Ryanair apologizes for holding back passengers because ‘Scotland is not a country’

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An Edinburgh family was forced to miss their flight home from Portugal after airport staff told them Scotland was “not a country”.

Piotr Dziedzic, a local chef, was furious after Ryanair colleagues prevented them from boarding the plane back home and questioned the travel laws they were abiding by.

Properly following all Scottish travel laws, Piotr and his family explained that they have full Scottish residency, but hold Polish passports.

Having lived in Edinburgh since 2005, the family were shocked to be stopped at Lisbon airport as they prepared to return home after their trip, with staff reportedly unhappy with the evidence paperwork.

Ryanair apologized to family for confusion of Covid rules
Ryanair apologized to family for confusion of Covid rules

Edinburgh Live reports that the family was told that UK travel rules did not apply due to their Polish nationality, and demanded that Piotr’s youngest daughter, Ameila, be tested at the airport.

Scottish Covid rules did not require Amelia to take a test, but Ryanair officials insisted they adhere to English rules.

According to the Southern Reporter, the family’s eldest daughter, Karolina, 23, was questioned and staff asked her who the Queen of the United Kingdom was, as well as telling her that Scotland was not a country.

Furious at her treatment, Piotr, who runs the Lemon and Thyme restaurant in Jedburgh in the Borders, said: “Amelia was actually born in Scotland, so we have to follow Scottish guidelines.”

“What rules from other countries might we follow when entering our home in Scotland?

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“My eldest daughter tried to present the above information which clearly states that children under 18 in Scotland do not have to take a pre-arrival test, but only a day two test, of which we had proof of booking.

“After receiving this information, [the staff member] he came back with printed rules for England (which are, of course, different from Scotland) and tried to argue that Scotland is not a country and that we should follow English rules.

“Even a Google search to prove that Scotland is in fact a country was thrown out by them – it’s incomprehensible that we had to discuss this.

The family ended up missing their flight back to Edinburgh and had to rebook
The family ended up missing their flight back to Edinburgh and had to rebook

“Suddenly the initial problem that we are Poles was not a cause for concern, but rather that we were following Scottish guidelines rather than English ones.

“Excuse after nonsensical excuse, as if they were looking to create a problem out of nothing.”

Despite paying Amelia to get tested for coronavirus, the delay meant the family missed their flight to Edinburgh.

With no other way to get home, they were forced to shell out hundreds of pounds to rebook additional flights back to Scotland.

Stating that Ryanair staff treated them with “racism and a complete lack of professional behaviour”, Piotr filed a complaint with the airline.

He added: “We had to pay £550.96 to catch the next flight to Birmingham and then travel 560 miles (an extra large expense) to get to Edinburgh.”

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Ryanair has since apologized for the incident and confirmed that Piotr and his family had been prevented from boarding their flight by mistake.

A spokesperson said: “Ryanair does not tolerate any form of racial bias; all our customers are treated equally.

“Having addressed this matter with our assistance agents at Lisbon airport, it has been verified that this passenger was incorrectly denied boarding due to the misinterpretation of the travel requirements by the assistance agents, believing that required a Covid-19 test prior to departure for Mr Dziedzic’s daughter to board this flight.

“We sincerely apologize to these passengers, and our assistance agents at Lisbon airport have agreed in this case to compensate Mr. Dziedzic.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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