A woman flying from London Stansted to Alicante, Spain was denied boarding by Ryanair “despite believing she had done all the forms, Covid tests, and other necessary things.”
The woman, who is in cancer remission and trying to clean up her affairs while she can, was traveling to her home in Alicante to clear out her belongings in advance of the property’s sale. Since she wasn’t allowed to fly, she had to find a company who would take away all her personal belongings and donate them.
“That had to be done on Thursday. It was no longer in our control on Friday.
“There were sentimental things in there, from 18 years of life in Spain. They have all gone to a charity shop.
“All I got was photographs from our estate agent.”
The 74 year old was lacked “a letter from the Spanish government approving the trip,” though she believes “her reason for travelling – to finalise the sale of her home – counts as essential, and was not told of the need for the Spanish document by Ryanair.”
She’s Spanish, was flying to Spain, and says she followed the instructions laid out by her airline. Ryanair, for their part, notes that in their email with instructions passengers are also advised “to check the travel advice with the relevant authorities.”
Here’s why I’m sharing this story. It’s one thing to say ‘but those are the rules’ and tough luck for not following them. But the rules are frequently changing (sometimes even while passengers are inflight. Sometimes the local government is the one not applying the rules correctly. And passengers rely on their airline – as governments often do – but airlines don’t always publish all the rules on their website.
Take for instance Hawaii testing requirements, they’ll only accept a negative test from one of their testing partners and they publish a list of partners on their website. Except the American Airlines testing partners aren’t on the website, and they accept those tests, where would a passenger even read that? They can trust American Airlines, and in this case that trumps what the state publishes on its own website.
So I’m not super sympathetic to saying that all passengers should just have to do the research themselves and follow the instructions governments or airlines post on their website, and of course keep checking the rules after ticket purchase too. Rules are changing all the time, they’re confusing, and it’s easy to get tripped up. Beware!