Flybe has issued an apology after blaming disabled passengers and “shoddy equipment” for a delayed flight between Manchester and Belfast.
According to the Belfast Telegraph, passengers travelling on the flight were left “shocked” after one of the pilots cited “shoddy equipment” at Manchester Airport for the two-hour hold-up.
The statement came an hour after airline staff blamed issues with disabled passengers for the setback, the paper reported.
A businessman on the flight told the Telegraph: “I cannot believe staff blamed wheelchair passengers as their excuse for being late. Then to be told the equipment was shoddy, we were worried.
“We went to the gate to get the flight and the gentleman calling the flight said it was delayed by five minutes because they couldn’t get the wheelchair passengers off the aircraft. Then he came back on about 20 minutes later and said they were still delayed due to the disabled passengers. After that they came back and said they had technical problems with the plane. So we waited.”
Sometime later, passengers were allowed to board the flight, with the pilot allegedly stating that the delay was due to technical problems and shoddy equipment at Manchester Airport.
In an email to the businessman, Flybe said: “Having had the opportunity to reflect on the terminology used during this particular announcement, we accept that the information could have been relayed in a more appropriate way.
“This has been taken up with the pilot concerned, who stated he intended no offence and will in future ensure he is a little more measured when making future announcements.
“We would also apologise for the cabin crew comments for the misinformation regarding the comments made on board.
“As this was not the reason for the delay to this flight, I would like to extend our apologies for the misinformation which was provided to you from the flight crew, and for any added frustration this caused while waiting for departure.”
Flybe is understood to have launched an investigation into the incident.