Irish low-cost carrier Ryanair dismissed claims of Spanish protesters the airline discriminates against disabled people as untrue and baseless.
Last Saturday, the Spanish Committee of Representatives of Disabled People (CERMI) organized a protest against Ryanair outside Madrid's Barajas airport.
Over 250 disabled people gathered to express their discontent with the way Ryanair caters to disabled people. Protesters accused the budget airline to “systematically discriminate against disabled flyers by means of unnecessary safety obstacles to board their flights."
CERMI's head, Luis Cayo Pérez Bueno, issued the following statement to the media: “Ryanair conjures up hare-brained security reasons and, without any kind of social commitment, excludes disabled passengers directly, either by not allowing them to board, or by obliging them to bring a travel companion at their own expense. The case of our friend Javier García Pajares is proof of something devastating that it wants us to accept as natural. It is the moment to tell them that low-cost cannot be translated into fewer human rights.”
Deaf-blind Javier García Pajares was allegedly not accepted on board by Ryanair for "security reasons".
"Thousands of passengers who require special assistance choose to travel with Ryanair on a weekly basis and do so without issue and we are proud of the service we provide to all of our customers, which we are continually improving," Ryanair said in a statement to the Media. Mr. Pajares was asked to provide evidence he would meet safety requirements allowing him to fly without a companion. "Upon receipt of this confirmation, we confirmed he would be permitted to travel, however, he chose not to,” a Ryanair spokesperson said.
Ryanair also said the passenger had received a full refund for the unused ticket.