Ryanair kick disabled man off flight over fear wheelchair could ruin the plane

A disabled man was left "humiliated" after claims he was kicked off a Ryanair flight after being told his electric wheelchair could "ruin the plane."

Noah Cunningham, from Southport, Merseyside, says he was set to fly to Rome from Liverpool John Lennon Airport on Thursday, April 8, with his brother and two carers with the money he had saved from his 18th birthday.

But Noah claims he had his dream trip "taken away in such a humiliating way" when staff decided his electric wheelchair wouldn't fit after he'd already boarded the plane.

Noah, who has Duchenne muscular dystrophy – a progressive, muscle-wasting condition, had provided the measurements of his wheelchair to the airline in advance of his trip, his mum Vicki told the Liverpool ECHO.

Ryanair said incorrect dimensions had been provided, and the wheelchair exceed the maximum dimensions to safely load onto the aircraft but Vicki said the airline didn't tell them there was anything wrong with the measurements they provided.

Vicki told the ECHO: "He's always wanted to go to Rome – he loves history. It was his 18th birthday. He had all this money for his birthday, he was going on this little trip that he's been planning for years stuck in lockdown and he was finally going to go.

"Lots of his friends are going on holidays now they're 18 and Noah can't do that. This was his little trip he was looking forward to and now it's been taken away in such a humiliating way."

Vicki said Noah had obtained letters from his GP and hospital ahead of travelling which explained the medical equipment he needed with him on the flight, including two ventilators, a suction machine and a feeding pump.

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He had also completed a waiver form sent to him by Ryanair to waiver the cost of carrying this medical equipment onboard with him.

However, Vicki said Noah first encountered problems when he arrived at the Ryanair check in desk on Thursday, where staff said they didn't know what the waiver form was and asked him to pay more than £70 to take his medical supplies onboard.

Vicki said her son's carers were dismantling his wheelchair to get it on the plane when the pilot allegedly approached.

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She said: "The pilot said 'you're going to ruin my plane. You're not putting that on.' At that point they'd broken the wheelchair – the control – you have to push him in it now."

Staff then came on board and escorted Noah off, Vicki said. Vicki said the situation is an example of the discrimination people with disabilities face on a daily basis.

The airline told the ECHO "as a gesture of goodwill, Ryanair has provided a full refund to this passenger."

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