Wales Online tells how ‘a woman with diabetes was dumped at a Spanish airport’ by Ryanair and ‘had to sleep alone all night at Alicante airport without her medication’. This sounds terrible, and I’m sure it was all unpleasant, but which party was actually responsible for this? Let’s go into the details…
Traveler spends all his money on vacation, can’t afford to check in oversized bag
This headline actually sums up what happened here, so let’s go over the facts. A 63-year-old Scottish woman with type 2 diabetes took a five-day holiday in Spain, flying from Glasgow to Alicante. Here’s what happened before the flight home, according to the traveler:
“We were at the gate queuing for priority when a woman came up to me and told me to come with her and bring my suitcase. I went with her and she told me that my suitcase was too big to fit on the plane. I said ‘how can he not come on the plane? I traveled here with it.
She told me I would have to pay €69 but it was the end of my vacation and I had no more money. I couldn’t understand why I needed to pay for the case when I had flown in from Prestwick with her five days before.
She then tried to explain to airport staff that she needed to go home to take her diabetes medication, as she hadn’t taken it on the trip and was expecting to go home that that day. They didn’t move and said if she wanted to talk to a supervisor she had to leave the secure area.
At this point, a friend transferred her 69 € pay the baggage fees, but it was too late because the flight was already closed. She then spent the night at the airport, even though the traveler was “afraid to close her eyes”. As she described it:
“I tried to find a safe place in the airport safe and dozed off on the seats. To think that Ryanair left a woman alone in a foreign country is absolutely shocking.
My take on this Ryanair ‘denied boarding’ story
The whole basis of this story seems to be that Ryanair let her take her bag to Spain in the cabin, but demanded it be checked on return. Those who buy priority boarding with Ryanair (which this traveler seems to have done) can take a small personal bag (40x20x25cm) and a 10kg trolley bag (55x40x20cm).
In this spirit:
- It is possible that they let him slide on the way there, but not on the way back; if a cop pulls you over for speeding, suggesting you’ve driven too fast in the past but haven’t been pulled over isn’t much of a defense
- It’s possible that her bag will be heavier and bigger on the way home, because maybe she did some shopping in Spain
- Ryanair has baggage sizers at every gate so I’m pretty confident they didn’t make it up that her bag was over the limit otherwise she could have proven otherwise
I don’t want to appear indifferent to this traveler, because I’m sure it was a bad experience for her. If I had witnessed such a situation, I would have gladly paid the 69 € costs so that she can return home and to avoid this problem.
At the same time, it is also important to take personal responsibility here, and in this case the airline really has little or no fault, in my opinion:
- I realize everyone is in a different financial situation, but spending all your money on the trip only to not be able to afford an oversized bag on the way home seems like reckless planning.
- If you plan to travel without any savings for an emergency, make sure you are at least fully aware of the rules you agree to when booking a ticket on an ultra low cost carrier known to charge fees for everything; just saying “well, they let it slide in the past” doesn’t meet that threshold
- If you have life-saving medication, don’t expect your flight to go exactly as planned and leave a buffer
At the end of the line
The story of how Ryanair ‘stranded’ a Scottish traveler in Spain is attracting a lot of attention. And by “stranded” I mean the traveler had an oversized bag and unfortunately did not have the money to pay to check the bag in, per Ryanair policy.
Ultimately, I feel bad for the fact that this traveler had to spend the night at the airport, because that’s surely not a position anyone would want to be in. It would have been nice if other travelers joined in to pay the fees. the woman would not be blocked. At the same time, you can’t really blame the airline for wanting to enforce their (very reasonable) policy.
What do you think of this Ryanair story?