TV presenter Sophie Morgan calls £5,000-worth of damage to her wheelchair by British Airways ‘an assault’

‘An attack on a wheelchair is an attack on a human being,’ says inclusive travel campaigner

Helen Wilson-Beevers
Wednesday 15 February 2023 12:19 GMT

Loose Women’s Sophie Morgan says wheelchair was ‘broken’ by staff during BA flight

TV presenter Sophie Morgan has called damage done to her wheelchair on a recent British Airways flight “an assault.”

Ms Morgan was flying home to the UK from a holiday in California when the £5,000-worth of damage occurred.

The Loose Women panellist and disability advocate, who is paraplegic, is known for campaigning for inclusive and accessible travel.

In an interview with the Express, Ms Morgan said: “It is an assault, an attack on a wheelchair is an attack on a human being. They are part of us.

“They are not luggage. I struggle with someone even touching my wheelchair, as it’s the same as touching a person’s legs.”

Ms Morgan shared a video showing the damage caused in an Instagram post on 31 January.

She explained that someone “decided to attach my wheelchair and my batec (battery-powered attachment) while in transit”, despite them being checked in separately.

Ms Morgan added that this had been done without her permission and was “completely wrong.”

It then took over half an hour for airline staff to “break them apart”, but Ms Morgan said that they had unscrewed so much of it that the wheelchair was “unsafe to use.”

Ms Morgan added that she “then discovered more damage.”

“I’m in such shock at the state of this, I can’t speak”, she said.

In a follow-up post Ms Morgan described the following “rollercoaster few days” and said that British Airways had been in touch to apologise.

Ms Morgan said she’s “incredibly lucky” to have a replacement chair to use while hers is being repaired.

She added that those needing to wait months for their mobility aids to be fixed is “just not acceptable.”

She referenced the “horror stories” about wheelchairs being damaged – “obviously mine included” – and said: “but I really don’t want them to put you off travelling”.

“Please don’t let it stop you,” she emphasised, highlighting that “airlines do need to take better care of our chairs.”

“Our wheelchairs are our legs,” Ms Morgan said. “When airlines say they don’t have the space, they do have space, they just don’t want wheelchairs in that space.”

In a statement shared with The Independent, British Airways said: “We’re extremely sorry for Sophie’s experience and we’ve been in contact with her to sincerely apologise and to resolve the matter directly.

“We carry hundreds of thousands of customers who require additional assistance each year and we work hard to provide help and support them throughout the whole journey. It’s extremely disheartening when things go wrong, and we don’t underestimate the impact this has.

“We’re committed to ensuring we deliver a consistently good service, and we’ll be working closely with Sophie and our dedicated accessibility teams to discuss how we can continue to make improvements to ensure a great flying experience for everyone.”

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