Disabled BBC presenter slams BA after she was left ‘stranded in her seat’ without her wheelchair


A disabled TV presenter has blasted British Airways after she was left stranded in her seat without a wheelchair on a 12 hour flight.

Sophie Morgan, who fronted Channel 4’s Paralympics coverage in 2016, said she struggled to get the attention of a flight attendant on the trip from Buenos Aires to Heathrow.

Ms Morgan, 34, who has also presented documentaries for the BBC, told how she wanted to get water to take some pills, but for more than half an hour no one answered her calls.

She claims she hurled items down the aisle as she desperately tried to alert staff on board the British Airways jet – the official airline of Great Britain’s Paralympics team.

Ms Morgan said that when they did finally answer, they told her to ‘calm down.’

She said: ‘To try to (sic) explain what it feels like to not have any means of moving – short of dragging myself along the floor – is impossible.

‘It’s not OK to be treated so badly.’

Ms Morgan was paralysed from the chest down in a car accident when she was 18 years old.

The TV presenter had been in the Argentinian capital to speak at the Global Disability Summit.

However, after flying back with BA on Monday morning she took to Twitter to slam the airline’s service on the flight.

‘Just flown 12 hours with @British-airways,’ she said.

‘During the flight I was left unassisted, without my chair and with no means of contacting a flight assistant for over half an hour.

‘Called repeatedly but no answer. You have a duty of care.

‘How can you do that to someone who can’t walk?’

Sophie added that she was struggling to make a complaint to BA.

She wrote: ‘Furthermore, I have tried to make a complaint but can’t get through to ANYONE.

‘Please can someone contact me so I can report what happened?’

The TV presenter added: ‘I was throwing headsets down the aisle to try to get someone’s attention (without waking up everyone else in the cabin).’

She then posted several videos to her Instagram stories section, saying how upset she was by the treatment.

Sophie said that when a cabin manager walked past she spoke to her rudely.

She explained: ‘I said: ‘Please, please, please can you give me some water.’

‘I was quite stressed. She was like ‘calm down, you should just calm down, that’s not our fault’.

‘That’s not how you talk to someone who has just been left.

‘I know it’s first world problems, but you have a duty of care.’ 

Paralympians were quick to leap to Sophie’s defence on Twitter.

Shot put athlete Sam Ruddock, who competed at London 2012 and Rio 2016, responded: ‘Official airline’ of the Paralympic team, shaking my head.

‘Full of empty gestures and hollow actions, when it suits the bolstering of their public image.

‘Sick of this ‘you didn’t compete, so you aren’t worthy of attention’ attitude, Soph!’

Owen Hamilton added: ‘No airline should treat us wheelchair users that badly.

‘I’ve had a lot of problems in the past with various airlines meaning I no longer fly unless I have to.’

James Taylor from disability charity Scope – which Sophie is an ambassador for – said: ‘It’s disgraceful that any disabled customer has been put through a distressing experience like this.’

In March Ms Morgan told how she was also left stranded on an easyJet plane at Gatwick when her wheelchair was taken away.

The airport apologised after she was forced to wait on an empty place for 40 minutes while ground staff tracked down a wheelchair.

Ms Morgan had just received her A-level results when she crashed a car carrying four freinds in Elgin, Scotland.

They received minor injuries but she was trapped under the overturned car and ended up with a fractured back, nose and skull. 

The injury has left her paralysed from the ribs down and confined to a wheelchair.

Nine months after her accident Sophie took part in BBC Two’s show Beyond Boundaries which following 11 disabled people on a 220-mile trek across Nicaragua. 

Four years later she took part in Britain’s Missing Top Model, the reality TV search for a disabled model – and came runner-up.

She has also modelled Stella McCartney designs for Adidas in 2012.

Other shows she’s hosted include Licence To Kill about road safety, The World’s Worst Place To Be Disabled? which saw her travel to Ghana and has also reported for Horizon, The One Show and Channel 4 News. 

A British Airways spokesman said: ‘We carry hundreds of thousands of customers with disabilities each year and we work hard to provide help and assistance throughout the whole journey, from the point of booking to the final arrival.

‘We’re sorry to hear about this experience and we’re investigating what happened as a matter of urgency.

‘We’ve apologised to the customer and we’re in direct contact to try and resolve the situation.’


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