Ed Sheeran concert: Disabled fans struggle to book tour tickets, left waiting for 7 hours on phone lines
If you live in India and are a fan of singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran's music, you'll know how difficult it was to book tickets for his Mumbai concert, which will take place on 19 November this year. When it comes to any international-level performer, spending hours on booking websites, refreshing pages, waiting in online queues — these are regular things. But when you are a disabled person, the task can be even tougher, if these accounts are anything to go by.
Tickets for Ed Sheeran's 2018 Divide Tour have gone live, and website Ticketmaster said that it experienced its busiest day ever on Saturday, 8 July. Many disabled fans struggled to book tickets through the accessibility phone line as a result of spending many hours on the hold line, recorded messages and disconnected phone lines.
Essex resident Sara-Jane Bird, 29, called more than 300 times on 8 July, and was finally able to buy tickets for the Wembly concert on 10 July, after a 50-minute wait. "I started calling at 10 am when the lines opened, and as expected it was very busy, but once the call connected, there was a recorded message which went on for around two minutes before informing me there was nobody to take the call, and to try again later," said Bird to The Telegraph.
She added that there was no queuing system, which meant that disabled people had to call, listen to the recorded message, and then re-dial. From 10 am to 6 pm, Bird constantly heard a message which informed her that the line was closed.
Bird is not the only one to have made her frustration public. Twitter user David Marks said that he had to wait three hours, while another user Charlotte said that she spent 7 hours trying to book tickets for Sheeran's Newcastle concerts. A third user Dee complained that of the 400 calls she made, 38 were cut.
Speaking about the issue, Ticketmaster said in the same Telegraph article, "We’re very sorry to any fans that had issues getting through on our accessible bookings line for Ed Sheeran’s Divide Tour. Our team speaks to each customer personally to identify their particular requirements and we pride ourselves on the service we provide fans. We are very disappointed that some felt let down in this instance, but we saw unprecedented demand for Ed who broke all records in Ticketmaster UK’s history."
Another fan Jessica Hatchett faced difficulties while booking tickets for the Cardiff concert. She said that disabled people have no option but to keep calling the accessibility line, as they cannot go online and book tickets. "If you want to go to a big venue that has capacity of 60,000 fans the number of spaces for a wheelchair user will not be anywhere near that size, it will be substantially smaller," Hatchett explained, adding that her able-bodied relatives were able to secure tickets within 20 minutes.
— Charlotte (@Charlot80634664) July 8, 2017
@TicketmasterUK Appalled not to have spoken to a human for over 3 hours trying to buy disability tix for Ed Sheeran. You're breaking EU Law!
— Dävid Märks (@marksyspeaks) July 8, 2017
— Dee (@RSDee04) July 8, 2017
To book tickets for Ed Sheeran's Mumbai concert, which is part of his Divide tour, read: Ed Sheeran Live in Mumbai: Tickets for 'Shape of You' singer's 19 November gig now on sale.