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A couple headed to Spain on vacation was instead flown 1,500 miles away to Eastern Europe


A Ryanair planeA Ryanair plane is pictured during landing.

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  • A British couple headed to Spain ended up in Lithuania due to an airport error.
  • The couple, with disabilities, booked special assistance and were put on the wrong plane.
  • They told BBC News that the incident left them “distraught” and “scared.”

A British couple who booked a flight to Spain ended up in a different European country after airport staff escorted them onto the wrong plane.

Andrew and Victoria Gore, both 47, told BBC News that they had intended to board a flight to Barcelona with the budget airline Ryanair as part of a package vacation worth £1,500, or around $1,915, on Saturday, May 25.

They had booked the trip with their family to celebrate Andrew’s birthday.

But Andrew, who is an amputee, and Victoria, who is autistic, ended up on a different flight to Lithuania after booking special assistance at Bristol Airport in England.

Passengers with disabilities or reduced mobility are legally entitled to special assistance without an additional charge when flying from the UK, the US, and many other countries.

Bristol Airport’s website states that special assistance can be booked by passengers who have mobility issues or hidden disabilities to help with check-in, getting through security, and boarding the plane. It is facilitated through the airport’s service partner, ABM, the website states.

“We have been away lots of times and always had special assistance, so this was nothing new to us,” Victoria told the BBC.

“The minibus took us to the Ryanair plane and they checked our boarding pass and let us on the plane,” she said.

The couple said their boarding passes were checked by airport staff multiple times, and they were also reassured that their family was already on board.

They didn’t realize there had been a mix-up until they arrived at Kaunas Airport in Lithuania.

“When I woke up, it didn’t look like Spain out the window, I turned my phone on and it said ‘Welcome to Lithuania’,” Andrew said.

“I was distraught, and scared. I didn’t stop crying,” Victoria said.

The couple said the airline provided them with overnight accommodation and transportation to Riga, the capital of neighboring Latvia, where they could board a flight the following day.

However, their bags didn’t arrive in Barcelona until two days later.

Andrew and Victoria’s experience follows a trend of travel nightmares that are sometimes experienced by airline passengers with disabilities.

A Department of Transportation report recorded a 108% increase in complaints from flyers with disabilities, from 76 in May 2019 to 158 in May 2022.

In a statement sent to Business Insider, a Ryanair spokesperson said special assistance is “provided by Bristol Airport’s special assistance provider — not Ryanair.”

“As these passengers did not board their flight to Barcelona, their bags were removed from the aircraft at Bristol Airport in line with standard safety procedures,” part of the statement said.

“When it was realised that these passengers had been misrouted in error by Bristol Airport’s special assistance provider, and rerouted to Barcelona, their bags were rushed from Bristol Airport to Barcelona to them.

“We sincerely apologise to these passengers for any inconvenience caused as a result of Bristol Airport’s special assistance provider’s error and have assured that they will be fully compensated by Bristol Airport,” the statement concluded.

A spokesperson for Bristol Airport told BI that the situation is being investigated, and the couple will be contacted to “direct their complaint to the correct business partner for resolution.”

Representatives for ABM did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Read the original article on Business Insider