Passenger refused on Ryanair flight because of the size of his wheelchair
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A passenger claims that Ryanair left him 'stranded' after refusing to allow him onto a flight because the size of his wheelchair.
Ian St John, who has been in a wheelchair for seven years after becoming paralysed due to spinal cancer, was flying from Cork to Liverpool on Saturday (2 September) to watch the Liverpool FC match against Aston Villa and take part in a golf tournament.
The 45-year-old said that he'd sent the dimensions of his wheelchair to the airline when booking the flight - but had heard nothing back.
After turning up to the airport five hours early, he was told by Swissport Airport staff at the departure gate that his wheelchair was too big for the plane.
He also claimed that there were no Ryanair staff at the gate to assist him and that, due to a flight delay, it wasn't officially confirmed to him until around 10:30pm that he could not board the plane.
Talking to the Liverpool Echo, he recalled: “By not telling me I could not travel until I got to the airport, Ryanair stranded me.
“My heart was racing – I felt sick when I realised I was stranded.
“I was crying in the middle of the airport.
“The Swissport staff, who were brilliant in trying to get me on the flight, were very upset by what happened.
“I was at the airport from 3-11 and was kept waiting for all that time by Ryanair.
“I have never witnessed discrimination like it.”
Ryanair, however, has claimed that St John had never responded to the requests for the dimensions of his wheelchair - which he disputes as he says he never received the emails.
He continued: “Travelling as a wheelchair user is arduous and you have to be meticulous.
“I would not have proceeded with booking the flights unless I was sure everything would be fine.”
Due to the incident, he was forced to pull out of the EDGA golf event and lost world-ranking points.
St John added: “I was so looking forward to the match, Ryanair blew it out the water.
“In 2023 to face this kind of discrimination is just astounding.”
Ryanair have issued a statement regarding the situation, saying: “This passenger travelling from Cork to Liverpool Saturday, Sep 2, chose not to fly after being informed by ground staff at Cork Airport that their mobility equipment exceeded the maximum dimensions permitted for carriage onboard Ryanair aircraft.
“This passenger received an Electronic Mobility Form on Friday, Sept 1, which clearly stated the maximum dimensions and weight permitted for carriage of mobility equipment onboard Ryanair aircraft but regrettably they arrived at Cork Airport with mobility equipment that exceeded the maximum dimensions permitted.
"We regret that this passenger’s mobility equipment exceeded the maximum dimension permitted and as a result we were unable to carry their equipment."