Disabled writer left stranded on tarmac after Easyjet plane takes off without her

Liz Weir says she waved and screamed at the pilot, who shook his head before taxiing off and abandoning her
Liz Weir says she waved and screamed at the pilot, who shook his head before taxiing off and abandoning her

A disabled writer was left stranded on the tarmac of Belfast airport after the Easyjet plane she was due to take took off without her.

Liz Weir, 73, said she had waved and screamed at the pilot, who shook his head before taxiing off and abandoning her at Belfast International Airport.

“I’m in my seventies, I have a heart condition and I do not need the stress – and trust me, when you see your plane reversing without you on it, it is very stressful,” she told the Belfast Telegraph.

“A bus might go by you at the bus-stop, but you don’t expect a plane to go without you when you are scanned in and waiting at the gate.”

Ms Weir was one of three passengers in wheelchairs using the special assistance service to ensure they got on the flight but all were left behind – even though her luggage was aboard.

The county Antrim writer accused the budget airline of “discrimination” after missing a speaking commitment at a literary event in Edinburgh on Friday evening.

Ms Weir was one of three passengers in wheelchairs using the special assistance service
Ms Weir was one of three passengers in wheelchairs using the special assistance service

Easyjet said it would launch an investigation into the incident on the 1pm flight.

Ms Weir had arrived early for the flight from her home in Cushendall to check in on time and get to the gate early.

“A lady in a high viz jacket came and took me and another wheelchair user down to the runway as passengers began boarding at the gate,” Ms Weir said.

“We waited for everyone to get on and thought it was our turn next, but then the steps were taken away from the plane and they closed the doors.”

She added: “We were sitting there waving and screaming to the pilot. But he shook his head to say no and just kept moving off with my suitcase in the hold.

“All the able-bodied people were on board and we were left behind, what else could you call it other than discrimination?”

Passengers put on later flight

Ms Weir said she was in tears and a “basket case” after the incident. People had paid for tickets to hear her Irish tales of magic at the Penicuik Community Arts Association but were left disappointed.

“My daughter has pointed out ‘you’re not Taylor Swift’, but that’s not the point,” she told the Belfast Telegraph.

“I can’t blame easyJet for the actions of one person, but I do expect to be compensated for the inconvenience, stress and loss of earnings,” she added.

“We have urgently raised with the provider and our ground handling team to understand why this happened,” an Easyjet spokesman, who said the company was “very sorry”, said.

The stranded passengers were put on flights later on Friday evening.