A military charity today voiced their disgust over the attitude of a member of Thomas Cook flight crew who said the lack of disabled facilities on board a plane was “not his problem.”
Pilgrim Bandits, which was set up by special forces veterans specifically to help forces amputees continue with an active life, took to Facebook to tell supporters about their flight back from Forces Families ‘R&R’ in Cyprus.
“ThomasCookUK 1st officer’s arrogant reply on flight back from Paphos on Sunday to why there was no wheelchair on board for any disabled to use the toilet “it’s not my problem, thank you for flying Thomas Cook.””
War Hero Ben Parkinson MBE, Britain’s most seriously injured soldier who lost both of his legs fighting in Afghanistan in 2006, was left in considerable discomfort by the lack of a wheelchair on the flight.
The Paratrooper was flying back from Paphos where he had been with the charity, for whom he is a Patron, on a families Rest and Recuperation break. The trip included five injured forces personnel who were unable to use the toilet for the whole of the four-and-a-half hour flight.
The charity explained that usually there is a wheelchair which is narrow enough to fit down the aisle of an aircraft. But in this case the chair which took the passengers onto the plane belonged to ground crew, not the airline.
The charity works with forces amputees and many of its participants have defied what doctors have said was possible, and even what many able bodied people would achieve, to undertake a series of adventures.
These include recreating the ‘Heroes of Telemark’ operation in Norway, honouring the heroic and hazardous sabotage operation behind enemy lines to stop Hitler developing a nuclear energy programme and Operation Frankton, kayaking the 75 mile route undertaken by Commados in the Second World War.
Mike Beard, the charity’s chief operations officer, said at the time,”Our lads will receive no special treatment – it’s a hardcore, gruelling trip designed to commemorate and highlight the sacrifice of so many.”
Breitbart London contacted the airline after hearing about the incident to ask if they would be investigating the claim and if they would change their policy to make sure all flights had wheelchairs on board.
We were told by Pilgrim Bandits that following our enquiry, they had received contact from Thomas Cook to ‘unreservedly apologise’ and that they would make sure that all flights had the appropriate equipment to make sure that the incident was not repeated. In addition, a Director would be contacting the charity this week.
In a statement to us, a spokesperson for Thomas Cook Airlines said: