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Iberia / Mistreatment of blind passenger

1 Spain
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On Sun 29th June I flew from London via Madrid to South Africa with Iberia Airlines. Our journey was as thus: on arriving to Madrid, we waited to get off the plane last because my companion was a 70 yr old blind man, only to be told by the conductors 'vamos! vamos!'. Hmmm. We were then all herded into buses and the whole plane load of passengers driven to a large glass entrance room which couldn't be left once entered. Here we had to wait for our passports to be checked and go through security AGAIN. I presume it was because Spain had just won the football that no one turned up to check us in for twenty minutes... by which time people were pretty cross.

We then made our way to our departure gate, which in Madrid airport takes quite a while as its expansive, and nothing is near anything else. We arrived, attempted to queue for a coffee then saw on a screen that our flight was delayed - for seven hours! There was no information, no announcements, no Iberia staff to ask. One of our number to a different terminal where there was an Iberia desk, and after an hour returned to tell us we would be put in hotel. All this had taken hours because there were no announcements and no information. We then dutifully headed off to the new terminal, and when bearing in mind it was now past 1am and we had security checks between each terminal, we were pretty pissed off. We bumped into fellow passengers who were also wandering round confused. Finally, we found a woman from Iberia, who refused to speak to us. Opposite was a second Iberia desk for 'ticket sales' At 2am on a Sunday night, this was staffed by three people. Naturally, they had no customers. When I asked them for help, to organize for us to reach this alleged hotel, they refused. 'We only sell tickets', they said. "Surely', I replied, 'you can book us a taxi on your company account. Its 2am and one of our party is blind. We're tired.' 'No'.

There were quite a lot of customers around, completely confused, and told different things. The Iberia desk for 'customer services' had a queue of twenty, and no staff, despite the 'sales' staff sitting idly just opposite. No one knew what was going on. We went to the desk downstairs which again, was unstaffed, and when someone did turn up they told us to go back upstairs. Finally, we found a very very rude woman who told us there was a woman outside, by a bus. We asked her to take us to this bus - she simply refused.

By now we were a group of ten, and we wandered outside together. Some one had to go round every bus until he found it. We dutifully boarded, still not having had any explanation or apology fro anyone at Iberia. We had no idea what arrangements were. After twenty minutes, we left, and we arrived at the hotel (a convenient half an hour away) at 3am. The full bus unloaded, and checked into rooms where we had a discomforting two hours sleep. Bearing in mind that we'd landed into Madrid just after 10pm, and that our plane had been canceled by 12, we didn't get much sleep!

The whole thing was completely farcical. Each and every staff member of Iberia I spoke to was at the least dismissive, and at the worst jaw droopingly rude. They refused to explain, and to apologize. They refused to listen and refused to help. Simple requests like 'could you contact someone who does know?' were refused. It was a wall of silence.


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