Adrian Keogh was told he wouldn’t be able to get off the flight for another hour (Picture: Instagram/@adriankeogh39)
A disabled man was forced to crawl off a Ryanair flight and down plane steps after he was told help wouldn’t arrive for at least an hour.
Adrian Keogh, 37, from Wicklow, Ireland, landed at Göteborg Landvetter Airport in Sweden on Saturday evening when there was a delay in his assistance to get off.
On Instagram, he shared photos of himself making his way down the metal stairs from the flight in a seated position.
‘It’s unacceptable to expect me to crawl down the steep metal steps,’ he wrote in the caption.
Both cabin crew and other passengers reportedly watched as the father ambled down the stairs in pain at around 11pm, he told Metro.co.uk.
Adrian, who has been using a wheelchair since a construction accident in 2015 affected his spine, had flown to Sweden for his daughter’s 15th birthday.
‘It was the first time we were celebrating since the pandemic, so I booked assistance to get on and off the plane and for priority boarding just for peace of mind,’ he said.
Adrian hopes the incident will highlight the struggles disabled people face in air travel (Picture: Instagram/@adriankeogh39)
‘So when we landed in Göteborg, the plane pulled up for everybody to disembark. All the able-bodied people got out first and the steward said to me it’ll be at least an hour before you can get off the plane.’
Adrian claimed the staff told him the lift that would help him be taken off the plane in his wheelchair would take at least an hour to arrive.
‘I asked them if it would be okay for me to crawl off because I was starting to get a little sore,’ Adrian said.
‘They said I can, “if you want”, so I decided to get off as I wouldn’t have been able to wait.
‘I couldn’t believe it. I thought they were joking, to be honest,’ Adrian said, adding that he would have gotten ‘very, very angry’ if he waited on board.
His family were shocked, too. ‘What?’ his brother said, who was on the flight with Adrian. ‘My mother and sister were all ahead of me and they couldn’t believe it.
‘They were in shock. Absolutely in shock. Absolutely could not believe it.’
Adrian said he pushed through the pain as he went down the steep steel steps (Picture: Instagram/adriankeogh39
On Instagram, Adrian said airport staff pointed fingers at Ryanair, while Ryanair ‘blamed Landvetter’.
‘They especially didn’t want us taking the picture,’ he added.
‘I am not looking for anything only the service I paid for and to be able to travel with dignity.’
Göteborg Landvetter Airport said: ‘We regret Mr Keogh’s experience at Göteborg Landvetter Airport on Saturday.
‘Due to unforeseen events, the assistance service at the airport was affected with longer waiting times and not up to our usual standard of service.
‘We are currently looking into the incident in more detail, but airport procedures were followed and the service offered accordingly and by no means “forgotten”.
‘We are very sorry for Mr Keogh’s inconvenience.’
Adrian has been using a wheelchair since 2015 (Picture: Instagram/adriankeogh39)
A Ryanair spokesperson added: ‘Special assistance at Landvetter Airport is managed by a third-party provider – not Ryanair.
‘We regret that Landvetter Airport failed to provide Special Assistance to this passenger upon arrival at Landvetter on 29 Apr and we are working with Landvetter Airport to ensure this does not recur.’
This isn’t the first time Adrian has been stuck on a plane. Two and a half years ago, Adrian rang an airline before his flight to check everything was good to go.
But when he touched ground in Heathrow, London, from Dublin, he was told to ‘make his own way’ off the craft in his wheelchair, he claimed.
‘If I could do that, I wouldn’t need a wheelchair,’ Adrian added.
James Taylor, a strategy director at the disability equality charity Scope, said Adrian is far from alone in this.
‘Disabled people have long been let down in airports in the UK and now we have this appalling situation in Sweden,’ he told Metro.co.uk.
Airlines and airports must be held more accountable for failing to support disabled passengers, James added, such as being handed fines.
‘This has been going on too long. The impact is often degrading, stressful and anxiety-inducing and stops some disabled people from travelling altogether,’ Taylor added.
‘Anxiety’ is something Adrian said he knows all too well after his accident, which saw a drain collapse causing him to fall to the ground, with a concrete pillar not far behind.
‘You would have trauma and anxiety after something like that happens, so for travel, I try to plan out as much as I can,’ he said.
‘When it goes wrong, it goes badly wrong. There’s no middle road. We’re kind of vulnerable,’ Adrian added.
‘Hopefully, this highlights how we’re all equal and we need respect no matter who we are.
‘There should never be anyone in the vulnerable position I was in again.’
Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at email@example.com.
For more stories like this, check our news page.