• BBC Security Correspondent Frank Gardner was stranded on a flight at Gatwick airport after staff failed to assist him off the plane. 
  • Tweeting about the incident, Gardner said "Just WHY are UK airports so consistently crap at getting disabled people off planes?"
  • Gardner has used a wheelchair since 2004 when he was shot and paralyzed by an attack by Al-Quaeda. 

The BBC security correspondent has been stranded on a flight for the fifth time after staff failed to assist the wheelchair user off the plane. 

Journalist Frank Gardner was left on an Iberia flight at Gatwick airport when he returned on July 1 from Madrid, where he was covering the NATO summit. 

Tweeting about the incident, Gardner said "Just WHY are UK airports so consistently crap at getting disabled people off planes?"

He said that the airline crew departed the plane, and he was still waiting for assistance when a new crew onboarded. 

Gardner has used a wheelchair since he was partially paralyzed after being shot by Al-Qaeda while reporting in Saudi Arabia in 2004. 

In May 2022, Gardner was left on his flight at Heathrow airport after being allegedly told that there were "no staff" to get his wheelchair off the plane. 


He wrote that "disabled passengers are once again apparently the lowest priority." 

Speaking on the BBC, Gardner said that the May incident was the fourth time he has been stranded on a flight in four years, making Friday's incident the fifth time. 

Gardner added "It's not that they don't care, but it is a huge busy airport and they are frankly, not at the moment, up to the task of giving disabled passengers the service that they deserve."

Victoria Brignell, 45, waited more than 90 minutes at Gatwick Airport to be assisted off her British Airways flight Foto: Victoria Brignell

Three weeks ago, Gatwick and their outsourced access company Wilson James came under fire for leaving a disabled woman on a flight for 95 minutes. 

The staff at Gatwick airport never arrived to assist off the plane. 

Gardner commenting on this case to the BBC, said, "The airports seem to be slipping back. The level of investment and effort that goes into making money at these airports isn't matched by the effort and money that needs to go into getting disabled passengers off the plane at the same time as everybody else."

Two weeks ago, an 82-year-old man with mobility issues died after he fell down an escalator at Gatwick airport after disembarking an easyJet flight.

In a statement to Insider, a Gatwick spokesperson said: "We apologise for the delay Mr Gardner experienced on this occasion. We have been working closely with our assistance provider, Wilson James, to establish the reasons for this.

"At this stage, it appears there was no special assistance booking from the airline for Mr Gardner. However, as soon as we were made aware, the team responded and Mr Gardner received assistance within 20 minutes.

"We strive to provide the best possible service to all passengers so will continue to look into this with Wilson James and the airline concerned. We apologise again for any delay Mr Gardner experienced returning from the NATO summit in Madrid."

Wilson James nor Iberian Airlines have responded to Insider's request for comment. 

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