Saturday, 9 December 2017

Jet2 breaks the hearts of dozens of dying children

It looked like UK Budget airline Jet2 were coming to the rescue of dozens of terminally ill and sick children when a special 'Meet Santa' flight was cancelled by the demise of Monarch Airlines.  

Monarch had been running special Santa flights for disabled and terminally ill children for a number of years but the collapse of the airline ended that dream that many of the children had of meeting Santa, possibly for the very last time.

However, Jet2 seemed to come to the rescue after being approached and said they would do the flight and offered some seats to Martin House Childen's Hospice.  In total at least 40 severely disabled and children with life-shortening illnesses and their carers were due to go on the special flight.  The flight would have flown around the UK, during which the children would have received presents and then meet Santa himself. 

The flight was due to depart from Leeds Bradford Airport on Wednesday, but Jet2 axed the trip for children and their carers with just a weeks notice.   The airline blames Leeds Bradford Airport at the hospice for not giving them enough details about the medical conditions of the children from Martin House Children's Hospice in Wetherby claiming they had not been told full details of the medical conditions of the children before the flight. They say they couldn't provide a 'safe and enjoyable flight'. 

There is more on this story - 

Initially, Leeds Bradford Airport apologised and said the cancellation was due to an 'unexpected scheduling change' perhaps trying to save Jet2 embarrassment or bad publicity, however, the airport admitted this wasn't the case and apologised for any upset caused. 

A spokesperson for the children's hospice Martin House said "We received the offer to take part in the flight on November 22 by Leeds Bradford Airport on behalf of themselves and Jet2.  On November 28 we received a request via our contact at Leeds Bradford, on behalf of Jet2, for detailed information about the families who had taken up the offer, including details of the medical needs of our poorly children."

"This information was collated by staff here on November 28, and was ready to be returned to Leeds Bradford Airport on November 29, However, before we had the opportunity to send this over, we were informed that the flight was to be cancelled."

A Jet2 spokesperson told media "Despite our best efforts to operate this flight at very late notice, we were provided with an inadequate level of detail required to operate a safe and enjoyable flight, such as special assistance and medical requirements." 

"In an email to Martin House, Leeds Bradford Airport attributed this to an 'unexpected scheduling change' which was not the case and which they have since acknowledged was incorrect.  We sincerely apologise for any upset that this has caused, however the health, safety and well-being of everybody onboard our aircraft is our number one priority and we will never compromise on that."

The airline has refused to reschedule a flight this year and said instead it is working with Leeds Bradford Airport to operate the flight next year, which of course given the nature of their conditions will be too late for a number of the broken hearted children. Jet2's operations department said no specific aircraft had actually been scheduled to operate the flight. 

It would appear that the airline and the airport had different deadline times to pass on the passenger numbers and medical conditions and requirements of the children for the flight. 

Martin Warhurst, the chief executive of Martin House said "We are incredibly disappointed that the Search for Santa flight could not go ahead.  We were offered the opportunity for some of our families to take places on the flight, however we were advised last week that the flight could not take place."

"Once we were informed by the airport that the flight would not go ahead, we contacted our families as quickly as possible to let them know. I know that this has been very disappointing for some families and I offer my sincere apologies for the distress that this may have caused.  Christmas is an important time at Martin House and our focus is always on providing opportunities for families to celebrate together and create special memories."

This article was written for this site by a member of our team 🙋, please do share it with your friends via social media. You are also welcome to post it or republish elsewhere on the 🌎web on the condition that you credit the author and link back to our site. Thank you.

 ♻ We care about the environment, please think twice before you hit ‘print’