A Leeds woman has told of the stress she was facing after spending months trying to get the help she needed ahead of her upcoming family holiday.
Valerie Coates, 66, is due to fly to Menorca from Leeds Bradford Airport with Jet2 in just a few weeks. But before today, she didn’t know if she would get the help she needed to get on the plane and was losing sleep as a result.
The long-awaited trip means everything to Valerie, who hasn’t been abroad in over a decade due to a complex medical condition.
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“This party is like a child at Christmas opening the long-awaited gift,” she said. It will be a well-deserved break for the Wetherby resident, who has had three spine surgeries in recent years after being diagnosed withspondylolisthesis.
She also had to receive “metal work from the waist down” and a spinal cord stimulator due to her condition, which is causing her “terrible pain”.
Valerie says she spent months trying to get in touch with the airline to make sure her particular support needs would be met. In addition to permission to take medication and a specially adapted cushion when traveling, Valérie wanted to ask for help at the airport because she walks with a crutch.
“There are obviously so many people and being rushed and agitated, I can’t deal with that,” she explained. But she had trouble getting in touch with the airline or the airport.
Although she first called Jet2 in April and tried “hours and hours every day”, she couldn’t “pass”. When she decided to contact the airport directly, “about a month ago”, she encountered the same problem. “You’re just suspended with music,” she claimed. On one occasion, she was put on hold for over an hour, before hanging up.
But luckily the problem is now solved. Valerie says that since LeedsLive contacted the airport and the airline, the problem was solved.
“It took a weight off me,” Valerie said, after the airline got in touch. Leeds Bradford Airport also liaised with Jet2 and provided a link to help passengers access help.
A spokesperson for LBA said: “Ensuring everyone has access to our airport is important to us and we apologize that this passenger was unable to confirm the special assistant’s requirements with the airport.
“In the event that passengers require further clarification for the reservation, which is usually made through the airline or travel agency, passengers may contact LBA’s Special Assistance team directly via email at [email protected] Further information can also be found on our Special Assistance page.
A spokesperson for Jet2.com and Jet2holidays said: “We can confirm that we have been in contact with the customer and are pleased to say that the special assistance required has since been fully arranged.”