Blind man from March devastated after missing once in a lifetime trip to Italy due to cancelled Ryanair flight

PUBLISHED: 15:34 28 September 2017

Simon Wilkes, of March, was left devastated after missing a once in a lifetime trip to Italy due to Ryanair cancelling his flights. Simon is pictured with Morgan the sea lion.

Simon Wilkes, of March, was left devastated after missing a once in a lifetime trip to Italy due to Ryanair cancelling his flights. Simon is pictured with Morgan the sea lion.

Archant

A blind man from March was left devastated after missing a once in a lifetime trip to Italy due to Ryanair cancelling his flight.

Confirmation of Simon Wilkes' cancelled flight sent to him via email from Ryanair.Confirmation of Simon Wilkes' cancelled flight sent to him via email from Ryanair.

A blind man from March was left devastated after missing a once in a lifetime trip to Italy due to Ryanair cancelling his flight.

Simon Wilkes, who had paid £350 to join London Sports Club for the Blind’s activity holiday, plus an extra £67 for travel insurance, had his flight from Stansted to Pisa cancelled the day before. The cancellation was caused by the Dublin carrier’s over-allocation of pilots’ holidays. Ryanair said 34 routes would be suspended from November to March 2018, affecting 400,000 customers who had already booked flights.

The travel voucher that Simon Wilkes received from Ryan Air.The travel voucher that Simon Wilkes received from Ryan Air.

Mr Wilkes, 39, who is a fanatical open water swimmer, said: “They screwed up my holiday completely. It was going to be very special to me because I was going to be able to swim in the sea and go paddle boarding; these opportunities have gone down the toilet.

“I don’t get a lot of chance to do it and it’s not the kind of thing I can book again and do on my own. It was going to be my first time trying to do an international holiday, as well.

Simon Wilkes, of March, was left devastated after missing a once in a lifetime trip to Italy due to Ryanair cancelling his flights. Simon is pictured with Morgan the sea lion.Simon Wilkes, of March, was left devastated after missing a once in a lifetime trip to Italy due to Ryanair cancelling his flights. Simon is pictured with Morgan the sea lion.

“The night before we were due to go, I got an email saying the flight I was supposed to be going on was cancelled – it was very short nice.

“I phoned Ryan Air and explained that because I’m totally blind I really needed to be there on that particular day and that the club had arranged transport for me.

Simon Wilkes, of March, was left devastated after missing a once in a lifetime trip to Italy due to Ryanair cancelling his flights. Simon is pictured with Morgan the sea lion.Simon Wilkes, of March, was left devastated after missing a once in a lifetime trip to Italy due to Ryanair cancelling his flights. Simon is pictured with Morgan the sea lion.

“I said there was no way I’d be able to get around on my own or I would need to meet the rest of the club.

“They didn’t take on board a word I was saying and failed to appreciate my situation at all. I thought they were very inflexible, lazy and unhelpful.

Simon Wilkes, of March, was left devastated after missing a once in a lifetime trip to Italy due to Ryanair cancelling his flights. Simon is pictured with Morgan the sea lion.Simon Wilkes, of March, was left devastated after missing a once in a lifetime trip to Italy due to Ryanair cancelling his flights. Simon is pictured with Morgan the sea lion.

“Their idea of a possible alternative was to send me to a completely different airport in Italy. This is how little notice they were taking to anything I was telling them.”

In an email sent to Mr Wilkes, Ryanair said: “We sincerely regret the cancellation of your flight FR582 from London Stansted to Pisa on the 16/09/2017 which was due to unforeseen circumstances.

Simon Wilkes, of March, was left devastated after missing a once in a lifetime trip to Italy due to Ryanair cancelling his flights. Simon is pictured with Morgan the sea lion.Simon Wilkes, of March, was left devastated after missing a once in a lifetime trip to Italy due to Ryanair cancelling his flights. Simon is pictured with Morgan the sea lion.

“I wish to confirm that a compensation cheque has been authorised for the amount of £229.93 (equivalent to €250 per full fare paying passenger) in full.”

Mr Wilkes was offered an £80 voucher which can only be used with Ryanair.

He also alleges that the airline company were “too lazy” to fill out his compensation form whilst he was on the phone to them. I ended up having to put the claims in myself.”

Although he did receive a refund covering the cost of the cancelled flights, Mr Wilkes says he wasn’t told about it and only found out by checking his bank statements.

“They tried to fob me off with a basic level of compensation which in no way covers what I paid for that trip.

“I was really looking forward to it, and I think the way Ryanair has treated the situation is abysmal. I really am upset and angry with them.”

Ryan Air said it was cancelling flights at airports where it ran the busiest schedules, so it would be easier to place passengers on alternative flights.

A full list of cancelled flights until October 28 is available online: www.ryanair.com

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