Ryanair refuses to let man board flight 'because he is a refugee'

'The Irish government website says I can travel but Ryanair says I can’t,' said Iyed el-Baghdadi

Simon Calder
Travel Correspondent
Wednesday 10 April 2019 15:31
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Ryanair refuses to let man board flight 'because he is a refugee'

Ryanair has apologised after wrongly denying boarding to a Palestinian refugee from a flight from Germany to Ireland.

Iyed el-Baghdadi was booked on Ryanair flight FR8557 to Dublin, due to leave Berlin’s Schoenefeld airport at 11am local time.

He told The Independent: “I’m supposed to fly in for a meeting (24 hours in/out).”

Mr el-Baghdadi said: "I once spent 26 days stranded in an airport after being expelled from my former country, the UAE. Yes, I'm nervous around airports. But if we're anything we're resilient. Dictators didn't break us, an airline certainly won't."

He is a resident of Norway, and is holding a Norwegian-issued “Convention travel document”, which is issued to refugees under the terms of the Geneva Convention. It allows visa-free stays of up to 90 days in Ireland.

No specific reason was given for the refusal to allow him to fly, and says that he was told: ”Our supervisor is busy.”

Earlier, he tweeted: “I’m at the airport in Berlin and I’m being denied boarding by @Ryanair”, claiming it was ”because I’m a refugee”.

“I’m heading to Dublin.

“The Irish government website says I can travel but @Ryanair says I can’t.

“If you love me, make some noise.”

(Ryanair

He later wrote: “I’m waiting for a supervisor, who’s obviously taking their time hoping I’ll just leave or I’ll miss the flight.”

Ryanair later tweeted: “Sincere apologies for the inconvenience – could you please DM [direct message] us your booking reference and we will investigate this immediately.”

Mr el-Baghdadi responded: “1. F*** you. 2. It’s BZHWWC. 3. F*** you again.”

Ryanair has now told The Independent: "This customer was denied boarding because of an error made by our handling agent in Berlin. Ryanair has since made contact with the customer directly and he will travel with us later today. We sincerely apologise for any inconvenience caused".

Among the many other responses on the incident was James Corbett, who wrote: “There is an Aer Lingus flight in 80 minutes. I’d be delighted to contribute to the cost of a replacement ticket if you have a Paypal account or some other mechanism I can send some £££s.”

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Angelina Newsom tweeted: “Please let this man on your raggedy ass flight. It’s enough that you rip people off on baggage.”

Under European passengers' rights rules, Mr el-Bahgdadi is entitled to €250 (£215) in compensation, in addition to other expenses.

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