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Deaf passenger's fury at easyJet

From: ic Liverpool - Southport,England,UK - Apr 5, 2004

By Mike Hornby, Echo Reporter

A DEAF Liverpool man was stopped from boarding an easyJet flight because of his disability for the second time in six months, it was claimed today.

Sign language teacher Steve McKenna was told he would not be able to understand emergency procedures as he tried to board the Liverpool-bound plane at Belfast international airport.

The incident happened five days after Mr McKenna, 43, and 10 other members of Merseyside Society for Deaf People won an apology from the airline after a similar incident on a flight to Amsterdam in October.

An easyJet spokeswoman said today they were looking into the incident.

Speaking through an interpreter, Mr McKenna, from Waterloo, said: "I felt reassured flying with easyJet because I thought they had learned their lesson. The flight to Belfast was fine, then it happened.

"A member of the flight crew approached me as I walked through the departure gate. She was trying to speak to me then got into a panic as she realised I am deaf. She was using huge mouth gestures which made it even more difficult for me to understand.

"After speaking to the pilot she returned and we could not take off. It was only after they took advice that I was allowed onto the plane.

"The plane was late taking off and there was great hostility from the other passengers.

"The trip to Belfast was for an international sign language conference - none of the other delegates were treated in this way."

Following the incident in October, the company pledged to review its procedures.

© owned by or licensed to Trinity Mirror Plc 2004



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