Family forced to fork out thousands to get hospitalised granny home

Dagny Shutters, 81, from Florida, with her niece Dorothy Thompson, 64, from Norwich, after landing at Gatwick Airport

Dagny Shutters, 81, from Florida, with her niece Dorothy Thompson, 64, from Norwich, after landing at Gatwick Airport on May 31, 2022 - Credit: Dorothy Thompson

A family has had to shell out thousands of pounds on flights after pleas for help from an airline fell on deaf ears.

Dagny Shutters, 81, flew from her home in Florida to Gatwick Airport on May 31 to attend the wedding of her great-niece, Lucia Thompson.

Mrs Shutters, who had travel insurance, fell ill upon arriving in Norwich for the celebration and was hospitalised. 

She had already spent £1,800 on a return flight to Tampa International Airport on June 8 but was so unwell she was unable to get on board. 

Her family desperately called airline British Airways (BA) to try and get the seat swapped.

However the company said unless it spoke to Mrs Shutters directly - who was too sick to communicate - there was nothing they could do. 

As a result the seat went empty and the family had to pay a further £880 to get their elderly relative home on June 14. 

Dagny Shutters, 81, with her granddaughter Molly Shutters, 22, after arriving at Gatwick Airport

Dagny Shutters, 81, with her granddaughter Molly Shutters, 22, after arriving at Gatwick Airport - Credit: Dorothy Thompson

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Mrs Shutters said: "It was very shocking, I was absolutely distraught.

"I was so sick, I couldn't do anything let alone talk on the phone.

"It 's a shame because the wedding was beautiful."

Mrs Shutter's niece, Dorothy Thompson, 64, who lives in Eaton and runs Coccolino children's clothes shop in Timberhill, said British Airways (BA) did not show "duty of care".

The shop owner explained her aunt began to feel ill the night of the wedding while staying in a neighbour's home in Eaton.

Mrs Shutters - who has bad asthma and other health issues - went into hospital on June 6 after paramedics rushed to the home as the patient was unable to breath.

Norwich shop owner Dorothy Thompson with her daughter's wedding invitation

Norwich shop owner Dorothy Thompson with her daughter's wedding invitation - Credit: Sophie Wyllie

Mrs Thompson, 64, said: "Her oxygen levels were so bad and the doctors thought she had a blood clot.

"BA handled it with no sympathy. They treated it like we were con artists. BA's attitude added to the stress. Their duty of care was not there. If I ran my shop like that I would have no customers."

Mrs Shutter had travel insurance but was told by the airline it did not cover the flight.

The family are putting in an official complaint to BA.

BA has been approached for comment.