Richard Bolton, 60, from Bramhall, said he was among nine separate passengers on his flight from Alicante who were denied boarding for not having the correct papers on May 19, two days after lifting essential UK travel restrictions.
The reasons for the trip of the father of four were to visit a bank with personal documents and to perform urgent work on a property there.
Having now deepened his research, Richard admits that those goals weren’t enough to get him across the Spanish border at that time.
But he claims Ryanair did not indicate on its website the need for a Spanish residence permit or a letter from the government saying travel was essential.
He claims he was instead advised to prove he had been tested and provide evidence of the reasons for his trip, before being directed during online check-in to a questionnaire hosted by the Spanish authorities.
Richard, whose story reflects the experience of 31 Ryanair passengers turned away from East Midlands airport, said: “They had to make it clear that the only exception to residency in Spain is permission from the government.
“Now Ryanair refuses to respond or address customers and their customer support department doesn’t even recognize the problem.
“They continued to provide quality and reliable services during the pandemic, which should bring them praise and praise. Instead, they manage to wrest defeat from the jaws of victory by going back to type and simply ignoring their clients, treating them with a bit of disdain.
He added, “Nobody cares if you get it wrong, as long as you do your best to fix it. We are allowed to make mistakes during a pandemic, but when you do, you have to raise your hand. “
After booking his £ 109 ticket on Ryanair’s website, Richard claims he followed the travel advice, which he said included filling out a Spanish government questionnaire, PCR test and QR code of the Spanish government Ministerio de Sanidad.
He also arrived at the airport armed with letters from a notary in Spain, Santander Bank and a building contractor he had business with.
However, an airport handler refused Richard, telling him the airline would be fined £ 500 for every passenger returned from Spain.
Richard, who is semi-retired from the insurance industry, said: “The nine of us followed the advice and instructions of the airline.
“I could clearly prove that the trip was for business and that it was urgent to travel.
“I’m not doing this for self-promotion, I’m doing it for all of us because we can’t get a response from Ryanair.
“Just ignoring us is poor – I don’t want a refund, I just want credit for another flight. “
He added, “When I try to get in touch, I just get ‘Molly the Bot’ telling me someone will be back in 48 hours. Well, I’ve spoken to Molly the Bot every day since then and she doesn’t refer me to anyone.
Richard says that easyJet, with whom he booked a return flight, has already offered an alternative date.
Before Monday, May 24, anyone traveling to Spain had to prove that they had Spanish residency upon check-in at the airport.
Without a residence permit, airlines would not be able to allow passengers to board.
This is no longer a requirement, as Spain has opened its borders to visitors from countries with low infection rates, including Britain.
However, the country remains on the UK’s orange list, so returning Britons must be quarantined.
The government has said passengers should not travel to Amber List countries for vacations, although this is not a directive.
the Manchester Evening News contacted Ryanair for comment but received no response.
However, after 31 passengers were reportedly turned away from an East Midlands flight to Spain on Monday, an airline spokesperson said: ” « Ryanair fully complies with government restrictions.
“A number of passengers on this flight from Nottingham to Malaga on Friday May 21 were denied boarding because they did not meet the entry requirements for Spain in accordance with Spanish government regulations.
“Any passenger who needs to travel anywhere on the Ryanair network receives an email before departure advising them to check travel advice with the relevant authorities before their flight. “
the Manchester Evening News also contacted the handling agent for comment.