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Rachael Delaney had decided to take her 17-year-old daughter to the Spanish destination for a post-exams getaway with On the Beach. Several days before they were due to depart the West Yorkshire mum checked in online with their passport details and printed out all required papers. Assuming any potential issues with the travel documents would’ve been raised already, they headed to the airport – only to be met with resistance at the gate.
Rachael says she walked out of Leeds-Bradford Airport in tears, after a member of the budget airline’s staff wouldn’t allow her onto the plane. Speaking to the Mirror, she said that her daughter, Keira, went on to Majorca without her.
“The stress and tears this incurred was not necessary,” Rachael told The Mirror. “I was distraught and Ryanair showed no compassion.
“There was one person on the gate and he looked at my passport and said, ‘Sorry you can’t fly’. He couldn’t really give an explanation, he just said ‘We don’t cover this’.”
Mum and daughter then made the decision that Keira would catch the flight alone, with Rachael promising that she’d find a way to meet her in Spain.
As she tearfully made her way out of the airport building, Rachael called the Passport Office, where an advisor told her she should be able to fly.
However, Rachael soon learned that her travel documents were in fact valid for travel to Spain, as Jet2 offered her a space on one of its flights.
Ryanair has since apologised to Rachael for the blunder, which left her forking out an extra £500 for last minute flights.
“My passport doesn’t run out until May next year,” explained Rachael, describing the experience. “He kept going on about the ten year rule.”
The member of staff asked Rachael to stand aside while he dealt with other customers, before telling her to leave once they’d all boarded, she alleges.
“As I was leaving there was the Jet2 desk there,” she said. “They smiled at me. I said, ‘Can you help me?’ They took me to the service desk, looked at my passport and said, ‘Yeah you can fly’.
“They got me onto the Manchester flight later on that evening and I joined my daughter about midnight that night, rather than 10am. Jet2 saved the day. I was so so grateful for it.”
Because Rachael had another flight booked with Ryanair later that month, and she was unable to get an emergency passport issued in time, she booked another Jet2 replacement ticket. In total, she forked out £530 for extra tickets.
She claimed that a month on she had received no news from Ryanair regarding her complaints.
The Mirror then contacted the airline.
The company admitted that Rachael should have been able to fly on her passport, which was issued on August 2, 2012 and expires in May 2023.
A spokesperson for Ryanair said: “We sincerely regret that this passenger was incorrectly denied travel by our handling agents at Leeds Bradford Airport (30 June), who wrongly believed that this passenger’s passport was not valid for travel to the EU. All UK nationals travelling to the EU must comply with the following entry requirements:
“1. Passports must be issued within 10 years of the date of arrival into the EU.
“2. The passport must be valid for at least three months from the return date of travel from the EU.
“A member of our Customer Service Department will contact this passenger regarding the error made by our handling agents at Leeds Bradford Airport.”
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