As massive cancellations of roughly 2,000 flights affect Ryanair scheduling and hundreds of thousands of customers of Europe’s largest short-haul airline, a woman has come forward to claim that she and her service dog were booted from their flight shortly before takeoff. Sophia Costabal, 32, claimed that she was “left alone” in the airport after being asked to leave the flight with her dog, for which she said she had all the necessary paperwork for travel.
The Miami resident told Russia-based news outlet RT that she was kicked off her Wednesday flight from Valencia to Ibiza, Spain. Costabal claimed that she had already boarded the flight and was in her seat preparing for flight when she was approached by three individuals she believed to be a stewardess, the pilot and “a man responsible for checking boarding passes.” Upon request, she provided the necessary support dog paperwork.
“I had a confirmation email to say the service dog is confirmed and I had my seat and I got to the airport, I checked in there were no problems,” she said. Costabal said she flies with the dog for anxiety purposes.
After initially accepting the paperwork, Costabal said that she was approached shortly before departure and told that she and her dog would not be able to fly. She claimed they were walked off the plane and “left alone.” The Irish budget carrier allegedly neither offered the woman another option for possible flights nor a refund. She has reportedly lost around $300 in fees for transport.
“I have all of his paperwork, necessary for him to travel in the US,” Costabal said. “I went to my vet and had him checked and chipped to be able to come into Spain. He had a physical 10 days before the trip. I then had to take the paperwork to the US Department of Agriculture for a stamp of approval.”
She said she was aware of the potential for something to go wrong, but thought the recent flare-up of airline public relations incidents was “a lot more common in the States.” She did, however, ensure she had all of the necessary paperwork prior to the trip.
“There were ways it could have been handled and they were so rude,” she said. “There was no solution, no explanation and no desire to help me.”
RT reported that Costabal and her service animal will take a ferry to Ibiza, but the pet owner is not aware if she will be able to board the carrier from Valencia to Barcelona, a necessary transfer before the two head back to Florida.