Ryanair ask blind passengers to leave plane !

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A party of blind and partially sighted people are demanding compensation from budget airline Ryanair after they were ejected from a flight. The group of nine from Norwich were on board a plane bound for Italy when they were asked to get off. Trip organiser Katherine Hurst said the stewardess told them they had too many disabled people on the flight. A Ryanair spokesman said the incident was "unfortunate" but four disabled passengers per flight was its limit. Later flight "It is for safety reasons so that the crew can attend to these passengers individually in case of emergency evacuations," he said. "This was just an extraordinary situation. It was an unfortunate incident and we do sympathise." This group have had their entire holiday ruined by Ryanair Richard Howitt MEP The spokesman said the party were asked to travel on a later flight because they did not notify the airline of the disabilities at the time of booking, and there were already three disabled passengers on board. The ticketing agent allowed the group on to the plane without realising that it contained blind and partially-sighted people, he said. Katherine Hurst, from Norwich, said she had called Ryanair on 20 January to check that there were no travel restrictions placed on the group. 'Publicly humiliated' The group - members of The Norfolk and Norwich Association for the Blind - comprised of six blind and three partially sighted people who were travelling with three carers. Mrs Hurst said when she was asked if the group needed assistance she said they did not, and was told to go ahead and book. She said when the party arrived at Stansted in September they checked in as normal, were given priority boarding and took their seats. She said the stewardess then told the group they had "more disabled people than they were allowed to carry". The group said they were "publicly humiliated", and one woman was so upset she abandoned her holiday. They were split up on to two planes, and some had to spend the night sleeping in the airport. MEP support Senior lecturer in Air Transport Studies at Loughborough University Dr David Gillingwater said: "The Ryanair line is that they are a cheap and cheerful no-frills airline and in order to offer rock bottom prices there must be restrictions. "So anyone who is not average, conventional or just slightly different will have problems. "Ryanair is a private company and they can do what they want and create their own terms and conditions. "The big problem is getting low-cost airlines like Ryanair to accept responsibility for all passengers." The group's case has been taken up by East of England Labour MEP Richard Howitt, who is president of the Disability Rights Group of MEPs. "This group have had their entire holiday ruined by Ryanair," he said. Last year, Ryanair was ordered to compensate a passenger with cerebral palsy who was charged to use a wheelchair. Bob Ross, of north London, was awarded more than £1,300 after he challenged an £18 charge
Source = http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/norfolk/4337162.stm So since we ALL pay the wheelchair levy now when you book the flight, will we soon to have the 'seeing persons' levy ?
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Profile picture for user andrewm

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Isnt it a CAA rule about Disabled passengers having to have a cabin crew member for each of them? On the other hand FR seemed to have been notified at time of booking but the woman says she said to FR at booking they didnt need any help. I must side with FR this time!

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If it is true that only three disabled pax can be carried on a flight surely somewhere along the line FR should ascertain the physical state of ALL passengers. 1) Are you asked if you are disabled when booking your seats? (I've never been asked) 2) How often have you been asked if you are disabled when checking in (me, never) 3) How do you tell if someone is disabled without asking them? (not all disabilities are visible) FR argument seems very flaky to me when they do nothing to prevent the situation above happening.
Profile picture for user SOFTLAD

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There is no rule to state that you need to have one crew member for each disabled passenger on board. I would not be practicle as there is no rule to state the max amount of disabled pax on ,so if there was a rule it would be impossible to enforce. There wouldnt be enough seats for the extra crew.
Profile picture for user Skymonster

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The crazy thing is that even though Ryanair say on thier website that they'll only accept four disabled persons per flight, HOW THE HELL does anyone booking on the website know whether four entirely seperate disabled people have already booked???? ANdy

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Skymonster - exactly! One of the passengers was on the radio yesterday. The group were checked in as normal and to add insult to injury were given priority boarding! Some of the group ended up sleeping at the airport as FR would not assist them.
Profile picture for user kev35

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"Katherine Hurst, from Norwich, said she had called Ryanair on 20 January to check that there were no travel restrictions placed on the group." If the above statement is true, then Ryanair surely have no fall back position? If it was pointed out at the time of booking that of the group of twelve, nine had a visual impairment, then the problem would have been highlighted at the time of booking. Furthermore, Ryanair then split the nine onto two flights. That means one of the flights must have had five disabled persons on board doesn't it? Therefore they broke their own rules. Regards, kev35
Profile picture for user andrewm

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I think the problem was probably down to the Call Centre agent not fully realising they were disabled as the woman Katherine said they did not need help. Kev - Maybe this Katherine woman is not blind given she made the bookings and was able to assist one of the group should something happen. Same goes for kids as they need someone to be responsible for them.
Profile picture for user tenthije

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Furthermore, Ryanair then split the nine onto two flights. That means one of the flights must have had five disabled persons on board doesn't it? Therefore they broke their own rules.
Unless there happened to be 5 crew on that plane. We do not know the full story so we should give FR the benefit of the doubt (yes, it does pain me to write that ;)).

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Depending on the operator an aircraft could have 50% of the aircraft full of PRM's (Person's with Reduced Mobility) as long as there was an able bodied person for each PRM carried (the able bodied person doesn't have to be a crewmember). There are no hard and fast 'rules' regarding PRM's, just 'guidance'. Well there is one rule, which is, PRM's are not to be seated where they might impede an emergency evacuation. BTW In case you're wondering PRM=disabled pax. We are no longer allowed to use the term 'disabled', either written or spoken, as it may cause offence.

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What happens with those Lourdes flights?? Surely not 100+ cabin crew on each flight?? So surely that 1 crew for 1 disabled doesn't exist?? Scott

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So surely that 1 crew for 1 disabled doesn't exist??
As Darren says there has to be one able bodied person for each disabled person. This doesn't have to be one of the crew. The 50% rule is that laid down by the JAA, although for some reason FR limit it to 4 PRM's per flight. I suspect this is to do with not slowing down turnrounds. The disagreement seems to be that the group organiser 'discussed' the situation with FR reservations, but then booked online without advising FR that the people she was booking for were blind. One sides word against the other, but another example of Ryanair handling people badly and landing themselves in trouble. 1L.

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If you ask me you get what you pay for, don't expect much when you don't pay much, FR seem to have this down to an art, an aircraft seat only - contrary to Easy a smile doesn't come for free

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An update for you: It's just been reported on BBC London News that they have been forced to back down on their policy and change it as well as to apologise
Profile picture for user cloud_9

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An update for you: It's just been reported on BBC London News that they have been forced to back down on their policy and change it as well as to apologise
That's ridiculous! Why should the airline have to change its policy...? Yes an apology would be nice for the inconvience that was caused, but the question I would like to ask is why did Mrs Hurst' say that they didn't require any assistance...? It is a shame that we don't ahve access to any transcripts of the conversation held between Ryanair and Mrs H, as I am sure we would be in a better position to comment. But I am with Ryanair on this one...all the way! I am sure that there are some rules in existance somewhere that dictate how many people with special needs a certain aircraft can hold, and if there isn't, then perhaps some clever chappy should come up with some so that this kind of situation does not happen again...

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O'Leary is probably pleased with the publicity this has created. Advertising on the BBC is priceless lee