The family of a 10-year-old boy with an incurable progressive illness say he and they were left humiliated by airport staff who questioned whether he was really disabled.
Jack Johnson, who has Duchenne muscular dystrophy and lives in Eccleston, near Chorley, has since received an apology and compensation from Jet2 after the confrontation at Split Airport as the tearful boy and his parents tried to get home from a holiday in Croatia.
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The son of former Wigan Warriors star Andy Johnson has become the centre point of a charity crusade which has won acclaim from the general public and a great many famous sportspeople.
But he was not recognised at the airport and staff felt the need to question whether he really did suffer from an incurable degenerative disease because no accommodation had been made for his special wheelchair on the flight.
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His furious mum Alex took to social media to complain.
She wrote: “As a family we need and love our holidays because of the underlying heartbreak we live with every day as we watch our son’s muscles waste away.
“Eventually it will be impossible for us to take Jack on holiday. Incompetence and error at Jet 2 holidays has ruined our holiday. I can honestly say we have never experienced anything as shambolic and as humiliating for our son as our flight home from Split.
“When we arrived at Split airport we were told they had no records of Jack, his disability or his requirements.
“The operative then asks ‘Do you have proof your son is disabled?’
“I didn’t know whether to be sarcastic or to cry and shout he has a terminal muscle-wasting condition.”
Jack was eventually allowed to fly after several hours.
A Jet2 spokesman said: “We are extremely sorry to hear of this experience, and we appreciate that it has been very distressing for Jack and his family.
“We have been in contact to unreservedly apologise for the upset caused, and we would like to reassure Jack, his family, and all our customers, that this is not our normal standard of service.”
Although this is an isolated incident, we have learnt a number of lessons and we are urgently reviewing all our procedures to ensure that this does not happen again.”