Sophie Morgan hits out at British Airways over treatment of disabled passengers

The Loose Women star’s wheelchair equipment was damaged on a flight with the airline for the second time this year.
The Loose Women star’s wheelchair equipment was damaged on a flight with the airline for the second time this year.

British Airways is not making “tangible change quick enough” over its treatment of disabled passengers, Loose Women star Sophie Morgan said after her wheelchair equipment was damaged on a flight for the second time this year.

The 38-year-old presenter told the PA news agency that “no improvements” have been made since she launched a campaign calling for tougher rules for carriers in relation to mobility devices.

Morgan began the Rights On Flights initiative in February after her wheelchair was damaged beyond use on a British Airways flight from Los Angeles to London’s Heathrow Airport.

Last week she suffered a similar incident as her wheelchair attachment stored in the hold of an aircraft would not work after another flight with the carrier on the same route.

“The most likely cause is it being incorrectly handled,” said Morgan, who has also presented Crufts, the Paralympics, The One Show and Dispatches.

Sophie Morgan
Sophie Morgan said it is ‘extremely debilitating’ when wheelchair equipment is damaged on a flight (Matt Alexander/PA)

Morgan met British Airways officials on Monday to discuss the airline’s progress in improving its service for disabled passengers and how it looks after their equipment.

She said: “It was encouraging. They’re really aware and they’re just working on every front … to make sure that the system is better.”

This includes analysing aircraft design, staff training, and ground handling operations.

There is “a lot going on” in terms of work towards helping disabled passengers, she said, but added: “I wouldn’t say we’re seeing real-world tangible change quick enough.”

Morgan, who was paralysed from the chest down in a car crash when she was 18, said there is “nothing more frustrating” for a disabled airline passenger than having their mobility device damaged.

“It’s more than just an inconvenience,” she said.

“It is extremely debilitating. It’s unforgivable.

“I think people perhaps don’t quite understand this severity, the damage it does to your life and your ongoing confidence when flying.

“I keep hearing more and more disabled people saying they don’t want to fly anymore.”

A British Airways spokesman said: “We’re really sorry for our customer’s experience and are in direct contact with her to resolve the issue as we investigate what happened.”