Baby and toddler hospitalised after 5-hour flight delay

ORDEAL: 9-month-old suffered dehydration

Cormac Murphy

A NINE month old baby was hospitalised after being stuck on a Ryanair plane for over five hours.

The child and its three year old sibling ended up in Temple Street Children's Hospital suffering from dehydration.

Their ordeal began after a Christmas flight from Dublin to Eindhoven in Holland was cancelled because of heavy snow, but passengers were kept waiting onboard.

After three hours their father asked if he could buy a sandwich for his three-year-old, who was "shaking from hunger", he told the Herald.

However, he was informed it is "not company policy to sell food while the plan was grounded", he said.

The children were so tired, hungry and dehydrated following the mammoth delay that they had to be taken by ambulance from Dublin Airport.

Their father, who does not want to be identified, said blizzards hit the airport as the plane was due to take off on the afternoon of December 23.

The disgruntled passenger insisted "people were treated less than human beings" during their lengthy ordeal.

All they had to eat during the five-hour delay was a doughnut given to them by another passenger who dug it out of their luggage.

A young woman who was also on the plane collapsed and had to be taken off the jet, according to the man from Palmerstown in Dublin.

When the family and the other passengers were eventually allowed to disembark at about 8.30pm, most of them had to stay at the airport as there was no transport.

The family was still in the departure lounge at 2am when the man's children began running temperatures.

An ambulance was called and the whole family was taken to Temple Street where the children were treated.

"They (the paramedics) were brilliant. They got us into the ambulance, brought us to hospital and stayed with us. They said it was their 40th call to Dublin Airport," the man said.

He and his partner finally made it home with their children at about 4.30am.

They had been planning to spend Christmas in the Dutch city but the trip was abandoned because of the snow.

Ryanair did not provide a detailed comment when contacted by the Herald.

However, the company pointed out it operates over 1,200 flights a day and "passengers are free to liaise directly with customer service".

Ryanair's spokesman Stephen McNamara has previously defended the airline's handling of the crisis brought on by the severe weather.

The Ryanair incident occurred 24 hours before a separate incident at Dublin Airport, when passengers on a US Airways flight 723 spent seven hours on the tarmac.

Over 300 passengers endured the lengthy wait on the flight from Dublin to Philadelphia, which was later cancelled.

Passengers were kept in their seats, given no food and very little information as to why the flight was being delayed. It was ultimately cancelled at 8pm when passengers were finally allowed to disembark.

US Airways stated that the shortage of de-icing fluid on the part of the airline's ground handler was the cause of the delay and eventual cancellation. Another US Airways flight on the same route was delayed for five hours but eventually took off.