Teenager left without wheelchair on holiday after it was ‘lost by airline'

Michael Cloke, 17, has been borrowing wheelchairs at some of Paris' major landmarks.

Teenager from Edinburgh left without wheelchair on France holiday after it was ‘lost by easyJet’ PA Media

A teenager has been left stranded without his wheelchair on holiday after it was “lost” by budget airline easyJet.

Michael Cloke, 17, arrived in Paris on Tuesday but was told by easyJet that they could not locate his wheelchair, which had been checked into the hold.

Four days later the airline had still not located the chair.

His mother Gillian Cloke said the loss of the chair was having a “major impact” of her family’s holiday.

She said the experience had “derailed” holiday plans but the family were still trying to make the most out of their break.

Michael, who needs the chair due a heart condition causing severe fatigue, has been borrowing wheelchairs at some of the major landmarks in the French capital.

Mrs Cloke, a freelance book editor from Edinburgh, has received widespread support on social media after writing about the ordeal online using the hashtag #rightsonflights.

She said she checked in the wheelchair at Edinburgh airport, but the chair did not come out at the other end.

Asked if the loss was having a major impact on the family holiday, Mrs Cloke told the PA news agency: “Yes, that’s fair to say.

“It takes a lot of planning going on holiday with someone who is disabled.

“So we made our plans and then to lose a crucial bit of kit completely derailed our plans.”

The disruption has prevented the family from going on a much-anticipated trip to the Palace of Versailles, and Mrs Cloke described getting to the famous art gallery The Louvre as a “complete nightmare” because taxis could not get the family close enough for Michael to walk to the entrance.

“We have done everything we can, which involves sitting, the river tour, buses,” she added.

“It is beautiful and sunny and it’s Paris and we’re trying not to be ungrateful considering everything else that is going on here.”

The family tried seven organisations before they were able to hire a wheelchair on the fourth day of their visit.

Mrs Cloke described struggles trying to get through to the airline for help including difficulties with automated systems set up to help people with lost luggage instead of wheelchairs, being passed from pillar to post around the organisation and being forced to upload details time and time again.

An easyJet spokesperson said: “We are very sorry that Michael was left without his wheelchair following his recent flight from Edinburgh to Paris.

“We know how important it is for customers to feel confident that items like this will be well cared for when travelling with us so we are investigating with our ground handling partners at Edinburgh and Paris and with the airport’s special assistance provider.

“We are doing all possible to try and locate it and fully understand the inconvenience this will have caused them which we are very sorry for.

“The family have advised us they have been using a temporary replacement wheelchair and we have been in contact with them since Tuesday to ensure Michael’s wellbeing and see how we can assist them further.

“We will also be offering a gesture of goodwill to apologise for their experience and the delay in reuniting Michael with his wheelchair.”

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