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Wheelchair/Disabled Help Chaos in Palma Airport

Dublin, Ireland
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2 posts
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Wheelchair/Disabled Help Chaos in Palma Airport

Just back from Majorca and fyi - the wheelchair assistance today was not only chaotic but unsafe. I am a registered nurse and brought my 88 year old mother through today. My advice is - if you can, bring an able bodied person with you through the wheelchair assistance route, and preferably one who speaks some Spanish! We have been through the airport before and it was okay but today was total chaos. Not enough wheelchairs, staff rushing people with impaired mobility around, broken footpads on wheelchairs, staff not using brakes on wheelchairs, security staff getting people in wheelchairs to stand up unaided....it took one woman an hour and a half to get from check in to the gate using wheelchair assistance. Another woman had requested wheelchair assistance in advance but was told there was none available for her and she had to walk the whole way to the boarding gate with very swollen ankles due to a heart conditon. Not for the faint hearted!!! If you don't have a companion, speak out and tell them to slow down or to put the brakes on. Because otherwise, someone will get their leg gashed or have a fall, and you don't want that. Safe journey and good luck!

wirral
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1. Re: Wheelchair/Disabled Help Chaos in Palma Airport

She shouldn't have had to walk all that way from check-in/security to the gate.Even though there might have been a shortage of wheelchairs there are many electric buggies scorting between security and the gates with elderly/handicapped people seated on the back.And if there was a shortage of wheelchairs in May what is the situation going to be like in August?

Liverpool
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484 posts
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2. Re: Wheelchair/Disabled Help Chaos in Palma Airport

Unfortunately I have found that special assistance has been unsatisfactory on a few of occasions at different airports ie Manchester (has also been good, mostly) Liverpool (ok but poor attitude and manners) and Alicante.

I think it is just luck of the draw with how many people are using the services, however they know in advance as you must inform them in advance so why are they not prepared.

My wife had an awful ordeal getting up the steps on a flight a week ago, on making the top the Ryanair chief steward stopped her and rigorously scoured her boarding pass to see if she had assistance booked, she was almost on her knees getting on the plane and after diligently going over her boarding card ( anyone knows who use the assistance it is clearly marked ), he asked her if she really needed the assistance at Manchester on return...yes you idiot!!!! They had no assistance for her on arrival because he forgot to call through and we waited an age on the plane for it to come.

It is very unfortunate when these troubles happen and unfortunately the person requiring the assistance often just tries to get on with it (usually because they are embarrassed using the service in the first place) like the lady in referred to in this post...it is shameful.

John

Sussex
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3. Re: Wheelchair/Disabled Help Chaos in Palma Airport

Oh dear. Reading this has made me feel angry and sad. However it was kind of you to post it so that people are forewarned. My mum (RIP) was disabled but though things could be difficult we did find people could be lovely and helpful - particularly young people from teens to twenties. People working with wheelchairs in the UK are normally sent on training courses to handle brakes, footrests; not to mention talking to the person in the wheechair as though they are actually human. Ryanair have terrible form in this area.

Fareham, United...
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4. Re: Wheelchair/Disabled Help Chaos in Palma Airport

We came through Palma de Mallorca airport just over a day ago and have nothing but admiration for the staff. Our boarding gate was A10, right at the extreme end of the airport. The walk nearly killed the able-bodied but my wife was wheeled there by a very professional and friendly crew, that we have always found at every airport we have used.

They were there at the telephone point within minutes of my call.

At our arrival, I met an assistance system second to none. Two men collected us off the plane, one pushed my wife's wheelchair out to the awaiting transfer shuttle and the other would not even let me pick up a suitcase, not even off the carousel!

That was in contrast to the Thomas Cook reps both at the hotel and at the airport; the hotel one refused to do anything and passed-the-buck to the "many reps" who would meet us from the transfer coach and ensure that my wife would have a wheelchair as soon as she alighted. We did not see any reps, nor were there any seats for me to have my wife sit on while I tried to sort things out.

48hrs before our flight and never having been to Majorca before, I was left on my own to find out the procedures necessary to access the facilities available. Fortunately there was WiFi at our hotel so over a few hours, I was able to contact our carriers, Flybe, and confirm my wife's being registered for assistance on the plane. However there was a strike of French air traffic controllers, causing chaos across airports world wide, so Palma was no exception and the phone lines were jammed. Even the hotel reception staff tried, bless them, and they had to give up too. Panic was setting in until my eye fell on an email address on the AENA 'Request for Special Assistance website aena-aeropuertos.es/csee/ccurl/231/935/ONLIN… Now this was explained to be an email address for feedback, not for booking, but we were desperate. They answered me on the morning of our flight confirming that my wife was now registered.

So no thanks to the Thomas Cook reps at Majorca, we got there in the end. The one at the airport would not listen that there was a a telephone to phone from, even denying there was one, neither would he listen to the fact that we were with Flybe and not Thomas Cook Airlines and kept pushing us into the Thomas Cook check-in queue - keping my wife standin up - insisting a wheelchair will be arranged by the check-in clerk. The board in the airport that you make your calls from, a few yard where he met us and guided us away from, stands 8-10 feet high and about 4 feet wide, with yellow disabled logos on it. How can a rep who spends all day there and miss that?

Those guys who push the wheel chairs are wonderful people, have gone out of their way to help on many occasions, it is getting to them that we have problems with: airlines have their own systems for requesting Special Assistance, as do the the tour operators but they do not integrate. Both sides consider they have the perfect system and so it is us vulnerable ones who fall into the no-mans-land in-between. You only find out too late, at the crunch, as you are passing through the airport. I have found to my cost that to lessen the trauma you have to be PROACTIVE, I cannot say it loud enough. Believe nothing you are told that you cannot prove for yourself. At 10p per minute phone calls to airlines are expensive, but they are worth it in the end.

Sussex
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3,970 posts
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5. Re: Wheelchair/Disabled Help Chaos in Palma Airport

Thanks john-evelyn for sharing this with us - great to hear that you overcame all those obstacles and that things worked out. Plus your tips and advice could be very useful for those travelling with the less mobile.

London, England
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6. Re: Wheelchair/Disabled Help Chaos in Palma Airport

I travel to Spain fairly frequently and normally find their Special Assistance second to none. I have travelled through PMI on quite a few occasions and never encountered a problem. I think the problems often occur because the assistance ahs not been pre booked. Whenever I book a flight I book the SA at the same time with the airline. Although you need to book it via the airline it is provided by the relevant airport authority.

It is very rare I book a package deal, but on the odd occasion when I have I always contact the airline directly to ensure the assistance has been booked. I don't leave it to somebody else to do it.

7. Re: Wheelchair/Disabled Help Chaos in Palma Airport

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