Thursday, 7 Dec 2023

Ryanair and French airport are having a right old barney over disabled passenger

A French airport has accused Ryanair of making a ‘false and defamatory’ statement during a row about a disabled passenger.

A flight from Bordeaux-Mérignac Airport to Edinburgh Airport was delayed for two hours last Tuesday after a passenger in a wheelchair was ‘left behind’ at the gate.

The plane had started moving towards the runway for take-off when the error was discovered.

But Ryanair blamed the airport, claiming it was the fault of the ground staff.

The airline said in a statement: ‘It is unacceptable that Bordeaux Airport failed to provide this passenger with the special assistance required to board this flight from Bordeaux to Edinburgh despite Ryanair paying for this service.

‘Not only did they fail to board this passenger, but they misinformed the crew on this flight that all passengers had been boarded when in fact this passenger had not, and the aircraft began to taxi on to the runway.

‘Ground staff at Bordeaux Airport realised their error and notified the crew who returned to stand in order to board the passenger.

‘It is abysmal that Ryanair customers requiring special assistance are being let down by Bordeaux Airport and we are working with them to ensure that this does not recur.’

But Bordeaux-Mérignac Airport has hit back, claiming to Business Insider the budget airline’s statement was ‘false and defamatory’.

A spokesperson said: ‘It should be clarified that throughout this time, the passenger remained the responsibility of the airline which organised her transport.

‘The airport is only an infrastructure operator. When boarding for the flight to Edinburgh began, all passengers were directed to the plane by Ryanair’s service provider.

‘The passenger in a wheelchair and her companion were present in the departure lounge at that time, visible to Ryanair staff and under their responsibility.

‘When the escort assistant took charge of the passenger and her attendant to accompany them to their plane, they realised that the Ryanair teams had closed the plane doors and that the plane was moving.’

This is not the only dispute Ryanair has been involved with this month – a family is in a row with the airline after it claimed they ‘unchecked themselves’ online and then refused to reimburse their £165 check-in fee.

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