A woman has accused Ireland's low-cost airline, Ryanair, of kicking her and her service dog out of a flight to Ibiza despite producing all necessary documents and approvals to carry the pet. The allegations come as the airlines faces mass cancellations amid ongoing dispute with employees.
The woman, Sophia Costabal, said she was never stopped at the boarding gate and no one objected to her travelling with her pet Hamilton until minutes before take-off when three airlines staffers removed her from the flight.
Costabal from Miami, Florida, was scheduled to travel between Spain's Valencia and Ibiza on Wednesday (20 September). She said she carried the service dog to help with her phobia of flying. Service dogs are trained canines to help people with disabilities, anxiety issues or phobias.
"I have a phobia of flying so I have Hamilton. I think it is a lot more common in the States and I knew I should check the situation over here so I had it all confirmed that it would be ok," Costabal told RT news.
She added: "I had a confirmation email [from Ryanair] to say the service dog is confirmed and I had my seat and I got to the airport, I checked in there were no problems.
"Then I was kicked off the flight. There were ways it could have been handled and they were so rude. There was no solution, no explanation and no desire to help me."
She said that while she was seated and the plane was about to take off, "three people came over to me, I believe it was the stewardess, the pilot and a man responsible for checking boarding passes".
"They asked me did I book a seat for the dog? "I showed him the support dog paperwork," the 32-year-old said and added that the next minute she was escorted off the plane with her pet and was "left alone" in the airport.
"Obviously I was really upset, I was crying," she said and added that they airlines refused to pay a refund for the flight or book her an alternative flight to her destination.
She said she will now take a ferry to Ibiza from Valencia, but is not sure if she would be allowed to fly back to Barcelona and to the US on Ryanair.