Autistic boy, 4, forced to sleep on Manchester Airport floor

Autistic boy, 4, forced to sleep on Manchester Airport floor. CreditCreative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0

A furious mum says her four year old autistic son was made the sleep on the floor after EasyJet cancelled their flight on Monday (May 23) afternoon.

Lauren Kennedy, from, Manchester, had booked a family holiday in a five-start hotel, Antalya, Turkey with her partner Shaun and their three children.

According to the Manchester Evening News, they were faced with hours of airport delays and their flight was later cancelled.

They have had to miss out on the five-star hotel they had booked as a birthday celebration as they had no way of getting there.

Lauren told Manchester Evening News that the family were not given any support after their flight was cancelled. She said her four-year-old son, who is autistic, was left ‘screaming’ in the crowds of people queueing up in chaotic airport scenes“.

She added: “When we got to the gate, they then gave us an update on the tannoy and said it was another 40 minutes, so we all waited around. When we got to the gate though it was chaos, there was no airline staff and we were in a big queue of people.

My little boy, who is autistic, didn’t deal with it very well – he was screaming in the middle of loads of people because it was just a big crowd.”
Lauren and her family then thought everything seemed fine after all passengers eventually boarded the plane.

No one knew what was happening until the crew announced the flight had been cancelled. Lauren went on to say: “They said something about the weather while other planes were flying off. They said crews had been working too long.

It was hectic, everyone was shouting. One of the pilots came out to speak to us.” The flight had initially been scheduled to depart at 4.15pm.”
They were told to go on the EasyJet app to report the disruption but reports are the app was not working at the time.

Describing the scene, Lauren said: “Kids were screaming everywhere and not understanding what was going on. There was a little boy behind us who had his headset on watching a programme, he took it off and thought he was in Turkey, it was awful.”

Passengers were stuck on the plane for at least 40 minutes before they were allowed off to get their luggage.

The passengers were then told to speak to the EasyJet representatives for an action plan.

Lauren struggled to find a representative for over an hour and said “My little boy was asleep on the floor – I had to leave him with his sister as we tried to find some EasyJet reps. Everyone was asking them questions and they didn’t know”,  she continued: “They gave us a leaflet. I asked how we can get a flight out tomorrow and they said to go on Skyscanner and pay for a flight out and go.

“There was five of us, it was coming up at £1,600 without luggage.” She said the next easyJet flight available to Antalya was scheduled for Saturday, so the family had to make the decision to go home.

They finally got back at around 1am. The family will now have to rebook a new holiday once they get the money back.

“It’s my son’s birthday today. He was meant to be waking up in Turkey. I’ve got two kids saying ‘are we going on holiday mum?’  “It’s the communication and the fact that we’ve had no help in any way.”

A spokesperson for EasyJet said: “Unfortunately, we were unable to operate the EZY1821 from Manchester to Antalya yesterday due to air traffic control restrictions earlier in the day leading to the crew reaching their maximum operating hours.

“We are very sorry for this late cancellation. We always aim to minimise the impact on our customers, providing them with the options to transfer to an alternative flight free of charge, or receive a refund or a voucher.”

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Written by

Anna Ellis

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