| RYANAIR has been ordered to pay compensation to a family for refusing to allow their four-year-old daughter to board a plane from Valencia to Palma de Mallorca as she was not carrying any identification.
Spanish law dictates that children under the age of 14 do not need to carry a passport or DNI – national identity card – if they are travelling with their parents or legal guardians.
The judge said that this was the case no matter what nationality the airline operating in Spain was.
At the time, the stewards told the parents they could board the aircraft if they wished, but that their child could not, to which the parents replied, “are you going to look after her while we're away, then?”
According to the judge, by refusing to allow a minor to get onto a plane, it was automatically considered that said minor's parents or guardians had been denied boarding.
And there was no legal reason why they should be, the court stated.
Where the parents are carrying valid ID and have met all requirements in place for boarding the airline, they cannot legally be separated from underage members of the family, and underage children are not permitted to travel alone.
The Irish low-cost airline did not turn up to the court hearing over the incident which occurred in March last year and for which the parents were represented by the Comunidad Valenciana's regional consumer association.
In the defendant's absence, the judge awarded 1,000 euros in compensation.
The plaintiffs said they were satisfied with the result, but felt that the award was too low, since it did not reflect the stress, hassle and time on holiday lost as a result of having to make alternative travel arrangements.
They had to catch trains and buses and finally ended up in Sevilla in order to get on a plane to take them to Mallorca.