A gran claims she spent five long days in a terrifying, windowless room after losing her passport at the airport. Tracy McKellar had travelled from the UK to her home in Spanish town La Coronada.
She says she does the journey every two weeks when she landed at the airport on May 20. However, she somehow managed to drop her passport while travelling leading to a disastrous experience Spanish immigration.
The 53-year-old claims she spoke to a customer service employee after realising she had dropped her passport. She looked for the document for around five hours, but staff called Spain's border control officers.
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Tracy, from the Wirral, Merseyside, claimed she was not allowed a phone, any belongings or to change her clothes for the entire time she was detained in Madrid. The live-in carer was initially interviewed by border control before being taken to a windowless cell-like room.
She was only able to message her daughter to explain the situation before her phone was removed and she was lead to the immigration room, reports the Daily Mail.
The gran wasn’t able to leave the room until the next flight back to Liverpool, but this wasn’t for almost a week. Tracy noted the nightmare could have happened “to anyone” in her situation.
Tracy told the Daily Mail: "I ran to customer services to ask them to search the plane, but they were in no hurry to look. I was worried the plane would take off with my passport, but they didn't seem to care."
Ryanair said staff searched for her passport on the plane, but it couldn't be found. Tracy claims that border control said they “could only help [her] so much” as she was not an EU citizen.
She said they told her they could give her documentation to return to the UK but she would have to fly back with Ryanair to the same airport. Tracy said: "I begged them to let me fly to any airport at all, but they wouldn't let me.
“I was given a social worker who phoned the British consulate, but they said they couldn't do anything because 'it was the weekend'. I was stunned."
Tracy was locked in the room with 30 other people and nothing to do. At one point she began to teach some of her fellow detainees English.
Each night Tracy would wash her clothes and hang them to dry before putting them back on in the morning. She said: “It was very distressing at first but I knew there was nothing I could do, so I remained as calm as possible. But you could see how other people were really upset.”
She noted that one young man gave her the “creeps” and placed his face next to hers on her bunk bed shouting: “Ola! Are you sleeping well?!” Tracy said she swore at him and warned the social worker to keep him away from her.
The TV in the room was broken leaving Tracy with just a book to read. Unfortunately, this did little to alleviate her worries as it was about a woman in prison.
Tracy was eventually returned to the UK, but still hasn’t got her passport back. When entering the plane, the pice has to ask the pilot for permission to fly her home – an experience Tracy called “humiliating”. When she got back to her daughter’s house the gran says she fell asleep in the garden for two hours.
A Ryanair spokesperson told the Mirror: "The crew on this flight from Liverpool to Madrid (20 May) searched the aircraft for this passenger's lost passport, but it was not there.
"Any passenger travelling to Spain from a country outside the Schengen area must go through Passport Control, which is managed by the local authorities.
"While we regret this passenger's circumstance, it is beyond our control and is now a matter for the local Spanish authorities."
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