A MUM has revealed the ‘distressing’ ordeal she suffered at Stansted Airport after being forced to sit her four-year-old daughter who has cerebral palsy on the tarmac due to the lack of disability assistance from airport staff.

Catherine Bird, from southern Oxfordshire, said she was forced to carry her daughter Tiegan, now age five, down the steps from the aircraft when airport staff failed to help arrange any lifts from the plane.

She then had to sit her ‘hysterically crying’ daughter on the ground while she tried to unfold and set up the wheelchair.

Also read: Woman banned from all town centre shops breaks rules THE NEXT DAY

Ms Bird, her daughter, and mother, said they had already waited half an hour from 11pm on the empty aircraft and then waited over an hour on the airport apron again unable to get into the airport building without assistance.

The ‘atrocious’ treatment she said happened in summer 2018 is one of two incidents, the other in 2017, Ms Bird says she has faced when flying back into Stansted with her family.

The second she claims involved having to carry her daughter through the airport, including passport control, after their wheelchair was sent to baggage claim.

Herald Series:

In a post on Facebook Ms Bird said: “I thought best to warn others about how atrociously this company treats disabled people.”

She said she would never fly from Stansted again, and has since travelled from other airports fine.

Stansted apologised and said special assistance was managed by a third-party provider which communicates with the airline. Ryanair also apologised.

Also read: Four injured in pub explosion

It comes as a study by the Data Investigations Unit at the Oxford Mail's parent company Newsquest found more than 700 people with disabilities or reduced mobility were left stranded at airports across the UK between 2015 and 2018 due to errors and failures with assistance services.

Staff shortages, connection times, gate changes and system errors were blamed for passengers being forgotten, stranded and missing flights despite booking assistance.

Late passengers and those who insisted on duty-free shopping also contributed to Civil Aviation Authority figures for stuck travellers released under the Freedom of Information Act.

Herald Series:

Airports and airlines are legally obliged to provide assistance to travellers with disabilities, with most airports contracting out.

A spokesman for the Department for Transport (DfT) said: “It is completely unacceptable for anyone to be prevented from travelling due to their disability, and we are committed to creating a transport network that is inclusive for all.”

The Civil Aviation Authority is expected to introduce new accessibility standards for airlines in the coming year and has already 'introduced more robust measures around waiting times and handover instances'.