Ryanair apologizes for the incident with a passenger in Luton

Ryanair has issued an apology following an incident at Luton Airport, where ground staff prevented passenger Mark Starkey from boarding a flight to Spain, despite having a valid passport.

Starkey (51 years old) holds a British passport that was issued on December 11, 2013 and expires on July 11, 2024.

Under post-Brexit regulations, a British passport must be less than 10 years old on the day of travel to the EU and have a validity of at least three months after the intended day of return. Starkey’s passport met both requirements.

Despite passing through security screening and the gate without problems, a London airport supervisor claimed the document was invalid, and denied him boarding.

In statements by L The IndependentMark Starkey, an education technology executive, said he passed the security screening and boarding gate without problems. “The Ground Staff Lady realized that my passport only had three days left, according to the 10-year rule,” he said. I told him that I was aware and that this was the last trip before my passport was renewed.

“He motioned for me to continue and I started walking towards the plane. Shortly after, he called me again explaining that he wanted to check with the Ryanair immigration staff. He called them, gave them my details, and kept saying: ‘I don’t think I can get on the plane.’ Then he hung up. He told me that my passport was not considered valid.

“I told him I did not agree and asked to speak to a supervisor. She insisted that she was the supervisor and in charge. When I asked to speak to a Ryanair immigration official, she refused, saying that only she could do that and that they had already decided that my passport was invalid. I was surprised to find myself on the way Dead end. Next, I had to figure out how to get back through the airport.

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Mark returned to his residence in Buckinghamshire. The Independent He was able to verify the passport was valid. Mark then booked an easyJet flight and flew to Spain the next day on the same passport without any problems.

During the Brexit negotiations, the UK requested that British passport holders be treated as “third country nationals”, making them equal to travelers from several countries, such as Tonga and Venezuela.

In the months since the rule was implemented in 2021, both Ryanair and easyJet have bungled the rules, inaccurately stating that a British passport becomes invalid after nine years and nine months.

Because of pressure The IndependentBoth companies have corrected their policies to bring them in line with Brussels’ rules, as has the British government, which has been publishing confusing information on the issue.

Commenting on Mark’s case, a Ryanair spokesperson said: “We sincerely apologize for the unfortunate incident in which a handling agent at Luton Airport incorrectly prevented a passenger from traveling. “The agent incorrectly believed the passenger’s passport was not valid for travel to the EU.

“All UK nationals traveling to the EU must meet the following entry requirements:

  • Passports must be issued within 10 years before the date of arrival in the EU.
  • The passport must be valid for at least 3 months from the date of return from travel from the European Union.

“A member of our customer service department will contact the passenger regarding the error made by our handling agent at Luton Airport.”

In addition to refunding his plane ticket and covering Mark’s additional transportation costs, Ryanair must also pay $439 in cash compensation, under European air passenger rights rules.

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Translated by José Palacios

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