Ryanair fires six crew members for staging ‘sleeping on floor’ photo

Ryanair has fired six cabin crew who took a photograph of themselves simulating having to sleep on the floor in Spain's Malaga airport as part of a protest over conditions.

Ryanair fires six crew members for staging 'sleeping on floor' photo
Photo: AFP

The low-cost carrier said on Wednesday that the staff were dismissed for staging “a fake photograph to support a false claim (widely reported in international media outlets) that they were 'forced to sleep on the floor' of the Malaga crew room.”

It added this had damaged the airline's reputation, just as Ryanair is engaged in a struggle with European cabin crew members as well as various governments over working conditions and claims of its disregard for national labour laws.

Unions said that on October 14th, as storms raged in southern Spain and Portugal, more than 20 cabin crew had to spend the night at Malaga airport.   

They were put in the Ryanair crew room overnight and then moved to a VIP lounge normally used by clients at around six in the morning, both equipped with only chairs or sofas, Spain's SITCPLA cabin crew union said.   

During that time, six Portugal-based employees decided to lie on the floor for the photo in protest at what they slammed as inadequate accommodation.   

Ryanair's chief operations officer Peter Bellew apologised on Twitter, saying that “all hotels were completely booked out in Malaga.”   

“Apologies to the crew we could not find accommodation.”   

Luciana Passo, head of Portugal's SNPVAC union, acknowledged it was a protest photo.

“There were 24 cabin crew members in a room with eight chairs,” she said according to local news agency Lusa.   

“Some of them decided to show their indignation by lying on the floor as the other chairs were taken, and one person, who wasn't part of the crew, decided to publish the photo on social media. And they end up fired.”

SITCPLA meanwhile questioned whether it really was impossible to find hotels in a tourist magnet such as Malaga and its surroundings in southern Spain, especially in low season October.

Ryanair has been hit by strikes by cabin crew members for months. This has forced the airline to start recognising some cabin crew and pilots unions as it looks to avoid further stoppages.

READ ALSO: Calls to boycott Ryanair following racist rant on flight from Barcelona


Ryanair’s cabin bag fee policy ruled ‘abusive’ by Spanish court

A Spanish court has ordered Ryanair to refund a customer who was charged for taking a carry-on bag without a special ticket, and told the airline to remove the clause from its terms and conditions.

Ryanair's cabin bag fee policy ruled 'abusive' by Spanish court
Photo: AFP

In a ruling issued last month but only published Wednesday, the Commercial Court said the budget carrier must repay the 20-euro ($22) fee plus interest it had imposed on a female passenger flying from Madrid to Brussels for taking a small suitcase of up to 10 kilos (22 lbs).

Ryanair only allows small bags into the cabin if they can be stowed under the seat in front, but larger bags of up to 10 kilos require a luggage fee, or a fee-paying priority boarding pass.

In its ruling, which cannot be appealed, the court described the airline's cabin baggage policy as “abusive” in respect to the customer's legal rights under Spanish law.

It declared Ryanair's cabin baggage policy to be null and void and ordered the airline “to remove it” from its terms and conditions.   

But the Dublin-based airline said in a statement that the ruling “will not affect Ryanair's baggage policy.”

Ryanair added that the Spanish court had “misinterpreted the airlines' commercial freedom to determine the size of their cabin baggage.”

In February, Italy's antitrust authority fined Ryanair three million euros and Hungary's Wizzair one million euros over their cabin baggage policy on grounds it was tantamount to raising ticket prices in a “non-transparent”

But last month, an Italian court cancelled the fines following an appeal by the two airlines.

READ MORE: Your rights as a passenger if your Ryanair flight is cancelled