Letter to TAP: Discrimination against autistic son

Lyndon Pereira has written to the Resident, asking us to publish the email he has written to TAP and to which he has still not received a reply:

Regarding PNR UQGZTJ and KI2BJH

We were booked to travel on TAP airlines from LGW to OPO on the 28th May’2022 and return from LIS to LGW on 4thJune’2022, we are a group of 5, Riley Pereira, Suzy Mckoy, Lyndon Pereira, Anthony Mckoy and Santana Travassos.

We had checked in online and printed our boarding passes at home, went thru immigration & security and when we reached the boarding gate, we were told by the staff that the airline had put a cross against my son’s name (Riley Pereira) and he was not allowed to fly. They had no clue as to why this was done and only TAP could approve this. The rest of us i.e my mother-in-law ,father-in-law, my wife and myself were ok to board. 

The check in staff tried their best but said the cross could only be taken off by the Airline. I tried calling the airline and at first, they could not understand what had happened. I then called again and was on hold for more than an hour and finally got thru to an agent who then admitted it was TAPs fault and said she would try and take off the cross. This took a lot of time and the staff at the boarding gate were trying to help us. Unfortunately, by the time it was finally done on the system the counters were closed and we were not allowed to board and the flight took off. 

I then called again and the customer service staff said even if she rebooks us for the next flight we would not receive the tickets for at least 48 hours which does not make sense, then she said go to the ticket counter at the airport which we went to and it was closed at this was now 22:00 hours. I called again and another staff said that there were no seats till 5th June and I asked for the supervisor and she said that all the supervisors were in a meeting she even promised me that the supervisor would call me back that night which I still have not received till now. By this time, we were so tired and stressed and my in laws who are senior citizens were exhausted and my son who has special needs (Autism/ADHD and is non-verbal) was tired and we just gave up calling your customer service and returned home. 

The next morning (29th May’2022) I called TAP again and explained what had happened and I spoke to someone who kept me on hold for more than an hour then transferred me to someone called Leandro Ferreira who I had to explain my full situation again and then he put me on hold again and then the phone just got cut, by this time I was on the phone for nearly 2 hours. 

I then called again and spoke someone called Christian, I had to explain everything to her again and then she put me on hold for nearly half hour and then transferred me to someone called Pedro, by this time I was really upset and I told Pedro that I’m not going to explain to him the full situation but I was not rude and he said “do you want me to help you or should I hang up ?”, I then asked for his full name and he refused to give it to me and said this is the last time do you want me to help you or hang up and I said hang up and that was it.  

Is this the type of Customer service TAP offers ? I’m sure you will have a copy of this call recording so can verify all the details I have given above.   

I still have no idea why we were not allowed to fly and have not got a response from TAP. 

As you can imagine for any holiday, we need to make bookings for airlines, hotels, transfers, parking, sightseeing etc and we have lost all of this due to this cancellation.  

More importantly we lost our well-planned holiday and we still don’t know what’s the reason for this. 

As you are aware, my email address and telephone number are in the PNR, so please advise why no intimation was sent to me prior to departure.  

TAP airlines have discriminated against my son just because he is Autistic. His disability is not to be used against him and denied travel.  I will not call customer service again as it’s a total waste of time and so I’m writing this email to you. 

Awaiting your reply explaining why this happened and how TAP will compensate us for this unfortunate experience.  


Lyndon Pereira 

Lyndon Pereira’s experience is just one of a number that our newspaper has become aware of. As yet, we are not aware of any of the bad experiences having received any kind of explanation or apology.