A WOMAN with disabilities says she had the “worst and most stressful experience” of her life after she was sold a holiday which was not ‘disabled friendly’.

Jacqueline Grace, from Castle Caereinion, booked her holiday to the Greek island of Crete with Jet2, for last summer, via the Polka Dot Travel Agents in Welshpool.

Her holiday was all-inclusive, but with steps preventing her from accessing the food and pool areas, she had to get taxis out of the hotel everyday and buy food out.

After a four-hour tribunal at Welshpool County Court on Thursday, Ms Grace won her case, with the judge awarding her with £2,600 in compensation.

Speaking to the County Times after the case, she said: “It was a huge ordeal. An absolute nightmare. If living through it wasn’t enough, I had to go through it all again in court.”

Ms Grace first saw The Katrin Hotel and Bungalows on the Jet2 website, and it stood out to her as she said it was advertised as being disabled friendly and that it had mobility scooters. Ms Grace said that she had spoken to Jet2 on the phone for almost an hour, giving details of her specific mobility requirements. But Jet2 denied it has any knowledge of the conversation.

She was left disabled after a horse accident accident seven years ago and has a debilitating illness, diagnosed as complex pain syndrome, which renders her wheelchair bound.

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In her claim made to the court, it was said that “mobility around the hotel was almost impossible”.

Her solicitor, Robert Hanratty, said: “Despite being advertised as disability friendly, it was not possible to access the swimming pool areas as a consequence of there being five to six steps.

“The lifts were extremely small and only with great difficulty could the mobility scooter be taken into the lifts.

“It was not possible for the claimants to access the bar and restaurant facilities as this also involved having to manage steps.

“Given that this was an all-inclusive holiday the claimants were left with no alternative but to endeavour to try and eat and drink outside the hotel premises and ended up spending £800 in total in having food and drink.”

The judge heard that a small ramp was made by staff at the hotel to enable Ms Grace to access the reception area, a fact which was not denied by the defence.

It was admitted by Jet2 that airport assistance was given to Ms Grace and that the company knew she had chronic pain syndrome, but denied that it knew of any “specific requirements” for the accommodation booked.

Anna Goddard, a Senior Claims Solicitor for Jet2, denied that the hotel was advertised as being ‘disabled friendly’ and said that Ms Grace failed to offset her losses by declining to move to alternative accommodation.

However, Ms Grace said that she was not offered any suitable accommodation.

Mr Hanratty said that the barrister “significantly tested” her, but that the judge accepted everything she said and found it “inconceivable” that Jet2 were not aware of her requirements. He said that one of the reasons why the judge concluded that the holiday company did know about Ms Grace’s mobility requirements was that a wheelchair accessible airport transfer was arranged.

Although Ms Grace won the case, she said the holiday cost her far more than the compensation she received.

Ms Grace told the County Times that going abroad is not a holiday for her, but helps her medical condition. “It’s not a holiday for me it’s a medicine. I’ve got chunks of my bones missing, I can’t go out in the winter. That’s the only reason I go abroad. I find it relaxing, it’s a medicine for me,” she said.

“That two weeks, I can’t put into words; the anxiety, panic attacks, the whole ordeal. I felt trapped. It felt like I was imprisoned”.

“I used to be a personal trainer and lifeguard. My life has been turned upside down. They don’t know the circumstances and what I have had to go through,” she said.

A spokesperson from Jet2 said: “We are sorry for the inconvenience caused to Ms Grace during her stay. Customer satisfaction is extremely important to us and we always endeavour to meet the needs of customers that require special assistance.

“We have never advertised the accommodation Mrs Grace selected as being specifically suited to the needs of customers with disabilities, and assistance was offered in resort with alternative accommodation options proposed to Mrs Grace.

“However, we respect the decision made in court and are in the process of issuing compensation.”