Peg and Reg Hegarty did not receive any assistance leaving their aircraft to a waiting taxi at Bundaberg Airport.
Peg and Reg Hegarty did not receive any assistance leaving their aircraft to a waiting taxi at Bundaberg Airport. Ron Burgin

Elderly couple shunned at airport

REG and Peg Hegarty's interstate holiday came to a difficult end on Monday when they were almost stranded at Bundaberg Airport.

Mr Hegarty, 78, and his wife, 75, arrived back in Bundaberg on Monday about 8.30pm, but the disabled couple did not get the assistance they needed to get off the flight and into the terminal.

“We were supposed to get in at 7.45pm, but we were roughly 50 minutes late,” Mr Hegarty said.

“No one gave us a hand to get off the plane and to the terminal, so we struggled in ourselves.

“It was like the blind leading the blind.”

While Mr Hegarty's movement is restricted due to vascular disease, his wife has a defibrillator under her skin to give her a shock when needed, a pacemaker and is under doctor's orders to use her walker.

A “wheelchair(s) to from gate area” was on the “services noted” section of the couple's itinerary.

Mr Hegarty said under normal circumstances they would wait for other passengers to disembark and be wheeled from the plane by cabin staff members, to pick up their luggage in the terminal.

In this instance, the frail couple struggled to retrieve Mrs Hegarty's walker and their other belongings, and then get to the front of the terminal to get a taxi they had booked.

“The taxi driver waited all that time, but no one notified him (of the delay),” Mr Hegarty said.

“We were capable of getting there, but what about people who are worse off?

“What happens to them?”

Mr Hegarty said his concern that a wheelchair-bound passenger may end up stranded was his motivation for speaking out.

Bundaberg Airport terminal and Qantaslink staff said they were unable to comment on the matter, until the issue has been investigated.

They said anyone with issues or complaints should contact the airline in writing.



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