Woman with Ulcerative Colitis refused free seat near toilet by Ryanair

Woman with Ulcerative Colitis refused free seat near toilet by Ryanair

IRELAND’S OWN budget airline Ryanair has come under fire again in the latest of an ever-growing list of publicity blunders.

Alicia Dillon lives with debilitating bowel disease ulcerative colitis (UC) which causes symptoms including fatigue, cramping, diarrhoea and anaemia.

The 26-year-old is due to fly with Ryanair next month, but when she requested a free seat next to the planes lavatory she was refused, instead being told she would have to pay £9 each way to accommodate her disease.

Ryanair argued that their disability policy, in which it promises to cater to those with extra needs, did not extend to the condition suffered by Ms Dillon, leading her to righteously question “what gives Ryanair the authority to decide what a disability is and is not”.

Due to travel with her grandmother, who was granted disability status by the airline due to her reduced mobility, and her boyfriend, who was allocated carer status for Ms Dillon’s grandmother during the flight, the frequent traveller claims that other airlines have always accommodated her condition.

Speaking to The Liverpool Echo, she goes on to say that she told the Irish airline she was willing to provide medical proof of her disease but was still refused the free seat.

In Ms Dillon’s letter to Ryanair, which she posted on her Instagram page, she stated:

“I require seat allocation [as] near to a toilet as possible due to suffering with an autoimmune disease ulcerative colitis which affects the bowel.

I will be bringing injections on board with storage supplied by myself and a medical letter for customs.”

But the airline replied claiming they can only allocate free seats to “passengers with reduced mobility” and advised Ms Dillon to pay for her desired seat.

As reported by The Liverpool Echo, Ms Dillon said:

“It made me feel absolutely awful and embarrassed. If I have a flare up, my immune system attacks itself and I can get sudden onset diarrhoea.

Not having that far to walk to the toilet and having that peace of mind that I can be the first one there really is a big relief when travelling."

While Ms Dillon will have no choice but to buy the seat this time, the advocate for UC wanted the story publicised to raise awareness for her condition and the fact that Ryanair’s disability policy needs to be amended, saying “Ryanair do not assist unless it fits their requirement of what they define as a disability.”

Ms Dillon created an Instagram page to educate others about what it means to travel and live life to the full while living with Ulcerative Colitis. You can follow the page here.