna said: “On arrival at Hamburg airport I was told by Ryanair staff to go to the check-in desk but had already told them I needed a wheelchair and checked in online before arrival.

“I kindly asked a Ryanair lady for a wheelchair at the same time informing her I needed special assistance. I not only have walking difficulties but also can’t stand for long periods of time and am at high risk of falling down if not accompanied by someone. The lady from Ryanair told me to go to the queue. I told her I couldn’t and she should provide me with a wheelchair.”

Katarzyna then claimed the woman was ‘rude’ to her, shouting at her to ‘get in the queue’. She said she then waited 20 minutes to board the plane while all the other passengers boarded. The gate was then closed and she started to panic.

Katarzyna added: “I called a Ryanair staff member and asked what was going on. I told them my oldest daughter was waiting for me in London. I was supposed to be home that very afternoon. No one told me anything. What I observed was an airport worker arrive and could clearly see there was some kind of disagreement between them and a Ryanair crew member. Then the airport worker took me in a wheelchair, informing me we were going to buy another ticket for a different flight as Ryanair didn’t book the lift to help me to get into the plane.”

Katarzyna said she was told she had two options, catch a flight on the same day to London Stansted at 9pm with Ryanair or a 8.50pm flight to London Luton with Easyjet. She chose Easyjet and said she had to waiting for 14 hours.

A Ryanair spokeswoman said: “While we regret any inconvenience caused, special assistance services at Hamburg Airport are operated by Deutsches Rotes Kreuz, at great expense to the airlines, and Hamburg Airport is responsible for this service and any problems with it.”