EXCLUSIVE BY Jo Chipchase
A BRITISH grandmother was forced to fork out hundreds of euros on another flight after her hand luggage was deemed ‘too deep’ by Ryanair.
The ruling came despite the SAME bag being allowed onboard for her flight out of Malaga.
Expat Pamela Lipmann, from Lanjaron, was flying from Bournemouth to Malaga after visiting her family in the UK when she was told her hand luggage was too big.
The Granada-based artist was told she would have to pay an additional 50 pounds (60 euros) to carry it onboard.
The 57-year-old, who had no credit cards and was only carrying five pounds in cash, burst into tears fearing she might miss her flight and not make it home to Granada for Christmas.
“I was pulled aside in front of hundreds of other passengers,” the mother-of-two told the Olive Press, “It was very humiliating.”
But that is when her ordeal got considerably worse.
“I was almost immediately told by a security guard to stop crying. But I just couldn’t help it, I just couldn’t believe what was happening.”
This came despite a fellow passenger offering to pay for the bag, but Swissport, the company in charge of inspecting baggage, refused the offer and would not let Lipmann onboard.
An airport employee then told her if she didn’t stop crying she ‘would not be flying’ that day.
And true to her word, after the other passengers had boarded, the grandmother was frogmarched through the airport, back through security and customs.
One female Swissport operative allegedly told security staff to ‘drag’ Lipmann if she didn’t cooperate.
The same woman told her that she would never fly though Bournemouth Airport again as she was a ‘danger to the other passengers’.
“I was treated like a common convicted criminal, not an airline passenger travelling home for Christmas.”
Fortunately for Lipmann staff at the airport clubbed together to get her enough money to get a train back to a friend’s house nearby.
She was forced to book a £300 flight back to Spain the next day.
A Swissport spokesman told the Olive Press it did not comment on individual passengers, but emphasised that staff operate under strict rules put in place by all airlines over dimensions of cabin baggage.
He added that Swissport has no jurisdiction over who is or who is not allowed to travel to and from an airport, so the threat of a ban would not have come from its staff.
The company also denied ‘dragging’ miss Lipmann, saying it simply ‘didn’t happen’.
An airline expert explained that the ground staff were within their rights to stop her boarding and were following standard airline procedures – both in refusing an oversized bag and in expelling an emotional passenger.
“They could not know whether someone in an emotional state could have a tantrum in-flight,” he explained.
“Unfortunately these staff become desensitised to individual needs.”
It seems that you can fly if you are drunk and unruly, as has been proven on several occasions recently, but not if you are upset and crying as a result of having been humiliated and abused by bullying airport staff.