Bill and Shirley George, from Bury, say they found themselves stuck on the aircraft after arriving from Malaga shortly after midnight on Thursday, May 19.
The couple in their late 80s require wheelchair access due to mobility problems. The pair stayed in their seats after the cabin crew promised someone would come and help them get off the plane but after all the passengers had left, they claimed they were left in their seats as the crew and pilot also disembarked.
After 45 minutes, Bill said he was forced to leave the plane in search of someone who could help.
He said: “It was horrendous. They just left us on the plane and we were stranded.
“There was us and another four passengers, but nobody came to help.”
Airline TUI has blamed ‘limited ground handlers’ because of a delay to the flight.
Bill, 87, and Shirley, 88, have been on a two week holiday to Costa del Sol and say their journey already got off to a bad start after finding out their flight was delayed.
The flight eventually left Malaga for Manchester Airport but was 11 hours behind schedule.
Bill eventually got off the plane to look for a wheelchair after worrying no one was coming.
He said: “The airport was in darkness.
“Nobody was there so I went back to see if my wife was alright and the door was locked. I must have walked about two miles trying to find someone.”
Bill is currently waiting for a knee operation and suffers from mobility problems.
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After an hour, a member of staff eventually came wearing a “TUI vest”.
Bill explained the situation and was found a wheelchair and helped back onto the plane, but then claims to have been forced to push his wife through the terminal before they eventually left at 3am.
He added: “It’s diabolical. I’m not angry, I’m livid. My wife is knackered. She has a leaking heart valve. There’s no way she could have walked all that way.”
The couple’s son Ian was “appalled” at the way his parents had been treated, saying: “My mother was in tears when I spoke to her. The first thing she said to me was ‘I will never travel again’. They were both very distressed. They landed 11 hours late then they were abandoned for three hours. It was a horrendous experience for them. It’s put them off travelling again.
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“To go through that in your 80s is ridiculous. I don’t understand how a cabin crew can leave a plane with people still on it.”
According to the UK Civil Aviation Authority, passengers with a disability or reduced mobility are legally entitled to support, commonly known as ‘Special Assistance’, when travelling by air.
“This means airports and airlines must provide help and assistance, which is free of charge and helps ensure you have a less stressful journey,” the organisation says.
A spokesperson for Manchester Airport said: “We are sorry to hear of these passengers’ experience and are working with the airline and other third parties involved to understand the circumstances that led to the delay in disembarking them from the aircraft.”
A TUI spokesperson added: “We’re very sorry to hear of Mr and Mrs George’s experience. Unfortunately, due to the delayed flight, there were limited ground handlers available when it landed which resulted in a delay in assisting passengers off the aircraft. We can confirm that our crew waited for all passengers to depart the aircraft and no customers were left onboard at any time.”