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Dublin: 13 °C Wednesday 27 August, 2014

69-year-old woman “humiliated” by Ryanair over colostomy bag ordeal

Frances Duff, 69, tell TheJournal.ie that she was forced to stand in a queue at Fuerteventura airport and show her colostomy bag.

Image: Mark Stedman/Photocall

A 69-YEAR-OLD WOMAN from Louth who was refused permission to bring a change of colostomy bag with her on a Ryanair flight has said that she was “humiliated” by the ordeal.

Efforts by Frances Duff to show a doctor’s letter to the air hostess were ignored. She was then told to lift her T-shirt as proof that she had a colostomy bag.

“She just pushed it out of my daughter’s hand. She didn’t want to speak to me  or know me. She humiliated me so much that I started crying in front of people. I cried all the way home and I’ve been crying ever since. One day she’ll be my age and by God I hope she doesn’t go through the same ordeal,” Duff told TheJournal.ie.

Duff was eventually allowed to board the plane, which was flying from Fuerteventura in Spain to Dublin, with the colostomy bags in seperate hand luggage, from which she was separated during the flight.

According to Ryanair, passengers who wish to carry and use medical equipment during flights must first contact their dedicated special assistance line. “This special assistance phone line is used by thousands of passengers each year, without issue,” the airline said in a written statement.

However Duff claims that she did so on three different occasions. Each time she was forced to wait 30 minutes and could not get through.

“Why are they making me feel guilty? I did nothing wrong. I would like nothing more than to sit in a room and tell Michael O’Leary how hurt I am. I am speaking up for all the people out there like me. I am standing up to be counted.”

Ryanair have apologised for the inconvenience she incurred in not getting through to the phone number, but not for the incident itself.

Duff’s local TD Gerry Adams has called for a “full and fulsome” apology from Ryanair.

“Frances was treated in a disrespectful and disgraceful fashion. The staff lacked any empathy and Ryanair’s regulations did not allow for staff to exercise any common sense or discretion. Ryanair needs to examine its procedures and the resources and ensure that they have put in place the necessary resources for their dedicated assistance telephone line.”

Ryanair makes record profits of over €500 million>

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