A passenger turned away from a flight to Spain has blasted Ryanair for "misleading" guidance on coronavirus travel rules.
Richard Bolton, 60, was travelling from Manchester to Alicante and says nine separate passengers on his flight on May 19 were refused boarding for failing to have the right paperwork.
It happened two days after the UK's essential travel restrictions were lifted, the Manchester Evening News reports.
Richard, from Bramhall, Greater Manchester, reasons for travel were to visit a bank with personal documentation and carry out urgent works on a property there.
Having now researched further, Richard concedes that these purposes were not sufficient to get him over the Spanish border at that time.
But he claims Ryanair failed to state on their website the need for either a Spanish residency permit or a letter from the government saying the trip was essential.
He claims he was instead advised to prove he had been tested and provide evidence of reasons for travel, before being directed during online check-in to a questionnaire hosted by the Spanish authorities.
Richard's story mirrors the experience of 31 Ryanair passengers turned away from East Midlands Airport.
He said: "They needed to make it clear that the only exception to having Spanish residency is permission from the government.
"Now Ryanair refuse to answer or address customers and their customer services helpline doesn’t even acknowledge the problem."
Having booked his £109 ticket on the Ryanair website, Richard claims he followed the guidance for travel, which he says included the completion of a Spanish Government questionnaire, a PCR test, and a QR code from the Spanish Government Ministerio de Sanidad.
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But he was refused boarding at the airport, and was told the airline would be fined £500 for every passenger sent back from Spain without the proper documentation.
He said: "All nine of us had followed the advice and directions set out by the airline.
"I could clearly evidence the trip was for business and it was urgent I travel.
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"I’m not doing this for self-promotion, I’m doing this 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."
Richard says easyJet, with whom he’d booked a return flight, has already offered an alternative date.
Before Monday, May 24, anyone travelling to Spain had to prove they had Spanish residency at the airport check-in.
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Without a residency permit, airlines could not allow passengers to board.
This is now no longer a requirement as Spain has opened its borders to visitors from countries that have low infection rates, including Britain.
However, the country does remain on the UK's amber list, so returning Britons must quarantine.
The Government has said passengers should not travel to amber list countries for holidays, although this is guidance not law.
A Ryanair spokeswoman said: "Ryanair fully complies with government restrictions.
"A number of passengers on this flight from Manchester to Alicante on Wednesday, 19 May were denied boarding as they failed to meet the entry requirements for Spain in line with Spanish Govt regulation.
"Any passenger scheduled to travel anywhere on the Ryanair network receives an email prior to departure, advising them to check the travel advice with the relevant authorities in advance of their flight."
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