Northern Ireland

Co Antrim storyteller Liz Weir tells of being left in wheelchair on airport tarmac as plane left without her

The internationally renowned narrator had been due to speak at an event in Scotland on Friday night

Liz Weir had been travelling to Edinburgh to speak at a storytelling event in Penicuik

Well-known storyteller Liz Weir has hit out after she was left sitting on the airport tarmac in a wheelchair as her flight departed.

The Co Antrim narrator said despite being at Belfast International Airport for more than two hours before her flight was due to depart, the “steps were taken away” as she and another wheel-chair user were brought to the plane.

She said it was “quite an image, two people sitting in wheelchairs on the tarmac as the plane backed away”.

Ms Weir, who has written around 30 books, was travelling to Edinburgh to speak at an event in Penicuik.

“I arrived at the airport around 10.30am and as I received special assistance, I was taken up to the lounge in a wheelchair,” she told The Irish News.

“Around 1pm, I was then taken to the plane, there was also another person in a wheelchair who had required assistance.

“But when we got to the tarmac, everyone else had boarded and the steps were being taken away.

“We waved up, but the pilot just shook his head.”

Ms Weir said there was “no explanation” given at all.

“And to make things worse, the plane left with my suitcase still on it.

“It’s totally discriminatory what has happened.”

Ms Weir said she had to subsequently cancel her appearance at a storytelling event in Penicuik on Friday night.

“That’s obviously a loss of money for me that I couldn’t get to the gig,” she said.

“But that must have been quite an image, two people sitting in wheelchairs on the tarmac as the plane backed away.”

An EasyJet spokesperson said: We are very sorry that flight EZY55 from Belfast to Edinburgh on Friday 21 June departed without three passengers who were being accompanied by the airport’s special assistance provider.

“We have urgently raised with the provider and our ground handling team to understand why this happened.

“We are doing everything possible to assist the passengers, arranging for flights to Glasgow and Edinburgh later this evening to get them to their destination as quickly as possible, and our team looked after them throughout and provided them with refreshment vouchers while they waited for their new flight.

“We will also be processing the compensation they are due.

“The wellbeing of our customers is our highest priority and we are very sorry for the inconvenience this will have caused.”