Student denied boarding overbooked flight home to Spain in 'very traumatic' experience

A student studying at Glenart College who was travelling home to Spain from Dublin Airport for Easter break was denied boarding an Iberia Airlines flight.

The 15-year-old student was taken aside with another passenger as they were about to board the plane and were told that there were no seats and they could not fly.

Ameal explained to the airline staff that he was only 15 and that he was a minor.

He called language school owner Liz Einstein who is host to the student during his time in Ireland.

The airline stated to Ms Einstein that anyone over the age of 14 is considered an adult.

She was informed that he would be put up in a hotel for the night in Dublin. Ms Einstein objected and said that she had responsibility for him and would not see him on his own in a hotel overnight.

She said that she pointed out to the airline that they were operating in Ireland and that it was against the law here.

"They can't put 15-year-olds in Blanchardstown on their own," she said told Joe Duffy on RTÉ Radio 1.

She said that they offered to stay with him and that the airline objected as they would have to pay the extra sum.

She said that the only thing the airline could offer because the flights were booked out, was to fly him to London Heathrow on an early morning flight to catch a connecting flight to Spain.

Listen to the interview in full here:

She said that she objected to this because "he is only 15, his English isn't perfect and Heathrow is a very busy airport".

"I offered to put one of my staff with him to make sure he got to the right gate, and that wasn't an option."

"Eventually, we came up with a solution.

"They said that there wasn't another seat on the plane to Heathrow so one of my staff couldn't go with him to make sure he got to the right gate in Heathrow", so Ms Einstein came up with a "cunning plan".

She and her staff member organised a wheelchair for him and pretended that he needed assistance boarding so he could travel to Heathrow.

Their plan worked and airline staff then booked him in as a passenger needing assistance.

He is currently flying from Heathrow back to Spain after the "very traumatic" experience at Dublin Airport.

More on this topic

Monsoon shows why out-wintered stock always get best prices

115 acre farm for sale near Bantry Co Cork

Home delivery: The alternative to a hospital birth

Dig deep: Mind and body benefits of working in your garden

More in this Section

Public encouraged to recycle Easter egg packaging

Girl who used karate skills to fight off attacker is 'reliving the attack every minute'

Fota announces birth of endangered lion cubs

Ambulance union backs plans to increase strike action


This is why you really should go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day

Ask Audrey: My neighours are sound-proofing their bedroom - does that make them pervs?

How Ireland's only female executioner got the job

Scene and heard: This week's entertainment news

More From The Irish Examiner