UK Based Travel & Disabled Blogger


Jet2 discriminatory actions towards disabled passengers

So imagine being told you can’t fly because you wear spectacles. This would be awful, not to mention downright ridiculous and discriminatory. Well, that isn’t far from what I experienced recently with Jet2, an airline known for its controversy surrounding disabled passengers.

Last month I had a trip to a Paris planned. Everything was sorted, all I needed to do was book my flights. I had a look online to find the best deals, but Jet2 were the only airline that flew to this destination on my chosen date and from my chosen airport. With no other option, I went ahead and booked a one-way flight with Jet2 as I knew I could fly back home with EasyJet (an airline I’ve flown with many times and never had a bad experience with as a wheelchair user).

Day One | Booking Our Jet2 Flights

Having flown with Jet2 a few years previously and not having the best of experiences, I reluctantly decided to book my flight by phone rather than online. This is where the problems began.

As recommended, I called the Jet2 Special assistance number to book the flight and organise the special assistance I’d require at the airport. Unsurprisingly they were too busy so I was automatically transferred to their overflow department. The agent I spoke to explained that she could only book my flight, but could not organise my special assistance, allocate our seats or answer any questions I had regarding my wheelchair.

I was told that once I booked my flight I could either call back another time or request someone to call me to book my special assistance. I opted for the callback, but when I was told it could be anything up to 24 hours I stressed it was urgent as I was due to fly in 4 days and anticipating there would be problems, I wanted to get things organised sooner rather than later.

To my surprise, I received a call that night from special assistance. The agent allocated our bulkhead seats on the right-hand side of the plane as I planned on using the Eagle Passenger Lifter to transfer to my seat rather than a manual transfer.

Left: Using the Eagle Passenger Lifter. Right: The dreaded and uncomfortable aisle chair.

After providing the details for my powered wheelchair including the battery and dimensions I was told that the height of my wheelchair would be too high to fit through the cargo hold door. The agent explained that she would need to get clearance from the airport whether they’d accept my wheelchair. She couldn’t guarantee I’d get an answer that night, but it seemed unlikely.

Day Two | Trying To Knock Down Jet2’s Barriers

The following day I received a voicemail while at work. It was the call I was both dreading and desperate to receive. Would they accept my wheelchair or would my planned trip be shattered? Even though I knew what the outcome was going to be I tried to remain positive and hope for the best.

I listened to the voicemail from Special Assistance and it wasn’t looking good. My wheelchair failed clearance due to the height of the backrest. I have to say that my wheelchair is on the small/compact end of the scale, so it was a little surprising to hear it was too high. She also asked on the voicemail if there was any way of removing the backrest and if not I would be denied boarding.

Not able to do anything about this at work, I had to wait until I got home, which was frustrating as there was a high possibility I wouldn’t be able to get through to Special Assistance when I called them back. I couldn’t risk waiting another day for an answer. Time was running.

My boyfriend usually deals with sorting any problems with my wheelchair, but as he wasn’t home at the time I had to get my Mum to try and work out how to remove the backrest so I could inform Jet2 if it was possible. Having a specialist backrest due to my complex seating needs, made my Mum concerned about removing it in case it affected the position it was set to.

It didn’t help that my Mum was suffering from a very sore back, so faffing about with my wheelchair was the last thing I wanted her to be doing, but we had no other option. In the end, I called wheelchair services and asked to speak with one of the bioengineers I usually deal with. After checking a demonstration wheelchair (like mine) he talked us through how to remove the backrest, but there was a problem. The part that enables my backrest to come off was broken. Typical!

It was a tiny part, but it needed to be replaced if I wanted to remove the backrest easily without using tools. The bioengineer explained that he would try his best to get an engineer out to my home to replace it but couldn’t guarantee it would be before Friday (my departure date).


Feeling more positive about the situation, I called Jet2 Special Assistance, but once again couldn’t get through so had to leave a message for someone to call me back. Again I had to stress it was urgent, I couldn’t wait another 24 hours, and I needed to know whether I was going to be allowed to fly in a matter of days.

The agent returned my call and I was able to explain that my backrest could be removed. Good news, right? All my problems were solved? If only.

It was then that I was hit by not one, but two extra blows.

  1. I would not be allowed to fly with Jet2 if tools were used in any way to remove my wheelchair’s backrest

    This meant that if wheelchair services couldn’t manage to get an engineer out to replace that teeny tiny broken part on my wheelchair before my flight and Jet2 weren’t allowing me to use a tool (either my own or airport staff) or by using whatever means necessary then I could not fly with them. If I checked in, arrived at the boarding gate and used a tool to remove the backrest I’d be denied boarding. Point blank. I would not be entitled to a refund either.

    I then tried to explain to the agent that I had flown with Jet2 in the past with the same wheelchair and backrest so why were they refusing it now when they cleared it previously? To my horror, I was informed that my wheelchair had been loaded on its side to fit through the hold. This is a big no-no! Apparently, since my last flight with Jet2 the Dangerous Goods Act has changed and they cannot load wheelchairs in this way now.

  2. The weight of my wheelchair may now be an issue

    I gave the agent the weight of my wheelchair along with the dimensions on DAY 1. Why was she now just telling me it could be an issue? This should have been mentioned and checked at the same time as the dimensions. It now needed to get clearance from Dangerous Goods, which could take another 24 hours. This was frustrating, and unacceptable and demonstrated poor customer service from Jet2 whilst handling disabled passengers. It seemed as if they were deliberately trying to put barriers in my way to prevent me from flying with them.

Day Three | At The Mercy Of Jet2

Feeling disheartened that my travel plans were literally hanging in the balance at the mercy of Jet2. I tried to think positively, but it didn’t last long though.

Before I left for work that morning I received a call from wheelchair services telling me that they couldn’t get an engineer out to do the repair in time.

I waited and waited and….waited for Jet2 to call me back about the weight of my wheelchair, but no call. Finally having been waiting almost all day and feeling unhappy with the service I was receiving from Jet2, I called them AGAIN. Special Assistance was busy so I was put there to the overflow department AGAIN.

I was informed by the gentleman that it was his first day out of training and that this was only the second call he’d taken. Not wanting to make him any more nervous than he already was I calmly explained the whole situation, pointing out that I’d been expecting a phone call all day but to no avail. He told me he would pass this to Special Assistance to call me back (again it would be within 24 hours).

Not happy with what I was hearing I asked if there were any notes on my booking about the weight of my wheelchair. All he could tell me was there was a note on my booking from 8am that morning, but someone from Special Assistance would need to tell me what it said. It was now almost 4pm. Why had nobody called me yet?

I had one day before my flight was due to depart. I still had return flights to book. Travel insurance to buy. Packing to do. Transport to organise and a whole list of to-dos to check off. But I didn’t know if I was actually going to be allowed to fly with Jet2 as I still needed to be told if clearance had been given to travel with my wheelchair. I also still had the problem of not being allowed to remove my backrest with a tool.

Later that night someone called me back to deliver the “good news” that my wheelchair had been cleared and the weight was no longer an issue. I felt the way in which they told me was as if I should be grateful they were allowing me to fly with them like they were doing me a favour. This didn’t feel right to me. I was giving them my money, but I was expected to just accept the way they had handled my entire booking and the numerous days of waiting for an answer as to whether I could go on MY holiday.

Even though the weight was suddenly not an issue, Jet2 still wouldn’t let me fly with them if I couldn’t remove my backrest without tools. I was asked what I wanted to do and whether I had a manual wheelchair I could use instead. “No, I don’t” was my answer. I have a powered wheelchair for a reason, many reasons in fact. Being unable to self-propel would leave me with zero independence while on holiday and having complex seating requirements means I’m fully reliant on my powered wheelchair, not just for independence but for comfort and posture.

What Else Could I Do?

I was left with no other option than to say goodbye to the planned trip I’d been looking forward to for such a long time. I’ve travelled to many destinations with numerous airlines and I’ve never come across one that has refused my wheelchair or given such unacceptable demands.

I was not comfortable giving my money to Jet2, an airline that clearly discriminates against disabled passengers and thinks it can continue to operate when they are clearly in breach of disability discrimination legislation.

Jet2 is the only UK and EU airline to enforce a strict weight limit on powered wheelchairs/scooters. This means that any wheelchairs or mobility aids weighing more than 100 kilograms will not be accepted on Jet2 flights. My powered wheelchair weighs 140 kilograms and I’m pretty certain that most powered wheelchairs weigh over 100 kilograms, so what chance does that leave disabled passengers with when trying to book flights with Jet2? Not much!

Jet2 need to waive this ridiculous weight limit on wheelchairs/mobility aids like every other airline. I can’t understand how they are continuing to get away with breaking the law, but it needs to stop.

Have you experienced discrimination by Jet2 or any other airline?

To find out if your power wheelchair/scooter will fit on the aeroplane check out this helpful post by my friend, John from

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Meet Emma

Hello I’m Emma. My mission is to show you the possibilities of accessible travel through my travel guides, tips and reviews. I also share personal stories, live event reviews and more.

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25 Responses

  1. Omg what a nightmare from start to finish,we are planning a trip to Amsterdam next July with hannah using her powered chair which weighs we are told 16 stone alone I will Defoe avoid this airline.

    1. Hi Gwen! I was wondering if you managed to booked a trip to Amsterdam? If so, what airline did you decide to book with?

  2. I’ve just flown with easyJet for the first time and last time if I can help it. I was made to jump through hoops to allow me to take my ventilator onboard not to use on board I want to add. Also because I was carrying a ventilator with me I also had to prove I was fit to fly I have never had the questioned before. This resulted in me having to take time off work to get a letter from my doctor to say the vent needed to be taken as hand luggage and I was fit to fly. I had to go to the hospital waiting for over an hour in his clinic as he hadn’t signed the letter and I was travelling 3 days later so it was my last chance to get it. Not one person travelling to or back from my trip viewed or even asked about this letter I just had to have to be able to travel. Infuriating!

    1. Hi Emma – thanks for getting in touch and sharing your recent experience. I’m sorry to hear you had such a stressful time with the airline and trying to accommodate their “procedures” – more like barriers. I can completely understand your frustration of trying to do everything they are asking for, for them not to even ask to see the letter in the end. Makes you wonder why you even bothered. Have you written to the airline to make a complaint? I think you should as they shouldn’t be putting people through this added stress for no reason. It’s not fair. Please keep me posted if you decide to contact them. Thanks again!

  3. Hello Emma, Even I also had this same kind of experience when I decided to travel with the Easy Jet airlines. I am a wheelchair user and booking of all the special assistance services were done before a week.

    But, when I reached the airport to board the flight; I found that there were no equipments available according to my booking. Unfortunately, I had to cancel my trip and book it with some other airline.

    1. Hi Nellie. Sorry to hear you had a similar experience with an airline. Did you arrange your special assistance online or by phone? Did you request the Eagle hoist for getting onto the plane? Although it’s not ideal, I’m glad you were able to book with another airline and I hope the overall experience was a positive one!

      Thanks for sharing your experience!

  4. Hi Emma,
    There is no end on the shity things that happens when you fly as a wheelchair user. Days of stress trying to book it and holding my breath on the day of travel. I’m on my 2 day of trying to book a flight with flybe, in tears because I’m so pissed of. Sure there are the occasional smooth sail, but having had problems at all parts of the trip at one point or the other the stress levels are always high the whole trip. And I’m a confident problem solving kind of person, I went on my own with my wheelchair (I can walk) to Thailand to become a divemaster.
    Lots of love to you and everyone else out there who has to put up with the extra faff that comes with having wheels.

    Lina ☺

    1. Hi Lina! Thanks for getting in touch. How did you get on with flybe? Did you get your flight booked? Oh wow! That’s amazing you became a divemaster in Thailand. I’d love to know more about this? It sounds fantastic!
      Thanks again 🙂

  5. Hi Emma. I’ve just had a very similar experience with Jet2. They refused to take my wheelchair because of the height restrictions which I was told was a maximum of 81cms. This seems ludicrous, especially for a powerchair. I think you’d be hard pressed to find any that are that low in height. Like you, I need specialised l molded seating on my chair so there’s no way it can fold or be removed and reassembled without a specialist. Equally I absolutely cannot travel without it so them trying to persuade me to take a manual chair was pointless and unhelpful. I found out three days before our family holiday that they had refused my wheelchair. Fortunately. I had booked through an agent called Disabled Access Holidays (who are excellent, I might add) and they dealt Jet2 on my behalf. It wasn’t until the day before we were due to fly that she managed to secure a refund and salvage our holiday by getting us flights with Monarch for the day after we were originally going. I’m disgusted that so much stress was caused but thankful that in our case, we eventually had a positive outcome. I really feel that budget airlines are squeezing disabled people out of the market and it’s wholly discriminatory. Although we were refunded for our flights, we had to fly to an airport further away from our destination and pay £500 extra, including the taxi transfer, not to mention rearranging my support assistance because I was at home for an extra day. I only hope that the rules surrounding Jet2 don’t extend across other airlines and prevent disabled people from travelling at all.

  6. Hi i am glad that i found your blog.As an able bodied person I write for my company blog about things that may affect people with disabilities. Just out of interest I did a post about flying problems with wheelchairs.

  7. i have flown with monarch for the past 10yrs my husband has had 2 strokes and a heart attack never had any problems with monarch they give all disabled people the front row so near the toilet and plenty of leg room now i am forced to do jet 2 i have a sleep machine and requires an extra bag as medical they asked me to get a letter from the hospital and yet no one as asked to see this at all and i am being told that they dont give disabled people front row seats ever as if the pilot reuqires help in an emergency you need to be able bodie so we were given seats further down the aircraft which makes it difficult for my husband to get to the toilet as he can only walk a few yards and also no room he dropped his cup of milk and sugars for his tea and also i knocked a whole cup of ice over onto the floor

  8. We are currently going through the same issues with jet 2. Family member has cerebal palsy/permanently in wheelchair and they wpuldnt guarantee a adapted room so we have changed the hotel 3 times. Booked seat cancelled and he has been put in middle of plane.. and told he cant have a aisle seat he needs to move across to the window!! How can he do this with no mobility! They have no idea. Taken £5000 to then cause nothinh but stress to a holiday. He is 16 and it has knocked his confidence. He didnt ask to be disabled. Jet 2 dont want to deal with the problem and advised no complaints process. Just got to deal with the changed… so wrong

    1. Thanks for sharing your experience Kim – I’m so sorry you have been having a terrible time with Jet2. It is unacceptable that they can do this to disabled people and their families. I’d heard endless bad experiences from people regarding Jet2. Have you managed to get something sorted for your holiday now? Where are you going on holiday?

  9. i have just been told my disbaled duaghter cannot take her electric wheelchair on the jet two flighht even though she is wheelchair bound they suggested she us a mnaul whelechair i dont knwop what to do we wewrre going on a cruise and the holiday company now wnat us to pay more for differnet flights with a differnet airline

  10. Oh helloeverybody. Just been told my grandsons wheelchair is too high to fit on new planes.
    Can only be 31 inches high. On tilt we can get to 33 inches.
    What are these planes designed for ? Dolls 😂😂
    Waiting on a callback to try and resolve.
    Wish me luck.
    Ps only airline we have ever had this with 🤔

    1. Hi Fliss. Thank you for your comment and sorry to hear you have been having issues with Jet2. Did you get it resolved? Fingers crossed you did.

  11. Hi everybody with wheelchair problems on airlines,I am a manual wheelchair user and have had problems with various airlines,the worst being Ryan air,I have to use the gangway chair which is awfull & painfull,we are treated like baggage,its about time that all airlines looked at wheelchair transfer to our seats more carefully,its painfull & degrading,we all have dignity.they should remove some seats at the front of the airplane to accomadate wheelchairs,or more manoeuvrable spcace so they can stop using that torturous gangway chair.I don’t think they want us to fly,but they will take the money tho.even new aircraft they don’t consider us.hope you solve your problem with jet 2.

  12. Hi all,
    I was almost booking a villa with Jet2 until I found this site.
    My friend and I want a holiday. My friend is disabled and suffers anxiety. However on a good day she is not reliant on a wheelchair, only her crutches. She doesn’t need any specialist equipment/wheelchair on the plane, just her medications. We are now thinking TUI holiday.?
    We also miss Monarch!
    Any help on insurance would also be much appreciated
    Many thanks

    1. Hi Kit. Thank you so much for your comment – it’s lovely to hear from you. As you read in my blog post, I didn’t have a great experience with jet2, so I wouldn’t recommend in my opinion. I haven’t personally used TUI so unfortunately, I won’t be able to comment afraid. The past few years I’ve got travel insurance with a company called Insurancewith. Have you tried them? Thanks again 🙂

    2. We have been with TUI to Spain three times (always flew with Monarch in the past who were brilliant), I need assistance due to a series of strokes, and a titanium right foot, I always take my electric scooter (which they need the dimensions and weight battery type etc. for also my CPAP machine) and my Mum is 80 and not great on her feet and suffers with spondylosis of her spine.

      TUI have been very good with us, they do offer assistance through the airport but that is airport dependent as assistance in Malaga were atrocious, Manchester were great coming back but going was terrible we were stuck in a queue for a wheelchair for my Mum and thought we were going to miss the flight. We only just made it, I have been warned off Jet 2 and Easy jet by a TUI telesales lady who said their attitude towards disabled people is appalling.

      To get the TUI disabled aeroplane seating you have to be wheelchair bound and unable to walk at all which was the only downside, because I am able to stand, but not walk I couldn’t get those seats and had to struggle into a normal window seat using crutches. No disabled people are allowed in the aisle seating.

      The only confusing thing about TUI was we were advised to ring the assistance line prior to booking but were asked how are they supposed to help us if we have no flight numbers! So I booked the holiday and was then told there was no space for my scooter!! Can’t win can you so thinking I had booked a great deal I had to have it cancelled and start again. We went into a TUI office in the end and although the holiday (exact same hotel/dates as online) was £200 more expensive we managed to sort out assistance, when I asked why they said it was full over the phone I was told perhaps someone cancelled.

      Regarding insurance, have a look for comparison sites who offer pre existing conditions, I have been accepted with all my ailments via medical travel compared, they always come back with a reasonable quote. Holiday risk are very good as are Holiday Extras. I have also used Get Going as they offer pre existing conditions also.

      Apologies for the rather long winded email 🙂 I do tend to waffle a lot now!

      Best regards and apologies once again!

  13. Hi I recently booked a holiday with Jet 2 I have a brain injury so require medical assistance I sent a consultants letter jet2 confirmed I would receive assistance on arrival at the airport this wasn’t the case I was sent t a company called ABM who are supposed to assist passengers with hidden disabilities Myself and Carer introduced ourselves and we’re shocked as he said to my carer “your not blind you can take HER through the airport” he said he didn’t have any of my letters from Jet2 so I showed him my copy which he refused to read I was in tears and humiliated at the discrimination and scolding for daring to get on a a jet2 plane for a respite holiday !!!! He smirked at me when I was upset and virtually begging him to believe I have a hidden disability after 30 minutes he walked off and left us this awful treatment has ruined my confidence and independence to travel SHAME on jet2 !!!

  14. Hi Emma,

    As you know I am working on a solution to enable power wheelchair users to fly in the cabin of an aircraft seated in their own chairs. I hope to have a proof of concept in the first quarter of 2020.

    I have read the posts following your excellent article, sadly it is the same issues raised that have been around since the dawn of air travel. I can only say things are changing, some airlines are better then others and reforms are on their way. Technically, all these things are easily solved, the tough one is the culture.The business model of air travel is to pack everyone tighter than Pablo Escobar’s hand luggage, this brings cheaper flights (in theory) until you start adding baggage. However the business model is broken, millions across the world do not fly, these are predominately wheelchair users and our ageing less mobile population. The more I lobby the business case the more they listen

    Suffice to say, there is lots of lobbying and campaigning happening, not just with me in the UK, but also internationally. Change is coming. If anyone wants to help then it is easy, when you get your new MP write to them, tell them of you experiences THEY HAVE TO RESPOND! This is why I am working with the DfT to push this oil tanker around and it is moving.


    Chris Wood @flyingdisabled

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