A Wishaw man and his wife who fled from Ukraine were forced off a flight home after Ryanair crew refused to take-off with their pet cat onboard.
We revealed earlier this month how Scott Yardley, 40, had flown to Poland to help his wife Liza, 37, and her two teenage daughters, Ira and Anya, as they struggled to arrange visas for entry to the UK, labeling the process as “ shambolic”.
The family were staying in hotels in Krakow and were forced to travel across the country to centers on a number of occasions before finally receiving the required UK entry visas at the weekend.
The Lanarkshire Live app is available to download now.
Get all the news from your area – as well as features, entertainment, sport and the latest on Lanarkshire’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic – straight to your fingertips, 24/7.
The free download features the latest breaking news and exclusive stories, and allows you to customize your page to the sections that matter most to you.
Head to the App Store and never miss a beat in Lanarkshire – iOS – Android
Initially Scott thought he would be in Poland for a few days, but ended up there for almost three weeks.
Eager for a safe return to Lanarkshire, the family’s hopes were dashed just minutes before they were due to take off when Ryanair staff refused to fly with their pet cat, Dobby.
Scott told Lanarkshire Live: “Ryanair have a ‘no domestic pets’ policy, but I phoned the head office and told them our circumstances. They said they’d get back to me and they did, saying they’d make an ‘exception’.
“We were all sitting in separate seats in different parts of the plane when I noticed a commotion at the front. Liza was in the first row in seat A.
“There probably wouldn’t have been an issue, but there was nowhere to put the cat carrier.
“The flight staff said that headquarters said the cat couldn’t fly, I told them I’d spoken to Ryanair and they said Dobby could fly. I added that we wouldn’t have just walked on to a flight with a cat.
“At that point we decided we weren’t separating.”
The family disembarked the plane following an impasse before insult was added to injury when they had to pay for coronavirus tests before being allowed back into Poland, despite not having left the ground.
“We went back through passport control and the guy wasn’t helpful there either, and we had to go for the Covid tests and pay £120 for them,” Scott continued.
After discussing their situation the family decided that Scott, Anya and Ira would book new flights, while Liza would travel on her own with their pet.
Scott has complained to Ryanair and lodged a claim for a refund of fares. He was also left further out of pocket for check-in charges and taxi fares to and from the airport.
He arrived home with Anya and Ira at 1am on Monday morning, with Liza staying behind with Dobby and will now travel by bus from Warsaw via Paris and London.
While Scott and the girls are glad to be home, Liza is not expected to arrive in Scotland until later in the week so they won’t be able to begin to settle properly until then.
“They are still a bit tender just now after what they’ve been through,” Scott added. “We just need to wait now to get Liza back.
“I’m shattered, but I need to go back to work on Thursday.
“My mum and dad have been brilliant, they’ve sorted out some bits and bobs for the girls to help them get settled in and I’ve just been for some messages.”
A spokesman for the airline said: “As per Ryanair’s T&C’s, animals are not permitted onboard the aircraft.
“Unfortunately, when Mr. Yardley contacted Ryanair to query this policy under his specific circumstances, he was incorrectly advised by the call center agent and believed he could travel with his pet.
“A member of our customer service department will be in contact with Mr Yardley to assist with his claim.”
*Don’t miss the latest headlines from around Lanarkshire. Sign up to our newsletters here.
And did you know Lanarkshire Live is on Facebook? Head on over and give us a like and share!
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.