Disabled Edinburgh passenger hits out at Ryanair flights cull

Alexa Ritchie's family holiday was put at risk
Alexa Ritchie's family holiday was put at risk
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A DISABLED passenger has told how Ryanair’s flights cull has left her out of pocket and put her family holiday in jeopardy.

The Evening News reported yesterday how the budget carrier will slash flights between Edinburgh and London Stansted from four-a-day to four-a-week.

Craftswoman Alexa Ritchie had to fork out for a more expensive flight after her Ryanair connection in June was scrapped.

“I was very upset at the thought of the holiday may be being put back or worse being cancelled,” said Alexa, 33, from Gilmerton.

“It’s disgraceful how companies treat people these days. I’m sure hundreds of people have been left out of pocket by this money grabbing company.”

Alexa, who has cerebral palsy, booked and paid for the flight in January as the first leg on a family holiday to Morocco.

She was notified by Ryanair of the cancellation this week and offered a flight from Edinburgh to Derby on the same day June 11.

But that flight lands at 7pm - more than two hours after her longhaul to Rabat departs at 4.45pm.

She was told Ryanair have no other flights out of Edinburgh and so was left with no alternative but to book a replacement with Easyjet - costing £47 or 40 percent more.

Ryanair have offered to refund her £115 ticket with them but are refusing to pick up the extra for her £162 Easyjet flight.

Alexa was quoted EU regulations on compensation meaning Ryanair could dodge paying up as it cancelled the flight more than 14 days before take-off.

“Isn’t it odd though that the airline has had my money and countless thousands of others earning interest in their bank for months and we aren’t allowed a penny in compensation,” she added.

The Evening News contacted Ryanair for comment but received no reply.

Europe’s biggest low-cost carrier is cutting several UK domestic routes – partly thought to be in response to the worldwide grounding of the Boeing 737 Max.

The airline had planned to reduce its frequent daily links from and Edinburgh to London Stansted from the end of the summer schedules in October.

It would mean no flights between the two on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Ryanair is also cutting back its Stansted-Belfast service from three a day to two a week.

The carrier competes airport-to-airport with easyJet on both routes, making profitability potentially more difficult.

Industry insiders believe the planned cull was brought forward as a result of the worldwide grounding of the Boeing 737 Max after the Ethiopian Airlines tragedy in May.

Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET302 crashed soon after take-off from Addis Ababa last month, killing 157 people - leading to a grounding of the aircraft.

Last October, another Boeing 737 Max, Lion Air flight JT 610, crashed into the sea near Indonesia killing all 189 people on board.

Domestic services including Edinburgh to Stansted are believed to have fallen victim to a thinning of the firm’s schedule - so freeing-up planes to be used on higher-yield services.