British Airways, the official partner airline of the Team GB Paralympic team, has been strongly criticised by Sophie Morgan – who presented Channel 4’s coverage of the Rio 2016 Paralympics – after she was left unable to attract the attention of staff during a long haul flight.
Morgan, 34, who is a paraplegic and cannot keep her wheelchair during flights, was left unable to seek assistance for 40 minutes while urgently needing water to take medication. The incident occurred while returning from a speaking engagement at the Global Disability Summit in Argentina.
“After waiting for 30 minutes I was getting really distressed,” the presenter and campaigner told i. “I needed to get their attention as I didn’t have any water, but didn’t want to shout and risk waking people up. I threw a few spare headsets down the aisle hoping someone would see them and come, but no one did. After 40 minutes finally someone wandered into the cabin.”
Having felt “entirely stranded”, Morgan shared her disappointment with the cabin manager who she claims told her to “calm down” and that it wasn’t the fault of staff if the buzzer hadn’t alerted them a passenger needed assistance.
Morgan says that once wheelchairs are taken to the hold disabled people are assigned an ‘aisle chair’, which she describes as “tiny, unsafe and impractical” and means passengers are reliant on cabin crew if they need to move around the plane.