She and her parents were due to leave Manchester Airport for the south of France, where a proud grandfather was waiting to see his granddaughter for just the second time since she was born last year.
Little Gracie Lynne Bagshaw-Rea and her parents Claire Bagshaw and Edward Rea had been eagerly awaiting the trip for a year after Covid separated them from Andy Bagshaw, Claire’s father.
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But a last-minute diaper change for Gracie before take off ruined everything – and left the family on the ground and distraught.
The couple were lining up to board their flight to Carcassonne when Gracie filled her diaper. They claim to have asked Ryanair staff if they could go to the bathroom to change her, which they say agreed and let them go.
They rushed into the restroom near gate 4 of Terminal 1 and said they were back within seven minutes.
But to their disbelief, on their way back to the departure office, they claim that they were told that the boarding had closed three minutes earlier and that they could not board the flight.
They had spent £ 258 on tickets for the Ryanair flight, plus £ 40 for long-term parking at the airport. They should have left on Monday November 29 and planned to return on Friday December 3.
After being prevented from boarding, they say they were told to stay in a hotel and take a flight Wednesday December 1 to Brussels from Manchester and change there to Carcassonne.
Claire, 37, said: “We went through a snowstorm on the M62 from our home, but got to the airport quite early and booked. This was our first time traveling with Gracie and when we checked in everyone was so helpful.
“We had enough time to have a meal at the restaurant once we crossed over [security].
“We were really looking forward to going to France. We had planned to go earlier, but pushed it back while waiting for Gracie’s passport to pass. It would only have been the second time my father and his partner Carol had seen Gracie.
“We got to gate 4 for departure and there was a queue to get on the plane, of which we were at the back. “
The couple said Ryanair staff were helpful as they lined up to board, but were stunned by what happened next.
Claire said, “As we stood in line, Gracie filled her diaper. I asked a Ryanair staff member if we would have time to change her diaper and she said ‘yes’. ”
Edward said, “We used a toilet near the door, I would say it took six to seven minutes to change it. “
But when the family attempted to board the plane, they said they were told the flight had closed three minutes earlier.
Claire continued: “We complained to Ryanair, who called a supervisor, who didn’t arrive for 15 minutes. During this time, we must have watched the doors of the plane close and he walked away. “
Edward, 32, said: “The supervisor asked if we had any baggage on the plane because if we did they could drop it off for us. So they could delay the flight to collect the luggage, but not to let us board? “
Claire said: “When we got back to get on the plane, the girl who told us it would be nice to change the diaper was missing.
“Another Ryanair staff kept shaking his head and saying boarding was closed. “
She has now filed a formal complaint with Ryanair, asking for a refund.
In a letter to Ryanair, she said: “We had arrived and joined the priority boarding queue at Terminal 1, Gate 4.
“Realizing that our one year old daughter had just got very dirty, I asked a member of the Ryanair staff who looks after passengers at the boarding gate for advice on whether I should change her, not only for its well-being and comfort, but also for that. passengers nearby during the flight.
“I was assured that changing it was not a problem because we had the time and even that help would be provided to get our stroller down given the lack of accessibility.
“We dutifully rushed the process and returned to the gate to be stunned to learn that the flight was now closed and we were not allowed to board. The plane was still open on the tarmac and the stairs in place, apparently we were three minutes more. “
She adds that a supervisor arrived 15 minutes later when they asked for advice.
“He refused to give his name; then suggested we find a hotel, fly to Brussels in two days so we can fly to France for the remaining night before we catch our flight home – seriously?
“He also delighted us how excited he was to go on vacation himself in the next few days! If we hadn’t been so devastated it would have been a joke. “
Claire added: “It was very upsetting. This was going to be our Christmas present. My dad and his partner were also upset, they couldn’t wait to see Gracie. “
“We had ‘asked for permission’ to step out of the queue to look after our daughter and we were shocked to miss the only opportunity to take a vacation this year to visit close family. “
After the argument over the diaper change, the family got their car back and drove home to north Lincolnshire.
Ryanair has been approached for comment.