A Waterside pensioner, whose 74-year-old aunt has been refused travel by Ryanair on the basis that her photographic bus pass was not a valid form of ID, says that the airline are discriminating against the elderly.
Scottish native and Waterside resident, Mary Stainthorpe, (67) contacted the ‘Journal’ to express her anger at the low budget airline after it came to light that her 74-year-old aunt, who lives in Scotland has been told by Ryanair that she cannot use her photographic bus pass as a valid form of ID to travel to Derry.
Mrs Stainthorpe said that her ‘frail’ aunt has never been abroad in her lifetime and would not be travelling by air with the exception of a visit to Derry to stay with her.
“Like a lot of her generation, my aunt has never been abroad and she has never driven so she never needed a passport or a driving licence. She does have a photographic bus pass with her name on it so I can’t understand why Ryanair cannot accept this for a domestic flight,” she said.
Mrs Stainthorpe said that she has tried on several occasions to contact the airline to get an explanation from them but she had been unsuccessful as the number she attained from the City of Derry Airport was ‘out of service’, she claimed.
“I know that Easyjet will accept her bus pass but it means she has to fly into Belfast and there is the whole hassle of arranging for someone to pick her up. It would be so much more convenient if Ryanair would accept her bus pass and let her fly into Derry,” she said.
She continued: “My aunt has been very lonely since she lost her husband six months ago, I thought it would be a good idea for her to come over to stay with me this was before I found out Ryanair are discriminating against the elderly. How can they justify making a 74-year-old woman living on a pension fork out 90 for a passport that she will never use again. It’s time they got their act together, if Easyjet can accept it then why can’t they?”
Mrs Stainthorpe said that Ryanair would be “losing a good customer” as she flew regularly with them to Scotland to visit her aunt and her mother who is in a nursing home.
When contacted by the ‘Journal,’ a spokesperson for Ryanair said that their policies are laid out clearly for passengers prior to booking their flights.
“Before any passenger can book a flight with Ryanair, they must agree to Ryanair's terms and conditions, which clearly state that the only acceptable forms of ID for domestic travel in the UK are a valid passport or driving licence.”