Woman says she missed flight after being quizzed over deafness

  • February 19, 2010
  • Bruce Bromley

A WOMAN with a hearing disability claims she was asked by airline staff to prove she was deaf.

Lesley Stewart was refused access to a flight at London’s Gatwick Airport to Edinburgh with her registered hearing assist dog Molly, despite arriving at the check-in desk in plenty of time.

When staff from the budget airline EasyJet asked for proof of her disability, the 49-year-old pulled back her hair to reveal her hearing aids.

But by the time an airline manager came to speak to her, after a wait of an hour and 40 minutes, Ms Stewart had missed her flight.

It was only after the charity Hearing Dogs for Deaf People sent a fax to the airport confirming Molly’s status, that the airline relented and allowed her to fly on the next flight.

But Ms Stewart, of Jedburgh, Roxburghshire, was charged an extra £43 as a result.

She is now demanding an apology and compensation for the way she was treated by EasyJet staff.

She is being backed by he local MP, Michael Moore, and Hearing Dogs for Deaf People.

Ms Stewart, who works for the Royal National Institute for Deaf People as a project co-ordinator, said: “Molly and I have flown lots of times with EasyJet and never had a problem. But this was the first time I had flown from Gatwick.

“To be asked to prove I was deaf was absolutely ridiculous, and I definitely want an apology, money back for the flight and an assurance that the airline will take action to make sure no-one else with a disability has to go through that kind of experience.”

An EasyJet spokeswoman confirmed that the company would investigate the matter.