Tuesday 25 September 2018

'It was a total overreaction' - Irish passenger removed from Ryanair flight to Ibiza shares their story

Rachel Farrell

A passenger who was one of three men to be removed from a Ryanair flight from Dublin to Ibiza on Saturday has deemed the reports of disturbance as "fake news" and "a total overreaction".

Niall Harrington was one of twenty men on their way to a stag party to Ibiza on Saturday, when the flight was diverted to Paris.

Niall and two others were removed from the plane following "disruptive" behaviour, according to Ryanair.

Speaking with Neil Prendeville on RedFM, Niall said the reports of the group causing chaos on board the flight were "fake news".

Niall Harrington claims he wasn't disruptive on a Ryanair flight to Ibiza
Niall Harrington claims he wasn't disruptive on a Ryanair flight to Ibiza

"One of the lads that was in our party was after bringing on his own alcohol. He opened and poured his own drink, they asked him to stop and he put it away," Niall said on RedFM.

"A little while later he opened it again and before we knew it, we were told we were being diverted."

According to Niall, the stag group were "in good form" but he claims that they weren't causing trouble.

"All these stories then of disruptive behaviour- there was nothing like that, it was just good fun, people going on a stag, going on holiday. Everyone was in good form.

"You'd have to be there to believe it. Obviously you'd hear the stories and think 'they must have been up to something'. Everyone was in total shock."

When the flight was diverted to Paris, Niall says three of them were taken off by French police and left stranded in the airport. 

"There was 20 of us but our three seats were together. He was the only one that drank it and he told them that.

"The police came on with their guns and everything. The French police said it was for unruly behaviour."

As a result of the passengers removal, Niall says they had to organise a different route home. He also claims they received an email from Ryanair yesterday, saying they were banned from flying with the airline. 

According to Ryanair, the plane was diverted "after three passengers became disruptive in flight". 

"This flight from Dublin to Ibiza (16 June) diverted to Paris Beauvais after three passengers became disruptive inflight.

"The aircraft landed normally and the passengers were removed and detained by police upon arrival, before the aircraft continued to Ibiza," Ryanair said in a statement.

"We will not tolerate unruly or disruptive behaviour at any time and the safety and comfort of our customers, crew and aircraft is our number one priority. This is now a matter for local police."

The budget airline is now calling on airports to introduce a ban on the sale of alcohol before 10am.

"This is exactly why we are calling for significant changes to prohibit the sale of alcohol at airports, such as a two-drink limit per passenger and no alcohol sales before 10am. 

"It’s incumbent on the airports to introduce these preventative measures to curb excessive drinking and the problems it creates, rather than allowing passengers to drink to excess before their flights."

A spokesperson for Dublin Airport said that while the behaviour of the passengers was "unacceptable", Ryanair's call for a drinking ban "is highly draconian".

"The behaviour of some individuals on the Ryanair flight in question was clearly unacceptable.

"Dublin Airport has worked in the past with Ryanair and other airlines, the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA), the Gardaí and Airport Police on a joint education campaign to stress that such behaviour in totally unacceptable and will not be tolerated at the airport.

"Dublin Airport will continue to work with its airline customers and all other agencies in relation to this issue and will again remind the licence holders in its bars and restaurants of their responsibilities in this area.

"Ryanair’s suggested response is a highly draconian one that would affect all passengers because of the behaviour of a very very small minority of airline travellers.” 

Meanwhile, a man that was on board a different Ryanair flight has claimed that a drunk passenger vomited on him.

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Conor Lyden claims another passenger got sick on him on a flight to Malaga

Conor Lyden was heading to Malaga from Cork on a Ryanair flight on a family holiday last month when he alleges an intoxicated passenger vomited all over him.

"At the gate, we noticed that one passenger in particular was heavily intoxicated. The passenger tried to bring two glasses of vodka and mixer on to the plane and he was told he wasn't allowed to bring them on by the staff at the gate, but he was about to just knock them back there and then," Conor said on RTÉ's Liveline earlier today.

"There was a bit of a delay before takeoff, this particular passenger was a bit disruptive, shouting, kind of intimidating other passengers. A lot of other passengers complained.

"I was actually sitting a couple of seats in front of him. At this point I think a lot of people thought he was going to get kicked off the plane because of his behaviour and he was quite clearly drunk."

Conor claims the passenger tried to drink his own alcohol from duty-free, which he was told he couldn't do, but remained on the flight.

Conor claims that an hour into their journey the man got sick on him, damaging his laptop.

"He came sort of stumbling up the aisle behind me and just vomited all over my head, down my front and into my open laptop, which is no longer working now."

The passenger then "passed out across three whole seats" and remained there for the rest of the flight according to Conor, who has yet to hear back from Ryanair.

"I've been in contact with Ryanair nonstop since then. They won't reimburse me for my laptop which is broken, and I'm self-employed and need it for work." 

In a statement, Ryanair told RTÉ that the customer was "provided assistance" and have asked Conor to "submit receipts for dry cleaning services".

"Cabin crew on board this flight provided assistance to the customer in question, who confirmed their laptop was working normally. Our customer service team have since liaised with this customer and asked them to submit and receipts for dry cleaning expenses.

"As the largest airline in Europe, Ryanair's number one priority is the safety of our customers, crew and aircraft and has a zero tolerance policy towards alcohol and disruptive behaviour. Ryanair does not allow ‘intoxicated’ passengers onboard our aircraft. We operate strict guidelines for the carriage of customers who are disruptive or appear to be under the influence of alcohol.

"It’s completely unfair that airports can profit from the unlimited sale of alcohol to passengers and leave the airlines to deal with the safety consequences. This is a particular problem during flight delays when airports apply no limit to the sale of alcohol in airside bars and restaurants.

"This is an issue which the airports must now address and we are calling for significant changes to prohibit the sale of alcohol at airports, particularly with early morning flights and when flights are delayed."

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