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Flight Disruptions’ Impact on Individuals with Medical Conditions [unreported stories]

Flight Disruptions’ Impact on Individuals with Medical Conditions [unreported stories]

Joanna Teljeur
Written By Joanna Teljeur
Last Updated: June 07, 2024

If you’re healthy, flight disruptions can be annoying and inconvenient, but if you have a medical condition, a delay or cancellation can turn into a life-threatening ordeal. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) reports that each year, a sizable number of passengers with medical or health conditions travel by air, requiring customized support to help them make their way through airports and their flights.

In this report, we bring the personal and unpublished stories of these passengers to light. Many of these passengers have had to endure health repercussions as the result of repeated delays, cancellations, missed connections, and denied boarding situations. From missed medications to exacerbated symptoms, each account illustrates the level of suffering that flight disruptions can cause. 

Keep reading as we bring these powerful accounts to light and raise awareness for improvements in the airline industry especially for those who need it the most. 

Flight Delays

RyanAir

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I suffer from fibromyalgia, and the 11 hour delay was horrendous. No vouchers for food etc and the airport was so busy that half the time we ended up sitting on the floor. There was no word from RyanAir at all in the airport. We waited in the tunnel to board the plane for half an hour or more then sat another two hours on the plane before takeoff. My daughter who was with me suffers from anxiety and between that and my fibromyalgia we found it very distressing.

British Airways

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They were trying to get a replacement pilot for 4 hours and, in the end, delayed the flight by 25 hours. We were given an overnight hotel and food but this significantly disrupted our trip and cut it short - this was an important anxiety-inducing family reunion after 12 years, and after considerable health problems for both my partner (recently recovered from 2.5 years of cancer treatment) and his mother (bypass, oxygen, lack of mobility, mental health problems). He already suffers from anxiety and due to this disruption was on the verge of a panic attack multiple times.

British Airways

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The flight did not take off on time and therefore I missed the connecting flight with BA. I was booked onto Qatar airways which took off 12 hours after my initial scheduled flight. My initial travel time of 21 hours became 39. Final destination arrival 8.20am the following day 10 hours after scheduled time. No care whatsoever that was useful. I was offered a hotel where I had to take a taxi or bus at 10pm on a bitterly cold winter’s night at -7C. Also a £10 voucher when all the shops were closed on a Sunday evening. The person at the help desk was unhelpful and uncaring about my medical condition as a diabetic and I was going hypo[glycemic]. Fellow stranded passengers gave me water and biscuits. 

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I endured 10 hours in a bitterly cold airport overnight and nearly had a hypoglycaemic that is low blood sugar attack. The immigration officer helped me find my way to the connecting terminal. My paid for transport at the arrival had to be rebooked costing me double the money.

AlbaStar

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We are a party of 4 adults. At check in only to be told by another passenger at the front of the queue our flight is 10hr delayed. No reason given by airline staff when asked, only to be told to go to another side of the airport and await instructions. After waiting 3 hrs we were told we could stay at the airport or go to Aquarium where we would get a snack and dinner at 4.30pm - soft drink, which was a small ham bread roll for snack and an orange and doughnut for dinner at 4.30!!! We had no breakfast or lunch previously. 

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We arrived by coach at the Aquarium at approx 11am and the coach will return to pick us back up to return to Airport at 6.30pm - 7 hrs 30 min later! I have Trilateral Osteoarthritis in my knee, and with all this walking around, I was in tears with the severe pain. I could barely walk, as I had no more medication as I took enough to get me home early afternoon that day. 

EasyJet

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Boarded the plane at 5AM to be sat waiting for around 2 hrs due to issues with the airplane phones and then the flightdeck. We were then taken off the plane as it could not be fixed and the flight out was delayed till around 12:30 PM. It didn’t arrive until 1:30PM, and was stuck in customs for around 2 hours due to high queues. 

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Lost out on half a day of holiday and nearly lost hotel booking! We were given drinks as a sorry but not enough! Service was awful from the staff on the gate. Also, partner was forced to put a bag in the hold due to a change in rules for 28 pounds. Partner also had an asthma attack due to the bags being away for so long with vital inhalers in, which was not taken out due to rush at gate! Luckily another passenger helped last min with her own medication! 

TUI

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No one told us the flight had been postponed and moved ... had to get and pay for our own taxi ... no food allowance at the airport even though the flight didn’t leave till 7pm (delayed) I never saw a rep once!!! Got picked up at 8am and yet the flight was delayed again!!! Missed 24 hrs of holiday which caused my partner's IBS to flare up and anxiety to kick in. She was in tears and shaking from crowded airports and moving from one to another! 

Stressed woman at airport with headache issue

Aer Lingus

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Although passengers were told there would be ground staff to help us with overnight accommodation etc, none of the ground staff appeared to have any knowledge of this even though they were aware of the delayed flight we had endured. I am not aware of anybody being looked after but this did mean that I had to stay at a hotel and had to borrow money to do so. 

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I am a 64 year old grandmother with a severe immune disorder which means I am in a lot of pain most days and would be unable to sit overnight in an airport.  However, Aer Lingus at least was able to put me on the same flight the following night at no extra cost and advised me where to go for a hotel stay. This meant having to borrow money as I had been traveling for a couple of months. I arrived at my final destination 24 hours later than I had booked arriving. The delay caused me a lot of anxiety and loss financially.

Norwegian Air

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Before landing (we were less than 10 minutes away), the airplane went around in circles like it was waiting for something when the Captain said we were waiting for approval to land. Approximately an hour later, the Captain said we needed to land in Miami (Fort Lauderdale) because there was a storm in Orlando and they would not let us land there. So we landed in Miami 30 minutes later (it was around 4:30 pm) and we were forced to wait 4.5 hours in the plane with almost no information as to why we were being kept inside the plane.

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I am Pre-Diabetic (I have a Medical Certificate that proves it) and I was denied the right to buy food because one of the crew members said they were not authorized to sell us food. At exactly 9:03 pm they gave us some snacks, but the buses arrived at 9:18 pm. I lost my connection and had to wait an additional 2.5 hours to get my luggage. I didn’t eat a meal for approximately 14 hours, being a patient with a history of diabetes, and was denied the right to buy food, I waited more than 7 hours detained in both the plane and baggage claim and was misinformed throughout the whole flight.

Emirates

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We received multiple text messages saying our flight had been delayed, and finally delayed by 5.5 hours. We were then informed on arrival that the next leg of our journey was delayed by 5 hours!! We were just told to wait around for 5 hours. Not happy!! We then had to go to an airport lounge, costing 47 USD, as we did not want to sit on the plastic uncomfortable chairs.

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Finally boarded after 5 hours and delayed for the second time. Delayed again for two hours, while we waited for the next domestic flight to the boat port. We were in our sweaty traveling clothes for over 24 hours, and we were unable to take any of our medication as these were packed in our luggage, which was checked in. I have high blood pressure, PTSD, and various other tablets that have to be taken at the same time every day. My husband has bowel disease, also having to take his tablets at the same time every day. 

Aer Lingus

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We were notified of a delay until 12:40. The flight did not depart until 13:35. We had a connection scheduled. Due to construction on the runway, air traffic was heavy and aircraft had to circle for some time. Our aircraft did not have enough fuel to continue circling and had to detour to refuel in order to continue on. It took an hour to refuel and take off. No water was offered during this time and we were instructed to remain seated. 

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We departed and arrived @ 17:26. We were directed to the gate to receive instructions for rebooking the flight and information on hotel and food vouchers for the night and breakfast. We were bused to the hotel and arrived @ 19:45 then had approximately an hour wait to check in. We were hungry, thirsty and tired! The food at the hotel was overcooked and inedible. I’m a cancer patient and have lymphedema. I needed to take medication at a specific time each day and was unable to. This became an extremely stressful episode.

Air France

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I am writing on behalf of my mother, an elderly person who is diabetic and has a heart condition. I booked a flight with assistance. The flight was supposed to leave at 7:25 pm but was one hour late. The assistance I requested arrived late which led her to miss her connection because no one turned up to collect her and take her to the next flight. When the assistance I booked for her turned up, she already missed the plane. 

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I was sent an email to let me know (2h later) and I realized I did not know how to contact my mother due to the fact that nobody told me or explained to me how they would sort things out.

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She had to ask the person who was pushing her to call me and let me know where she was. She was put in a hotel for 24-hours without food. They gave her €15 to buy herself food but she could not as she needed assistance (wheelchair) and she does not know the language spoken.

RyanAir

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Flight originally delayed 1 hour. Boarded the plane whilst the mechanic was onboard. Around 25 minutes into the flight, the pilot informed us we had to land due to technical problems with the plane. This was scary, stressful and caused me extreme anxiety. We should have been half way home but instead landed back at the airport to be met by one Ryanair staff member and told we would not be flying tonight and they couldn’t provide any transfers or accommodation. We were told to find our own and be back in the airport at 8am. 

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We were sent out of the airport via arrivals, the only place to wait was in the check in area. I suffer from ventricular fibrillation, so I have a pacemaker and defibrillator in my chest, so sleeping on the tiled hard floor was impossible as the air con was on full all night making it very cold in an empty airport. The doors are unlocked all night so many homeless people seek comfort inside that area. This combined with the stress, upset and being on the floor all night sleep wasn’t an option as I felt very vulnerable. 

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The flight was planned for 10am but again pushed back to 12pm. We were put on the bus and taken to the same plane. The doors opened, and it was clear to see the plane was not ready for us. Wires hanging below doors - it was obviously still being checked over/ fixed. Knowing we were set to get back on the same plane and the lack of communication from the company I felt sick. It was very unprofessional. We were rescheduled for a 3rd time for 1pm. Being in the airport for almost 24 hrs, we finally set off home - A full 24hrs after our original flight. 

British Airways

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My flight was delayed and delayed further, which made me miss my connecting flight. I was assured on the flight that I would be put into a hotel. This then wasn’t the case as when I got to the helpdesk, they were really rude and really unhelpful. All they said was sorry, not our problem. You'll have to find your own accommodation for the night which at 11 pm in London was really expensive and hard to find. So then, I was forced to stay the night on the floor of the airport, which was my first time flying on my own which was quite traumatic as I have epilepsy and anxiety disorder, so as you can imagine this caused me great concern about my health as nobody was around and I was on my own.

TUI

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We were brought to the airport around 10am, the flight did not depart until 5pm and although we did land a mere 5 hours 19 minutes after expected, the actual waiting time in poor conditions was much longer. As there was not enough seating, sitting and lying on the hard floor at my age and with medical conditions was extremely difficult and proved to be painful and exhausting. I am still recovering two days later. 

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I should also say, there was no water or any kind of food provision in that time. I am extremely bitter, tired and in physical pain as a result of the delay, but what really made the experience desperate is your lack of clear communication and staff making jokes when all we needed was to acknowledge it was happening and let us go out to stretch and eat instead of sitting on the hard tiled floor in cramped conditions. 

TUI

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Our rep told us that we were going to be delayed by 4 hours. He said that they were giving us all a voucher of 8.00 Euro that was given to us at check-in. The only option we could get was a bottle of water and a sandwich. These were not edible and out of date. Due to this, we could only get a bottle of water each which they took both tickets off me so we could not even try and get another 2 drinks with the other voucher, and we had to purchase these as an extra. 

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We had not had any food as we left the hotel before breakfast was open, which we both needed to eat due to our medical conditions, and the only thing we could buy to eat was chocolate and sweets in the café as well as duty free. This is something that is not good for our health. We had spent around 7 hours in the airport waiting there were no updates given to us at all. My cousin and I have medical conditions and our medication was in our cases that got put in cargo. I am type 2 diabetic and and she has IBS and suffers with high blood pressure and is borderline diabetic which we both need our medication to control our conditions.

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We packed these in our cases as when it was time for our afternoon tablets we would of been home to take them. With the stress of the day my cousin went to the doctors and she was borderline for a stroke as her blood pressure was extremely high. 

TUI

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Flight canceled at check in with no warning. I started to worry about my son's medication as he was running low and drinking an excess amount. He suffers with diabetes insipidus which is very scary when medication is low as the result could potentially be serious. At this point, I had come out in a nasty rash from my neck down to chest due to stress and worry of getting my son home and the rest of our children aged 5  to 15 who were scared and hungry.

Emirates

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Having been suffering from extensive anxiety and depression I thought this break would provide me with some comfort and help relieve these disorders, little did I know it was soon to be quite the opposite.

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On the day of the flight subsequent to checking in at the airport we initially received text and email communication to notify us the flight had been delayed which was then followed by a second communication of it now being canceled. After numerous attempts trying to locate an attendant at the emirates flight desk we were advised to just wait around for updates. Having waited an additional  hour we still had no further information and no support staff were available in any form to answer any of our questions. 

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At this point we had now both started to panic and as you can imagine we were both very tired as we had been up since 4am. Given the fact that I also suffer from Plantar Fasciitis and having been standing since 5.00am at the airport , my feet had severely swollen which meant I was now struggling to even walk or stand. As we were still unable to locate any support from Emirates staff my blood pressure was rocketing to an unhealthy level.

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I was not happy with the Emirates airport staff as they were not helpful at all and had no answers to any of our questions. We were asked to make our way to the hotel, being advised it was just a 10-minute walk away. This was not the case, we had to push our luggage for 25 minutes and locate this hotel with no support or transport to help us. Having suffered immense anxiety and stress we had both reached breaking point, having no choice but to push our luggage we were both feeling unwell and exhausted. I did not enjoy the break as planned and I was very ill after all the occurrences that happened following the flight cancellation. 

EasyJet

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The flight, originally scheduled for 10:40 PM, was delayed and subsequently canceled, leaving me stranded until the rescheduled departure [that was] delayed further to 1:50 PM.

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As a passenger suffering from an upper respiratory tract infection, I must emphasize that EasyJet’s prolonged delays and my subsequent sleep disruption have had devastating consequences for my health. The hours of standing at the airport due to EasyJet’s incompetence have inflicted severe physical discomfort, even leading to blisters on my feet. I can provide evidence of this, including photographs and physical documents, as well as documented proof of my throat infection.

Flight Cancellations

RyanAir

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I traveled with my 2 friends and our flight was due to depart at 8:45 . The flight was delayed until 12:00 pm. No flight vouchers were provided, and the airline did not communicate with us about the delay or cancellation. We were stuck at the gate for at least an hour, and I have a condition where I suffer with severe anxiety. I explained this to the airline and said I needed to leave the gate (a small, locked room), and they would not let me. This resulted in me having a panic attack and having to lie on the floor with no help.

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I was kept against my own will and my human rights were infringed. The flight then was officially canceled, and we had to wait at the airport until 3am for a hotel to be provided. Our next flight was at 8:55am the following day, meaning I had 2/3 hours sleep. Then our flight was also delayed. I am disgusted with the service provided and will not be using this airline again. 

RyanAir

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We passengers were notified that the flight was canceled at the very last moment whilst awaiting boarding at the gate. We waited 6 + hours throughout the night in a queue at the Ryanair desk, refused water by Ryanair crew (I requested it for all, then for myself, repeatedly, as I have an autoimmune medical condition with medication causing dehydration). After 5 am, a coach was finally provided for transfer to a hotel for the night which arrived at about 6am. By my turn at the desk, the next seat available for me, without paying for alternative airline or destination flights, was for 4 days later. 

EasyJet

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Got notification that our flight had been canceled. Went to the airport to find EasyJet staff but was informed they had all left the airport and the desk was closed. Could not get a response from EasyJet by phone. Airport staff arranged transport and a hotel for the night. Day after, we could not get through to EasyJet by phone so went online to find alternate flights with Easy jet but nothing available until the following Sunday. 

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I had not got enough medication to last, so I had to go to Airport Pharmacy. I am disabled and needed medication which I couldn’t get at all from Airport so I had to pay for what they had and get the rest from Amsterdam. I needed to go home as my 81 year old husband who has dementia was on his own as his carer was not able to stay with him any longer. My anxiety was through the roof and I had to get home.

SriLankan Airlines

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My direct return flight was disrupted on my way back to Heathrow. I experienced a 4+ hour delay and was told to stay overnight in Vienna due to my direct return flight being canceled. My subsequent flight was also delayed by 6+ hours. The whole experience was painfully disruptive and stressful due to my health conditions. I was unable to take my medications on time (for diabetes, depression and other medical issues).

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I am underweight due to my health conditions and was unable to eat anything during the delay on my flight which also caused me more physical and mental stress. It also caused my family stress as the airline was unresponsive and did not answer when being contacted. 

Aer Lingus

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Flight canceled while I was at the airport awaiting information on boarding (flight had been delayed according to the digital screen). Aer Lingus put me up in Hotel. Because of my serious medical issues, Aer Lingus eventually found a seat on the plane. Spent the Bank Holiday Monday locating a pharmacy and arranging for the pharmacist to administer emergency epilepsy medication. 

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All was a major stressful inconvenience. I need to take medication, as a relatively newly diagnosed epileptic, every 12 hours. I had brought enough medication to see me through my visit. It took several hours to locate an open pharmacy and another hour as the pharmacist needed to verify the prescription (which is a controlled drug) before dispensing an emergency prescription. I cannot emphasize how stressful this experience was. 

EasyJet

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Our flight was canceled. We were only given about 3 hours notice by Easyjet who said we had to leave the airport, find our own accommodation and flights home. We followed their instructions. All flights were fully booked for that week with all other airlines. EasyJet’s communication was not clear. My daughter suffers from anxiety and depression and has been on medication for a year and a half. She is under a psychiatrist and has been receiving therapy and treatment for over 2 years now. She had a panic attack at the airport and in subsequent days. 

Upset woman at airport sitting on a bench

Brussels Airlines

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We arrived at check-in before 10am and we were standing there for over an hour with our stuff. The travelers started to get worried because I suffer from depression disorder. I started to get very anxious. I was numb, and I couldn’t talk. My sister had to talk for me because I was under pressure. This incident gave me anxiety. The staff were informing us that there was no plane on Air France. It was fully booked, and we had to go through Ethiopia. This was very frustrating for me. I was really upset and I spoke to the manager and explained why we couldn’t travel with Air Ethiopia. The manager then offered us a Air Brussels because it was full, so the date for us to return to the Uk was not fixed. 

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Air Brussels opened really late for checking, and that’s how we found out about the flight being canceled. The customer service was very poorly. It then took us more than 6 hours to book and place us in a hotel. I had anxiety and I went through a lot of stress. 

EasyJet

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We all found out the flight got canceled whilst standing in the line to check in. We did eventually get transferred to a hotel. We were there for 2 nights. However, on the first night, the reception of the hotel helped us to find a flight the following day. We got to the airport on time again to find out the hotel gave us the wrong information regarding our flight. 

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My fellow passenger suffered from a brain injury and lupus and is still recovering taking many medications daily. The pills ran out making her daughters panic as she has never gone a day without her medication so we needed to get a flight. She had already missed her medication. A worker that worked for TUI airline helped us to find a doctor to help us find medication for her. We eventually did get medication and ended up going back to the hotel for a last night. 

British Airways

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I sat there waiting for my flight to board only to be told by another passenger that my flight was canceled. 

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I’d been sitting and  waiting at the departure lounge not knowing my flight had been canceled. There was no intercom message to let us know. I asked a TSA member of staff what to do, as nobody told me anything. 

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I suffer with Anxiety and Depression. It was all becoming too much. So, I had to take a side door with other passengers past security to get to the check in desks. The queues were so long, I queued  for two hours. I got to the desk finally and was told after two hours that I can go standby on a different flight. I was at Logan international for six hours and 21 minutes.

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I needed a drink as I have diabetes but did have one, and it was awful. I’m so anxious about ever flying BA again. A security guard at check in was so rude to a passenger. The security guard shouted so loud which didn’t help my PTSD. 

Wizz Air

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We received confirmation that the flight was canceled 1 hour before it was due. We waited for 30 minutes before somebody, who only spoke French, came to inform us that we had to leave the building and to get to a counter where people were supposed to give us further instructions. So we left. When we arrived at the counter there was chaos. I started crying. I am diabetic, and I had medicine for one extra day. I also take injections. I was really upset. My sugar levels were high because of the shock. We had to get up really early. I only had one pill for diabetes, I should have taken 2 pills. My health was in a serious disruption. Luckily we reached our home. 

Wizz Air

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Myself and 3 friends along with the rest of the passengers had an overall delay of around 27 hours resulting in the flight being canceled. We were with all the remaining passengers awaiting instruction within the airport. No one presented any form of proper information, no suggestion of hotel, food or water or what options were available to us. Everything was just vague. 

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This presented us with no option but to sleep within the Airport on the floor. These conditions were appalling. We were subjected to unhygienic floors, stray animals, dogs and cats, mosquitos biting all of us and toilets with feces on the floor. In addition to this, we were flying with a vulnerable friend, who is type 1 diabetic. 

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The situation became more concerning as no shops at these times were open, causing our friend to have a hypoglycaemic episode, a serious medical condition, but thankfully he had a sugary drink to get to the next morning. He had to limit his intake of insulin forcing him to stay in a hypoglycemic state all night to prevent him becoming unconscious as there was no water or food to access. This is extremely dangerous and put his welfare in danger. 

British Airways

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Upon our arrival at the airport, we were taken aback to discover that our flight had been canceled. To our dismay, we had never received an email confirming this cancellation, leaving us unaware of the situation until that moment. Considering the importance of a family event we were attending, I immediately sought alternative options from the British Airways staff. 

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Regrettably, due to my husband’s health issues, such a delay and additional travel was not a practical choice for him. Consequently, I accepted the flight which resulted in our late arrival to the family event. This unexpected change and delay caused immense stress and anxiety for both of us. The cancellation of our outbound flight without ample notice caused significant stress, anxiety, and disappointment for both myself and my husband.

Aer Lingus

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When we arrived at the airport, we were informed that our connecting flight no longer existed.. . This resulted in a 12 hour, overnight delay. We were never given the option to select a different connecting flight nor informed that the previous flight was canceled. We had received no email informing us of the cancellation. 

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This trip was our honeymoon and so the delay was more impactful than usual. Additionally, traveling is extremely stressful for me, and I take anti-anxiety medications. I have both generalized and social anxiety disorders. Having such a drastic change happen at the last minute, without any warning, was distressing and my husband spent the first night and next day of our trip simply trying to calm me down.

TUI

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Upon our arrival at the desk we were advised by one of your representatives that the flight had been canceled and to, ‘Sit and wait for the remaining passengers and their luggage retrieval’. At this time there was no information given as to how long this wait would be, just that we would be spending the night in a hotel near the airport. I had asked at what time the flight would be. The reason for needing to know this was because [fellow passenger] is diabetic and insulin dependent. This medication MUST be taken morning and night. 

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[Passenger] had the necessary medication for his holiday. If the medication is not taken, blood sugar levels go up and you’re prone to kidney disease and stroke(s). Uncontrolled high blood sugar can lead to serious health consequences including heart disease. I asked what support could be made available to us to arrange for us to go to a local pharmacy and ask for support, information and guidance or potentially an emergency support medication kit (rescue pack). The representative at this point said she would need to speak with her colleague who did come and speak with me and confirmed that he was not able to help in any way. He said he could not help even though he knew that medication was needed and important to life. He also confirmed that TUI could not offer any guarantee of the time of the flight the following day. 

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At this point we had run out of options and for this reason we had to buy flights with another airline, not through choice but through necessity. To remain in Dalaman with the lack of support or information from TUI and by not offering a flight time alternative this potentially becomes life threatening. We are now all fully aware that the delay was over 26 hours. As previously stated, a delay of over 26 hours may have had serious consequences.

Delta

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There is assistance requested on my ticket due to disabilities ( spine,PTSD). The flight was canceled. Delta . . . rebooked our trip only after I insisted that I am not feeling well and I will report her if she is not helping me. We arrived at the hotel she sent us at 7:10 PM. The hotel didn’t have electricity since 1 PM. As per my medical disabilities I have restrictions, one of them being heat. The clerk refused to transfer us to a different hotel, making me wait in a room with no AC when outside the temperature was 35C- 95F saying that the electricity will be restored at 8:39 PM. Due to the long waiting time, standing around to deal with a lot of issues, I was in a lot of pain, anxiety, I couldn’t sleep because I didn’t have the special pillow to help with pain, it was in my check in luggage. 

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We left the hotel at 11:30 AM with the assistance attendant from the airport. The flight was delayed again . . .I started to get a lot of anxiety, I felt very sick, panicked on top of unbearable pain. Due to the cancellation I missed medication I am taking for 3 days, I was in a lot of pain, numbness, excruciating headaches (I have a neck surgery), more anxiety and panic attacks.”

Denied Boarding

EasyJet

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Arrived well in time at the airport. Organization from EasyJet inside the airport was awful. No staff organizing. We queued for ages. We got to the front of the queue for passport checking, only to be told to wait whilst staff then proceeded to let other customers through behind us. We eventually got to sorting our baggage (a couple of the machines were broken or not working) so that took time. 

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Eventually we got through only to rush and get some water, as I have to take 8 tablets around 7ish for various illnesses I have. We got to the gate, only for it to be shut in front of us. We explained the hold up, with which the member of staff stated that “you had time to buy water”; and then just walked off. People were still on the tarmac and still boarding the plane. 

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He wouldn’t even let me explain about my health problems, and the reason I needed to take my medication. 

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This actually upset me more than not being able to board, as I felt so upset that not all disabilities are visible. I have six medical conditions that I have to deal with every day. I needed water for my meds, and could not take a chance waiting on the plane for any. We found out the plane actually departed half an hour late. 

Wizz Air

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I have been diagnosed with Treatment Resistant Major Recurrent Depressive Disorder and having to go through 3 hours of delays and then to be denied boarding at the end of everything has done me a lot of harm and set me back in my recovery somewhat. Wizz Air did not tell me anything. Nobody was available from Wizz Air to tell me anything. It was all dealt with by an airport supervisor not affiliated with Wizz air. The airline provided no care. 

Iberia

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Denied boarding at the gate and the door was shut. The gate personnel reopened the gate, but my daughter was told that she could not take her carry-on bags with her. The bags were taken from her and tossed out to the airport tarmac. In her confusion and frustration at being hassled at the gate, she did not grab her anxiety/depression medicine out of the carry-on.

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The bags were delayed for over 2 weeks and because of the loss of the medication and no European equivalent she went into withdrawal with many side effects associated with an immediate stop to the medication vs a gradual withdrawal. She went into a high fever, sweats, vomiting and diarrhea to name a few.   

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I had to have her Dr. order a new prescription that I hand carried to her. My daughter was seen at the local hospital ER for the withdrawals, but without the medicine readily available, there was not much they could do. Once I was there it took about 5-7 days for the medicine to become fully in her system and stop all the side effects  due to the sudden stop on the medications.

TUI

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Me and my friend arrived at the airport well in advance, as is customary, to check in our luggage and proceed with our flight. However, upon arriving at the check-in counter, we were informed that the flight had been closed, and as a result, we were denied the opportunity to check in our luggage and board the plane. Unfortunately, we were not made aware of this announcement, and didn’t hear anybody calling upon passengers, and it appears that no efforts were made to ensure passengers like us were informed.

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This situation caused us significant distress and inconvenience. Not only did we miss our scheduled flight, but we were also forced to purchase new tickets with a different airline at a much higher cost. As if that wasn’t stressful enough, I must highlight that I am a diabetic and had limited supplies with me, which were running out during this ordeal. The lack of assistance or consideration for passengers with medical conditions is deeply troubling. I believe that as a reputable airline, TUI Airways should prioritize communication and customer service to prevent such incidents. This experience has not only resulted in financial strain but also emotional distress.

Iberia

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Iberia confirmed in writing that [the passenger] had purchased a seat that was 1) in an exit row; 2) was on the window; and 3) had extra leg room. That seat was confirmed, confirmed again when she checked the website on numerous occasions prior to the flight and confirmed a third time when she downloaded her boarding pass 24 hours prior to the flight. {The passenger] arrived at the airport 6 hours prior to her flight.

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The boarding pass was used when she went through security and customs. Suddenly, and without prior explanation nor warning, as [the passenger] boarded the flight, and with the fraudulent explanation that there had been an aircraft change, she was handed a different boarding pass for 42G. This unilateral decision by Iberia placed [the passenger] in a center seat with no extra leg room and was not an exit row, all in breach of contract. Despite her multiple requests to be changed to a seat which provided the space and position that she contracted for, the aircraft crew refused to accommodate her. As a result, despite contracting with Iberia to have an exit row seat, on the window with extra leg room, she was forced to endure the entire flight in a middle seat with no extra leg room nor in an exit row.

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[The passenger] is a large woman. She suffers from anxiety disorder and is claustrophobic. She specifically purchased the exit row window seats to address these challenges. As a result of Iberia’s fraudulent conduct, breach of contract and callus treatment, she suffered an aggravation of her psychological conditions requiring her to seek medical attention from her internist and a neurologist the next day.

EasyJet

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I had previously notified easyjet customer service by phone 0n 16/04/22 that I would have excess baggage including a significant amount of medications and breast prosthesis that I would need to bring with me. My phone shows that this call was made at 10.52 am. I was told that I should put all these items into a separate case which would be labeled as medical and allowed on for free, which is not what happened. Also that I could easily pay for any excess weight of main luggage when checking in. 

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When I got to the check in there was complete chaos. I explained that I needed to pay for extra weight in my main case which was eventually sorted after a supervisor had to be called as the staff member couldn't get the payment to go through. However, no-one seemed to understand what was to be done with my medical case and I had to keep explaining to different members of staff exactly what was in the case, which was extremely embarrassing  in front of long queues of other passengers. I was also told very rudely by the supervisor that I was not entitled to take onboard any hand luggage despite having in writing on my booking that one item of carry-on baggage was included. I have never been treated so badly and was disgusted and mortified at the way I was spoken to by easyjet staff and a particular supervisor who should not be doing that job. 

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With only minutes to spare I rushed to get to the gate for boarding but didn’t make it in time so wasn’t allowed to board unfortunately. I was directed to the information hub and told to ask if they could ring the captain as the plane hadn’t yet taken off and my bags had been loaded but they wouldn’t. By this time I was in tears and about to collapse, however a lady from the hub took myself and another passenger back through passport control to locate our luggage and then back to the check in area where she handed me over to a very helpful assistant who talked through my options. 

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Initially he said I would need to pay for another flight the following day but after going off to check with someone he agreed to re-book the flight for free, which does seem to suggest that they recognised that the problem was theirs. He managed to book me on a flight at 7.40am the following day but I did not have accommodation and the airport hotels were too expensive, so I had to spend the night in a chair at the airport. Very uncomfortable and stressful with my health conditions, plus I couldn't sleep as I need to use a CPAP machine at night which needs plugging into mains electricity. 

Missed Connections

Qatar

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The total delay was 2hr15min until its departure. The hassle of calling the Qatar ticketing center and rebooking the flight caused me anxiety, stress, which in turn, caused me severe pain as I am diagnosed with a chronic illness. I am supposed to get treatment for my condition because the delay of 24hr caused me to miss my appointment. Diagnosed with a massive ovarian cyst and fibroid that causes severe pain when in stress and sudden movements. 

United Airlines

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The second leg of my flight, scheduled from was abruptly canceled without any explanation or prior notice. This cancellation left me and numerous other passengers stranded at EDI with no assistance or support from Brussel/United employees or representatives. Despite inquiring about a replacement flight, we were informed that no alternative flights were available. Consequently, all passengers were left to individually contact Brussels and United, further compounding the chaos and confusion. 

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After enduring more than 9 hours on the phone with United representatives, I was given a new itinerary. Despite the newly provided itinerary, I was informed by a United representative, after waiting for more than 2 hours, that Brussels Airlines could not confirm the provided itinerary and that there were no available flights departing. Consequently, I was left stranded without a confirmed flight, amplifying my distress and frustration. 

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Brussels staff informed us that we would be transported to a hotel until an alternative flight became available, however, upon boarding the shuttle we were unexpectedly informed by the shuttle driver that we had to pay for the ride and the hotel expenses. Failure to comply resulted in expulsion from the bus. Amid the trip en route to the hotel, the shuttle driver abruptly kicked us off the bus, forcing us to walk back to the terminal on foot for approximately 15 to 20 minutes, aggravating my pre-existing knee injury and intensifying my pain and discomfort.

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Upon returning to the terminal, I was subjected to extremely cold temperatures and left without proper accommodation or a place to sleep. As a direct consequence of the cancellation of my connecting flight, I also missed my subsequent flight. This compounded the financial losses, emotional distress, and physical fatigue endured throughout this ordeal. 

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The series of incidents, including the lack of assistance, mistreatment, and fear for my safety, inflicted severe emotional distress, anxiety, and mental anguish. The aggravation of my pre-existing knee injury due to the forced walk and lack of proper accommodations exacerbated my physical pain and suffering. 

Lufthansa

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The painful story of the next 4 days starts from here. We were told to go to the Lufthansa service center to rebook our flights. It took us 1hr and a security check where we had to wait 45 minutes to go to the Lufthansa service center. There were only 4 staff taking care of rebooking over 400 passengers. I had to stand in the queue for over 9 hours. I have never met such rude people(Lufthansa associates in the Frankfurt airport) in my life. They had no sense of compassion towards the passengers and were so mean to us. 

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After waiting in the queue for 9 hrs (11 am-8 pm), I had my chance to rebook the only available flight, which changed my 1.5-day travel to 4-day travel. My both legs had swollen, and I was suffering from enormous pain. My heel had become numb, and I had fallen on the floor a couple of times only to be helped by my fellow passengers. I had to wait in a queue at every single entry point for hours before checking in. I have never experienced such a painful experience in my life. It was utterly disappointing. 

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Because of the rescheduling, I had to travel a total of 51 hours instead of the planned 25 hours journey. I had blood on my stool after 3 days and had to consult a local doctor after getting home. The amount of stress, anxiety and pain this journey caused me was not acceptable at all. 

Conclusion

By sharing these first hand stories, we hope to initiate a move for positive change and advocacy for these and all vulnerable passengers. We also hope to inspire airports and airlines to provide better training to their staff as well as more comprehensive systems that will help passengers with medical conditions when they encounter flight disruptions. Let’s work to create positive flight experiences for all passengers, even those with medical conditions, to fly with confidence and greater peace of mind.

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