Saturday 20 February 2010

STAIRLIFTS - in Stoke on Trent and Newcastle under Lyme

Stairlifts Showroom 

Stoke on Trent and Newcastle-under-Lyme

Stairlifts Stoke on Trent showroom
The little house next to Castle Comfort's main showroom has for years been a private home of Stairlifts expert and owner of the CCC Group - Keith Simpson. Clients wanting to do a 'try before they buy' always find a ride on a real stairlift much better than DVDs or a brochure to help to make an important decision.

The stairlifts showhouse is Stoke on Trent's only showroom showing a number of different models of stair lift from Acorn and Minivator.  You can visit us to see them and try one out.

Here's a recent customer who has had her stair lift installed by Castle Comfort. This professional installation of a stair lift in Stoke on Trent has made the lady owner very happy, as now she can be safe on her stairs. She feels that the climb up is now so much easier, and said that it was quite literally a godsend for her.

Stairlifts Safety in Stoke on Trent

A few years ago there was an incident at our stairlift showroom. Stoke on Trent and Newcastle under Lyme's only STAIRLIFT show house at Wolstanton village, was the scene of a major drama  as it went up in flames!

A fire that started in the kitchen washing machine gutted the house within minutes. Only due to Castle Comfort staff discovering the disaster early and the response within minutes of Stafford shire fire services, the house and possibly adjoining ones in the street were not completely destroyed.

Remarkably, despite the total internal damage - the working display Acorn/Brooks stairlift and a reconditioned Stannah curved lift, remained in full working use - and after a wipe down this popular Midlands chair lift company is still operating as normal.

We'll present shortly, a few alarming facts about the fire risk involved with washing machines and other appliances in the home upon which we all depend. But first - the two hours spent by twenty emergency services staff yesterday, was concluded by the hilarious tale of the first firefighter who charged into the house with his mask, headgear and hosepipe look for the source of ignition. He announced, after the drama subsided, to the roars of laughter of all present, that he could see little through the thick black smoke engulfing the lounge, other than the stairs situated just inside the front door as he entered. So ran up them. However, he quickly realised after taking about eight steps he would have gone nowhere, other than to the ceiling of the lounge ... he was going up the steps built for a curved stair lift model!! So he came back down and went into the kitchen to put the fire out.

Now to less amusing facts. Is it safe to leave the washing machine on while out or in bed?
Many washing machines now come with delayed start features. This shows the manufacturers are happy for the washing machine to be used totally unattended. However, cases of washing machines (and other white goods such as dishwashers and tumble dryers) catching fire still occur. Government fire safety advice is to not to leave white goods unattended - CHECK YOUR HOME: Before Bed Routine (Government fire safety site)
Always at least have a smoke alarm fitted near to the washing machine (or other white goods appliance) if it is left on and unattended. However, this could be impractical if they are in a kitchen due to the nuisance alarms from cooking
The Trading Standards site has an excellent list of safety related product recalls which covers virtually all appliances in the home. It's well worth book-marking and checking regularly as it covers all safety issues on all consumer goods - even food mixers.

Some old washing machines (at least over 10 years) have no protection against overheating. If the timer or thermostat fails, it can boil the water inside. Your clothes could be reduced to pulp and the wallpaper in the kitchen could peel off. The other main risk is flooding. Most washing machines have a third level on the pressure switch (the pressure switch controls the water levels in the machine) This third level switch is supposed to protect against overfilling by energizing the water pump if the water level rises dangerously above normal. This will work fine if the cause of an overfilling machine is a fill valve that has failed to turn off. However, the majority of overfilling machines are caused by a blockage in the pressure system. This safety feature will not work if a blockage stops air entering the pressure tubing. This amounts to having no real overfilling protection at all. Finally flooding could occur through a leak.

Many people like to set their washing machine to come on during the night to use off-peak electricity through economy 7.  If you are prepared to risk doing this then make sure you set it to come on as late as possible so that you will be up not long after the machine has finished. UPDATE: Most modern washing machines are now controlled totally electronically by software built into the main PCB. Such a machine will typically have selector buttons and LCD or LED displays. Some of them may still have control knob selectors, but unlike the old ones, when you turn them they don't click round (no cogs inside) and don't have the same resistance to turn that they used to. Instead they electronically send instructions to the main PCB power module. These washing machines have much better safety protection and will normally abort if they detect over heating for example. The computer style programs they use will time out (causing an abort of the programme and an error code to display or be indicated by flashing lights) if it takes too long to fill, empty or heat the water. They can even abort the programme if the load is unbalanced.

These washing machines are much safer than the old ones, but clearly none are infallible and electrical short circuits or overheating connections could still cause a fire!

To conclude - the frightening thing about this event is that the washing machine in the stair lift house was not switched on when it caught fire. It was plugged in to a live 13 amp socket - but not in use. So who knows what can happen? For instance, a young man named Lupton - our contact at a Stairlifts company in Yorkshire - was recently woken up by a smoke alarm at home when his
heated and illuminated fish tank ignited !!

Back to the stairlift house.That machine in the house was bought second hand 8 years ago so it was at least 10 years old. However, the mystery with this one is the bloody thing had never been used in eight years and wasn't even switched on when it ignited !!??

The insurance loss adjuster who came from Stafford to Castle Comfort Stairlifts to see the damage was asked if he personally always unplugs washing machines and other devices when not in use and he replied 'without fail'. He has seen too many cases like ours.

To repeat - that machine had never been used and as you can see here - it never will be.


Hotfrog to us

NEWSFLASH - Any dance hall ravers in Stoke on Trent, Staffordshire during the 60s and 70s - (who may well be users of stairlifts now) will be sad at the lost of someone as indestructible as this stairlift - EDDIE FENTON founder of the Adulte Ballroom in Burslem, The Crystal Ballroom (later renamed Tiffany's) in Newcastle under Lyme and many more dancing institutions. Eddie was a friend and customer of Castle Comfort. A gentleman worthy of legend status.


Well, the Castle Comfort Team have composed the following interesting and informative article -

 Going Up in the World – are stair lifts safe?

To most people, the expression ‘going up in the world’ usually applies to personal ambition. It may imply promotion at work, financial enhancement or steps up the social ladder.

For others, with impaired mobility, going up in the world can literarily mean the ability to move safely up and down stairs from one level of the house to another. Falls in the home, especially on stairs, account for a large proportion of injuries or even deaths each year. When restricted mobility, or breathing difficulties, makes climbing and descending stairs not just a struggle, but a very real hazard, tens of thousands of people benefit from the installation of a stairlift. I have experienced the trauma felt by an elder member of my family, following a simple fall, resulting in a seriously broken leg. She lives on her own and we all knew that a difficult staircase was going to present a worry. The gentle suggestion that a stairlift may be a good idea, resulted in this question - ‘Are stairlifts safe?’ Never having had cause to think about such an issue, I decided to try to find the answer so that I could offer some informed opinion.

Statistically, the answer is yes, they are, provided that some obvious conditions are applied. As with any mechanical device, from an aircraft to a tin-opener, freak accidents can and do occur. The incidence of accidents involving stairlifts, seen against the number of installations, happily seems to be very rare indeed. The horrific fact is that such accidents which have happened were probably avoidable, had the correct procedures and safe-guards been applied. Our Stoke Stairlifts are safe but, as with any equipment, the rules must be stringently applied by both the industry and the user. Manufacturers and suppliers cannot legislate for what happens once the equipment is installed and in the hands of the user, so make sure that you get a specialist in to get yours installed.  It isn't a job for an amateur DIY person.

It is essential to buy the right quality product from an experienced and reliable supplier, with an expert maintenance and service engineer on hand locally for a quick response to any problem. The dearest or the cheapest are not necessarily the best; there is no such thing as a ‘free-lunch’ where safety is the primary issue.

Let us take an analytical look at some accidents which have appeared in the headlines implicating stairlifts.

In Stoke-on-Trent, a stairlift owner tragically died in an avoidable accident on the stairs. The lady, who was only fifty-five, was found dead by her daughter, an appalling experience for anyone and she has my sympathy. It seems that her mother had fallen, resulting in her head becoming trapped between the wall and the stirlift rail. The headline could have implied that somehow the stairlift was a factor in the accident, but this was not the case. An inquest was told that in spite of her severe physical problems, the lady never used the stairlift and walked on the stairs, having expressed the fear that she would lose the use of her legs. Clearly, her stairlift was not to blame. Had she used the lift, the accident may not have happened. With the greatest of respect, it has to be noted that she had been in the habit of the regular excessive consumption of alcohol. The coroner ruled that to be a factor in the accident, not the stairlift.

It hardly requires an A level in the blindingly obvious to know that the installation of a stairlift must never be a task for an amateur. We all try our hand at DIY, with variable success, but I am left incredulous by the next incident, reported in ‘The Shropshire Star’ (July 2007)

Tragically the result was the instant death of a six year old boy who was playing on a stairlift whilst visiting the home of his great-grandmother. All stairlifts have a key to immobilise the motor and when children are in the house it is essential that the stairlift cannot be activated, Children must never be allowed to play on a lift as if it is something akin to a ride at a fun fair. Currently, YouTube is carrying a clip entitled ‘Lads mucking about on a stairlift’. The ‘humour’ appears to be a shot of one guy falling off. These idiots are actually young adults! Stairlifts are not designed for ‘mucking about’.

This accident was the direct result of faulty installation by someone who had no idea how to carry out the work. It seems that the boy’s uncle had removed the stairlift from another house and installed it in the new location with no professional assistance or even a manual. In the original installation, the equipment was installed on left side of the stairs. In the new location it was installed on the right. This meant that the obstruction contact strip, an essential safety device, was rendered inoperative.

A consultant forensic engineer told the inquest that some of the safety devices were not working properly – “If they had been, we would not be here today.” The boy’s head was pressing against trips which meant that the lift could not reverse and free him. This was another tragedy which could have been avoided by simple common sense.

The next example was the failure of the equipment but as a result of other possible factors.

MailOnline June 15th 2010

‘Great grand-mother, 90, dies after being catapulted from faulty stairlift’

The report recorded that an inquest was told that a great-grandmother died in hospital just three days after being catapulted 20ft down the stairs in her home in Barnsley by a faulty stairlift. The lady was spun round in the chair and tipped out headfirst after restraining bolts on the seat sheared off.

Her family told a hearing in Sheffield that they had reported a ‘whining noise’ and ‘juddering’ with the mechanism a week earlier but the company maintaining the stairlift had not sent out an engineer.

The lady’s grand-daughter told the inquest that she was putting the seat belt round her gran, but, before she could do it, the chair swung round and tipped her over, causing her to fall down the stairs from top to bottom.

Police attended and were of the opinion that the stairs gradient was too steep for the type of lift. There was evidence of more than five years wear and tear on the machine which had been installed as new in July 2006. An engineer who carried out an inspection after the accident confirmed two of the retaining screws on the seat had sheared off. He also believed that the seat belt had not been regularly used.

The inquest heard that Barnsley Council had awarded the contract to a company to supply and fit stairlifts. However, the company had sub-contracted the installation and maintenance to another firm.

Two independent experts told the hearing the seat belt failed but they disagreed as to whether it was the design or the fitting. A director of the company told the court that after the tragedy they had contacted all users of stairlifts on their books and had removed all seat belts and put new ones on which were tightened up.

I am not qualified to make, nor do I make any judgement, implied or otherwise. The facts are those from the inquest, as reported in the Daily Mail article. Both companies named in the press are currently trading on the internet.

I return to my question – “Are stair lifts safe?”

My conclusion – Yes, but follow the key points.


C   Company – a reputable supplier with proven track record is a must

H   Have correct professional installation – NO DIY

A   Arrange a regular service contract to ensure reliability and safety

I    Insist that kids keep off - keep it locked

R   Responsible user – care and common sense at all times

L    Listen to expert opinion

I     Investigate the options – what is best for you and your staircase

F    Follow all safety procedures

T   Take care on every journey

Follow the rules and you will be ‘going up in the world’ safely and with confidence.

To end on a lighter note-
A very little guy, wearing a very little green suit and a very little green hat was seen going up and down on a stairlift in a Stoke on Trent Stairlifts showroom. When asked what he was doing he explained that he was carrying out an elf and safety inspection!

Tuesday 9 February 2010

Stair Lift Prices are Monstrous - maybe, so look at this stairlifts firm from Stoke on Trent, Staffordshire

Stairlift Prices Are Monstrous...?

- Well, they can be, if you don't have a word with this national stair lift company originating from Stoke on Trent in Staffordshire. Whether you are looking for straight stairlifts or curved stairlifts, you have just discovered a very serious message. 


After first smiling at the following - you may then find yourself shouting - 'Spam!’ - at the next chair salesperson that turns up at your house. You must have had quotes for new windows? Well, let's remind you what probably happened.

Be on your guard if they arrive wearing a suit and brandishing DVD’s, a bunch of flowers and a smile that suggests you are going to tempted into a ‘special offer’ for a chairlift lift that may still be much more than you need to pay. This double glazing hard sell approach is all to common in the mobility products business – and not acceptable at all when often older and maybe vulnerable members of society are alone to deal with such matters. Often, the chairlifts company seem more interested in selling it on the ‘never-never’ as more profit is always made in business when the customer can’t pay cash.

Remember, if a sales person in your home expects and entices you to an instant decision – just tell them you want time to think – and not just for twenty minutes whilst they sit outside in their car.
If the pressure is turned is on just politely ask them to leave. And they will. If they don’t, tell them you are going to call 999 and if they don't shift then - dial it! The police just love to responding to cries for help like that – it’s easy meat (or even Spam) for the boys in blue.
The price for a stair lift isn’t a secret these days. Just ask the firm on the phone or look at Castle Comfort's fact-filled website on the link here- castlecomfortstairlifts. Or you can phone any one of Castle's regional offices listed at the foot of this page. A free survey is needed to check there are no extras but all that is needed is a phone call to get the cost. Many firms actually put their guide prices in their press adverts – but be careful – the word ‘from’ can mean anything.

Castle Comfort’s ads carry an ingoing price for a straight reconditioned lift - installed and guaranteed. And they are always available. Get a quote for a ‘recon’ and a new one but with prices having come down tremendously in recent years – the difference may not be that great. This company with its HQ at Newcastle under Lyme, just north of Stafford has full UK coverage. The installation and technical back up - ie 24 hour emergency call out service is supported by the British manufacturers of stairlifts with which Castle Comfort deal.
How much does a stairlift cost?
If you are under 95 - and looking forward to the next few decades, a brand new one with all the latest features is well worth the bit extra. It's best to get the options - then you decide. Another advantage with buying a new lift is that you will always get some money back on it if is to be sold one day.

Back to Spam. This phenomena of chopped pork, salt water and sugar with a few added chemicals was first made in 1937 – and its maker American firm Hormel Food Corporation is now on its way to producing its eight billionth can! That’s a lot of butties.

Britain’s brave Armed Forces have survived on the variety of meals that can be produced with Spam, yet the 2nd Royal Welsh Guards refused to surrender in Afghanistan when the Taliban interrupted supplies for six weeks. See Daily Mail article by Luke Salkeld.

Apparently, Spam stands for ‘shoulder of pork and ham’ although intellectual connoisseurs of school dinners have more than once labelled it ‘something posing as meat.’
These days day however, junk emails that constantly bombard us computer-literate geeks since, have been given a new name. These electronic litter attacks – have assumed the name of our infamous canned snack. Was the label Spam taken from the Bill Gates glossary no .... Monty Python. What??? Indeed. The monotonous use of Spam in endless dishes – egg, bacon and Spam, sausage and Spam, bacon and Spam and the repetitious nature of such inspired a Monty Python mickey-taking sketch. This brilliant and now legendary sketch, see it here, was repeated so much at unwelcome times – that word was adopted to describe an endless boring sea of unwanted junk mails.

So now we now all about that can than has always been in the kitchen cupboard- who makes it, what it can be used for, and why its name was adopted in the world of computers. Who knows? You savvy stair lift shoppers may be bringing on a new use of the word. Remember, if it’s a hard sell, or the price seems over the top, yell ‘Spam.’
Happy chair lift hunting!


Castle Comfort can often advise on getting a GRANT for a curved or straight stairlift - and they can sometimes be obtained from unexpected sources. But see here how difficult that can be.
Finally, see this Daily Mail story here how not to market stairlifts. Not forgetting that the same care exercised when buying a stairlift - needs to be shown if you are selling one .............
This article demonstrates the risk of getting a cold call from someone you don't know offering something that appears to good to be true. And things too good to be true nearly always are.

October 2011 NEWS UPDATE  Even worse - if anyone actually turns up unexpected on your doorstep then it's almost guaranteed bad news. There will be a small chance of it being a genuine company with a genuine product at a genuine price, but read here what happened to Mrs Bell from Sheffield when she handed over £1800 at the door for a stairlift.

November  2011 NEWS UPDATE  - and it's porridge time  (not the kind you have with spam for breakfast) for two guys in the mobility products business.  It's bad enough training an already a dodgy salesforce how to behave - but publishing  a book on it  is asking for trouble!

December 2012 NEWS UPDATE -   double  porridge time for more scum bags. When these pair come out maybe they'll be old enough for a stairlifts and we hope they get the same treatment as they dish out themselves

The anti-spam reference box-

Stairlifts Cheshire, Stairlifts Manchester, Stairlifts Birmingham, Stairlifts Dublin, Stairlifts Stoke on Trent, Stairlifts Swansea, Stairlifts Walsall, Stairlifts Devon & Cornwall, Stairlifts Belfast, Stairlifts Bournemouth, Stairlifts Bristol, Stairlifts Glasgow, Stairlifts Ireland,
Stairlifts Liverpool, Stairlifts London, Stairlifts Newcastle upon Tyne, Stairlifts Stafford , Stairlifts Nottingham, Stairlifts Stoke on Trent, Stairlifts Wolverhampton, and last but not least, Stairlifts York.

Contact any of our stairlifts offices in these locations;

Cheshire, Manchester, Birmingham, Dublin, Newcastle Under Lyme, Stoke on Trent, Swansea, Walsall, Devon, Cornwall, Belfast, Ireland, London, Nottingham, Stafford, Wolverhampton, West Country, South Wales, Northern Ireland.

In addition, we have new stairlift offices opening in these locations soon;
Bournemouth, Bristol, Glasgow, Liverpool, Newcastle upon Tyne & York.
Find your local rep's telephone number now. We already have full sales and installation cover with 24 hour technical back up.
Also, we have full representative cover, continual stairlift installations, and 24- hour technical back up in these locations -

Aberdeen, Basildon, Blackburn, Blackpool, Bolton, Burnley, Bradford, Brighton, Bury, Cambridge, Cardiff, Colchester, Coventry, Crawley, Derby, Dudley, Dundee, Eastbourne, Edinburgh, Exeter, Gizmoville, Gloucester, Harrogate, Huddersfield, Ipswich, Hull, Keighley, Lancaster, Leicester, Llandudno, Leeds, Leicester, Luton, Morecambe, Middlesbrough, Milton Keynes, Newport, Northampton, Norwich, Oldbury, Oldham, Oxford, Peterborough, Plymouth, Poole, Portsmouth, Preston, Reading, Rotherham, Sheffield, Slough, Southampton, Southend on Sea, St Helens, Stockport, Sunderland, Sutton Coldfield, Swindon, Watford, Warrington, West Bromwich and Woking.

Finalmente, para los que hablan espanol, y estan buscando una silla salvaescaleras - vea estoCall Freephone 0800 007 6959 to speak to your local 'anti-spam' rep ! - and finally (for now) - isn't it nice when people go out if their way to say 'thank you' instead of the normal instinct to just moan when things don't go well - see what we mean here .. and here -

Thursday 4 February 2010

Stairlifts in Staffordshire - or Aeroplanes in Spain. Which take longest to fix?

Many modern gadgets have lights on them to warn you something is wrong - or about to go wrong. Usually such a diagnostic display, as it is known, will tell you exactly what there is to sort out. We have gone a long way since a dock leaf from the side of the road was employed to wipe the oil dipstick. That metal stick, then told us, or told our parents/grandparents - that there was no oil in the car! Maybe that is why it broke down. So then the oil light evolved. Then, with a few inventions in between - came the modern DC (battery operated) STAIRLIFT - and what a delight for companies like us when someone calls us to say the lift has packed up. A number between 1 -12 is flashing, or maybe a certain letter. We know from this, if it has been accidentally switched off - or the batteries have flagged (unusual, but now and again it happens) or various other things usually connected with the circuit board. This magical circuit board is the brains of the chairlift. If it has caused a problem then the remedy is simple - a new circuit board. If a call out is necessary - we are all ready for it - quick, simple and soon the lift is back in action.

(Habla espanol? - tecla aqui)

So what's this about aeroplanes? When buying a stairlift, it's normal to find out about the firm's reputation, the quality of the products and above all the technical back up if things go wrong. Imagine when booking a flight or checking in at the airport we asked those questions... well, that's just not on. Because things can't seriously go wrong. Really? Just read this -

Monarch Airlines flight ZB 626 Manchester – Lanzarote - 2/02/2010.
On board - 5 stewardesses, 2 pilots, approx. 188 holidaymakers and a working (more or less) stairlifts company proprietor from Newcastle under Lyme.

Half an hour from arrival I wondered why I had for years preferred routes via Madrid to visit our offices in the Canaries. After all, the trip was taking under four hours, I had an extra legroom seat, a meal that was OK and I was looked after by professional staff – then, sadly... it was problem time. No, the wine hadn't run out.

The pilot calmly announced that poor visibility would mean a trip around the island, getting us there 15 minutes late at 12.15 pm. No big deal, but I noticed sometime after a quarter past twelve that we had swerved away and heading for the adjoining island of Fuertaventura. A still calm voice from the cabin was heard again but with slightly more disturbing facts. The flaps had failed to open meaning, whilst the aircraft was ‘capable of landing without them - we needed a longer runway’ and that was to be found on the neighbouring island 15 minutes away. Then there was a ‘But.’ And the blood pressure went up. We were going to have a landing ‘faster than normal' and added that 'the fire engines would be there as a precaution.’ When he announced that we were to pay attention to instructions from the crew - it rang to me of something different, not experienced in 40 years of regular flying – an emergency landing. The cabin staff girls put on smiles a little exaggerated – I suspect that is practised in their training. The one who joined me in her jump seat in the emergency exit couldn’t smile for long. An eerie silence throughout the plane contrasted a previous holiday type buzz. Eyes were closed everywhere and couples squeezed each other's hands - even those who hadn't done so for years.

We hit the tarmac fast. How fast, I did not realise until later. Brakes screamed and the aircraft went, at speed, what seemed an awful long way on the ground – overstepping onto what was clearly not normally used tarmac - therefore a section littered with debris. Debris which may have included dust, small pebbles or building blocks, I don’t know – but the noise was frightening – with the sound maybe like that of a machine gun attacking the underside of the plane. I kept looking at the adjoining emergency exit door. For the first time in my life I read its opening instructions. Is there a turbo stairlift the other side to make a descent? If not, there’s no time to do a quote. Brakes were rammed on and golly they were loud – and everyone wished and hoped they were good ones. We eventually stopped with fire engines on both sides chasing us. Thankfully, they didn’t need their foam or water. Any stairlift in situ the other side of my exit door would have remained idle.

An apology came from the pilot amongst a ripple of applause from all, and he told us we had landed 'at 170 knots' – but the inconvenience suffered was better that ending up, he said casually ‘in the sea at Lanzarote.’ He then – or it may have been his co-pilot, told me at the departure steps whilst he proudly saw us off – that 170 knots meant we had landed at 200 mph! – against what would normally have been 40 - 50 mph.

We all waited for some three hours in the transit terminal without news, and then suddenly the departure of our aircraft to Lanzarote was announced. I happened to know by talking Spanish to various airport staff earlier that a local engineer had checked the aircraft flaps within 20 minutes of us arriving, and all appeared OK – a fact that supports what I think to be the next and most startling part of my tale.

We boarded and took off again – scheduled to arrive at Lanzarote within 15 minutes at about, I think, 5.30pm. Then the impossible happened. Virtually over our intended destination island, the now almost standardised tone of apology came back over the loudspeaker.... and guess what? Those flaps yet again, would not open – so 'we were going back to Fuertaventura.' The pilot said he had done his best but apparently the fault could not be simulated on the tarmac after the first emergency landing, so the reason for the problem was not clear. He surmised that it might have been that the flaps worked on the ground but not with the full weight of people on board.

So what had been a novelty of a first time bullet-style landing was to be repeated. All heads shook in disbelief. Only sober and mature Brits could absorb such drama without audible passion.
Once again, the debris, the fire engines, closed eyes etc – but this time it was made worse by the incredible repetition of what should have been a once (or never) in a lifetime experience. So it was buses again to the terminal – and an indefinite wait for more instructions. The uniformed Monarch official again saw us off the plane – but this time with a glaze this time of embarrassment rather than pride.

Now, it’s question time – and I have emailed the MD of Monarch, Mr Tim Jeans, as I’d be grateful of a response by someone in authority at the Airline. The answer if I get one, may deter me from doing what some contacts of mine who work in the aviation industry want me to do here in Spain – and that is file an official complaint to the Guardia Civil, who will alongside other authorities investigate possible negligence, unnecessary risks to passengers in an aircraft by possible irresponsible flying practices - or inept technical services on the ground. Someone gave authority for that aircraft to take off again – only to suffer a second emergency landing the same afternoon.

So, to sum up, an aircraft is diverted and grounded due to an essential item mal-functioning. Then the reason for flap failure is unknown and not discovered. A fact later admitted by the pilot to passengers. In non-airline speak - ‘an intermittent fault’. The same aircraft takes off – the same happens and a further emergency landed is deployed – putting some 200 passengers again, in my opinion, at risk.

WHY SHOULD THIS BE ALLOWED? If a faulty aircraft does not have its fault diagnosed and remedied, should it not be immediately grounded? It’s OK using an old STAIRLIFT if it keeps packing up and a retired and out of touch engineer can’t find the fault – but surely not a passenger airline!!

On a lesser note, yet still an important issue; can Monarch please explain why the passengers on this scheduled flight, not charter, who suffered a delay of his magnitude (original arrival time 12pm) were not offered free refreshments?

When I left this fracas at 6pm and continued my journey to Lanzarote by taxi and boat, no one, not even children had been offered as much as a glass of water. What happened after 6 pm I have no idea – maybe the nightmare continued until the following day.

It would be interesting to know if this aircraft – an Airbus 321 (registration G-OZBN) built in 1999, and flying, according to the Spanish press, since 17th December of that year, has had previous similar problems.

Over to you Mr Jeans.

Update - 2 weeks on, no reply to the email, so a recorded letter- (snail-mail style) has gone off to Monarch. Perhaps Mr Jeans is on leave in the Canaries.
Watch this space.Update - 2 months on, no reply from anyone at perhaps they are all too busy fixing flaps. We asure Mr Jeans and his executive colleauges - that a certain stairlifts company fom Staffordshire doesn't hold grudges. If if anyone of them have a chair lift from us, whether they live in Stafordshire, Cheshire, Manchester or anywhere in England - and it breaks down - we'll offer them our usual prompt service!

Meanwhile - it seems that Ryanair have upset yet folk again- on the same Canaries route, a few passengers. - see their latest PR disaster