A PAIR of British pensioners are demanding compensation after being refused a flight to Spain despite having their green residency cards.
Roger and Linda Wilson, aged 76 and 78, were forced to sleep on chairs at an airport for three days after Lufthansa wouldn’t allow them to board a flight from Dubai to Frankfurt.
The couple, who had been visiting their son, were due to catch a connecting flight to Malaga, where they have lived since 2009, but the check-in clerks said their documents were ‘not acceptable.’
“We were not given any further information other than being told to seek alternative travel arrangements ourselves,” Linda, a former legal secretary from Hertfordshire, told the Olive Press.
However they managed to get on an Emirates flight to Madrid without issue.
And crucially, they were accepted on arrival in Madrid, without further hitches, except they missed their connection flight to Malaga due to the late arrival of their cases.
The nightmare scenario on January 7 went from bad to worse, as a succession of flights back to Malaga were cancelled.
“We ended up spending three whole nights in Madrid Airport sleeping on chairs,” continued Roger, who was a building contractor.
“A total of FIVE further flights were cancelled or delayed plus one flight returned to the Gate due to technical problems.”
Incredibly the pensioners were given no offer of help or assistance by Iberia, who they eventually booked with.
“No food, drink or vouchers were offered,” added Linda. “And each time a flight was cancelled we had to go out of the Departures Area and back out to the Check In desks to rebook another flight.
“There were no desks open in the Departures area. We had to go through security and the bag check FIVE times.”
The pair, who live in Alcaucin, in the Axarquia region, finally landed in Malaga on January 12, only to find that their baggage had been lost.
“There was also no one to report the lost baggage to and the Iberia desk telephone was not answered,” Linda claimed.
Since returning home the couple have consulted with various Government offices, including the Ministry of Interior in Germany, the UK government, and the Spanish and British Consulates.
“All of them told us we should have been allowed to board in Dubai. All our paperwork was in order.
“We had been to see our son for the first time in three years and took all the right precautions.
“We are now in the process of trying to get our expenses repaid together with a sum of compensation due to the extraordinary amount of stress and anxiety this has caused us.
“So far we have had no communication from Lufthansa other than a generated automatic response.”
Lufthansa told the Olive Press: “Lufthansa takes travel regulations very seriously and does everything in its power to ensure that they are applied correctly.
“The new travel restrictions, some of which are implemented at very short notice, are exceptionally complex. This is a challenge in practice for Lufthansa employees as well as for public sector employees.
“In regards to this specific passenger case, Lufthansa employees have followed the requirements outlined by the official authorities. For this reason, we kindly ask that you direct your questions to them.”
Iberia told the Olive Press it would investigate the matter further but added that when the Wilsons were at Madrid airport the city was under siege by historic amounts of snow.
“The situation that weekend was terrible,” it said, “In spite of that, we sent clients to hotels, but some of them couldn’t enter in Spain because of their documentation.
“We also gave them some food (restaurants in the airport were also closed), blankets and we opened the VIP lounge to let families be there, no matter their flight status.
“We did as much as we could with the little possibilities we had.”
The Wilsons are continuing to liaise with Government officials and said the comment from Lufthansa was ‘unhelpful and incorrect’ and failed to admit the airline’s error.