Ryanair has protested that a viral photograph showing stranded cabin crew sleeping on the floor of Malaga’s airport isn’t quite what it seems. The low-cost carrier has been slammed for not putting crew into alternative accommodations, but Ryanair says that no rooms were available in the local area.
A viral photograph showing stranded Ryanair crew sleeping on the floor of a Spanish airport this weekend isn’t quite what it seems, says the carrier. The photo depicts members of the airline’s staff lying down on the floor of Malaga Airport (AGP), where they were reportedly stranded last Saturday night when a storm – the remnants of Hurricane Leslie – hit Spain and Portugal.
BirminghamLive reports that, according to the SNPVAC, a labor union which represents Portuguese airline crews, “Around 24 Ryanair staff are said to have spent the night on the floor of Malaga Airport on Saturday without food or drink.”
Jim Atkinson, a former pilot with the carrier, shared the photo online and offered his comments on the situation over social media. “This is a Ryanair 737 crew based in Portugal, stranded in Malaga, Spain a couple of nights ago due to storms. They are sleeping on the floor of the Ryanair crew room. RYR is earning €1.25 ($1.44) billion this year but will not put stranded crews in a hotel for the night,” he was quoted as tweeting.
Ryanair has confirmed that crew were confined to AGP because no local hotels were available due to the number of flights and passengers diverted because of the storm. However, offering its comments on the photo, the carrier was quoted by the Irish Mirror as saying that the picture had in fact been “staged.”
Ryanair also said that while staff were eventually granted access to a VIP lounge at the airport, they were still unable to be provided with any kind of refreshments.
The carrier apologized to its stranded staff and was quoted as saying in an official statement, “Due to storms in Porto (13 Oct) a number of flights diverted to Malaga and as this was a Spanish national holiday, hotels were fully booked. The crew spent a short period of time in the crew room before being moved to a VIP lounge, and returned to Porto the next day (none of the crew operated flights).”