A Swindon wheelchair user has complained of inadequate assistance at Bristol Airport.

David Wilson, 85, says he waited on the plane for help so long that the next crew boarded ready to fly the plane back again.

David was on his way back from surprising his son in Spain for his birthday, but says the experience "put a blot on the experience".

He said: “It was so nice, but it just put such a blot on it when you're at the airport, and you get back and you find that you have all these problems with getting off.

“It was completely spoiled.”

David cannot walk further than 50 yards without getting pain in his back and has twice used Bristol Airport’s special assistance service.

When travelling from Bristol to Spain and the Caicos Isles David "could not fault" the service.

But when returning on both occasions there were half the wheelchairs provided for those who needed them on the plane.

He also had to walk down a ramp as there was no ambulift available, both of which made the exit from Bristol Airport very slow.

He said: “It appears this is the norm, the helpers say they are short-staffed, but were there at least 12 helpers in the morning but only two in the afternoon.”

David says the experience puts him off going back to Bristol: “As much as I don’t want to drive down to Gatwick, it does mean you can rely on the disability side there.”

He added that this "does not bode well for their plan to expand the runways for more flights".

Bristol Airport currently has plans to expand its capacity from 10 to 12 million passengers per year, including a terminal expansion.

Special assistance services at Bristol Airport are delivered by contractor ABM.

An ABM spokesperson said: "We understand the importance of delivering special assistance services with efficiency, respect, and care.  

“While Ambulifts are preferred by many customers, gradient ramps are used for passengers pre-registered as needing stair assistance, preserving ambulift availability for those who are unable to walk."

The Adver understands David pre-booked as able to walk independently but unable to take stairs.

A formal investigation and response could not be undertaken because a complaint had not been made by the passenger about the flight on April 6, and details of the previous flight were not provided.

A Bristol Airport spokesperson said: “We encourage any passengers who feel they’ve received poor service to complain to us directly so we can investigate.”