Last week, two young girls flew to Spain without their mother after she was turned away by Ryanair. The woman, Kate Barke, was denied access to board the plane because her passport did not comply with a post-Brexit rule for travelers from the UK. “Third-country” national passports must be issued less than 10 years ago on the day of entry to the European Union.
Kate Barke and her daughters, aged 9 and 11, had checked in for flight FR8386 from London Stansted on 1 August as normal. Each had a bag checked in. “At the gate about to board the plane, the girl said ‘You can’t get on the plane.'” They were accompanied by their aunt, who was also traveling on the flight to Palma de Mallorca, but under a separate booking.
Ms. Barke managed to obtain an emergency appointment for same-day passport renewal and traveled on 2 August. However, she says that the children were “hysterical… [and] it was [a] hugely traumatic [experience].”
Here's what we know:
Ryanair asks UK passengers to confirm that their passport meets the two conditions for entry to the EU – less than 10 years old on the day of outward travel, at least three months remaining on the intended day of return – but it is possible to check in even if the first rule is breached.
Ms. Barke told The Independent: “I was given very little time, support or options in a very upsetting and stressful situation, 16 minutes before the flight was about to depart.”
“The system is flawed. If check-in only requires the expiry date of a passport when in actual fact it’s the issue date that it boils down to, and subsequently can result in this kind of horrendous situation, the aviation industry has some big changes to put in place.”
Ryanair releases a response:
When asked to make a statement, a spokesperson for Ryanair did not hold back. The spokesperson stated, “This passenger was correctly denied travel as her passport did not meet the entry requirements for travel to the EU (Spain).
“Once advised by our handling agents in London Stansted that she was not permitted to take this flight to Spain with her two children, the passenger advised our handling agents that her sister-in-law was also taking the same flight and could accompany her two children on the flight.
“Her sister-in-law returned to the airport terminal to collect this passenger’s two children, and accompanied them on the flight to Palma.
“This passenger’s claim that the staff did not make rigorous checks to allow the children to fly without her is completely false. This passenger – the children’s parent – directly authorized her sister-in-law could accompany them.”
“At no time were these children unaccompanied and as the permission was provided directly from the children’s parent, they were permitted to travel with the passenger’s sister-in-law.”