Quote: ‘We had to get a charity company to take sentimental items, from 18 years of life in Spain’

By Andrew Atkinson

Kristina Walker arrived at Stansted Airport – ready to fly out to her second home in Alicante – only to be told she couldn’t board her flight.

Despite checking Ryanair airline’s website carefully, arranging coronavirus tests and securing what she believed were all the forms, the 74-year-old was told she didn’t have a letter from the Spanish government approving the trip.

Ryanair staff have since turned away more than 30 people on one flight from East Midlands Airport and nine from Manchester Airport, claiming they did not have an essential reason to travel.

Kristina is convinced her reason for travelling – to finalise the sale of her home – counts as essential, and was not told of the need for the Spanish document by Ryanair.

After missing her flight, the pensioner and her 75-year-old partner, from Suffolk, had to hire a company – to clear the house of possessions – before the key handover date.

“We had to get a charity company to take it all that had to be done as it was no longer in our control.

“There were sentimental things in there, from 18 years of life in Spain. They have all gone to a charity shop.

“All I got was photographs from our estate agent,” said Kristina.

Since April 1, Brits have been allowed to travel to Spain to look at, sell or finalise the sale of a property, according to UK government rules.

Kristina said she tried to explain this to a member of Ryanair staff, only to be told she couldn’t fly.

The decision has left the couple £1,400 out of pocket, after they paid for the flights, tests, a rental car and two weeks of airport parking they used for only several hours.

“The rules should have been much clearer, from the airline as well,” said Kristina, who claims to have been refused a refund.

A spokesperson for Ryanair said that the company complies with all government restrictions and alerts people to the need to find out the rules in their destination country ahead of flights.

“Passengers were denied boarding as they failed to meet the entry requirements for Spain in line with Spanish Govt regulation,” they said.

“Any passenger scheduled to travel anywhere on the Ryanair network receives an email two days prior to departure advising them to check the travel advice with the relevant authorities in advance of their flight.”

In another incident that affected a UK based person was helped by a friend in Spain: “I left my home in Torrevieja, and drove south for more than three hours.

“I stripped all of her personal belongings over two days, loaded the car, then drove back.

“I then hired a Removal service vehicle to deliver the goods back to the UK. The goods are now in her possession at her home in England.

“Had I not have been willing on this, she too, would have lost everything.

“I honestly believe, that the powers that be, could have been a little more helpful and lenient, as long as these people meet the necessary criteria, vaccinations etc, then a lot of emotional heartbreak may have been avoided,” said the friend.