A fleeing Ukrainian family claim they have been charged over €222 (£186) for a check-in fee by Ryanair after generous fundraisers helped raise money to get them to Ireland.
Yaroslav Sydoryshyn, 31, was fleeing the country following the invasion by Russian troops with his wife and three children with help from Irish woman Jennifer Drum.
After successfully fundraising over £4,000 for the family, Jennifer said she sorted out tickets for the family and claims she spoke to Ryanair on behalf of them to explain they were unable to check-in online.
She was told by staff over the phone that they could check in at Lublin Airport in Poland with their documents but the couple said that when they arrived after they managed to leave Ukraine, they were told they had not checked in on time.
With little English spoken by Yaroslav, Jennifer said a a phone call was made to her at 7:20pm that a payment of €222.46 would need to be paid in order to allow them to board the 9:45pm flight on Saturday (March 12).
Jennifer, 38, was left disgusted at Ryanair over what she thinks is a lack compassion for the fleeing family, who she said were in tears at the airport after fearing they may not make the flight.
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She told the Daily Star: “I felt sick to my stomach as I was wondering if they got on their flight or not.
“I am really angry about it. I feel so sorry that they had to deal with it on top of everything else.”
Jennifer managed to use her card to pay the extra fees for Yaroslav and the whole family are now safe in Ireland after landing at Dublin in the early hours yesterday (March 13).
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Yaroslav has known Jennifer and her family for many years after they welcomed children who were affected by the Chernobyl disaster to stay with them.
In 2001, Yaroslav, known as Yaro, stayed with Jennifer and her family for one month every year for the next few years before they lost touch.
They recently found each other again after both were searching when Jennifer found the Instagram of his wife.
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Jennifer and other generous fundraisers managed to raise over €4,000 (£3,300) to bring Yaro and his family over with the rest of the funds helping his extended family still in Ukraine.
Speaking about the incident with Ryanair through Jennifer, Yaro said: “We asked them to call you (Jennifer), gave the address, but they told us no sorry, I will not call. And it's good that two girls just took pity and called you. They didn't even care that I was crying, the kids were crying.”
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He added: “We do not wish them harm, but I think they should help us.”
Following the additional payment, Jennifer said she contacted Ryanair about the extra charge and was told it should not have happened but says has still not been given a refund.
She said: “It’s a scary situation and when these big hotshots don’t help it makes everything worse. I have messaged them about this tonight (yesterday).
“They should have instructed all staff not to charge anything extra to people fleeing Ukraine! I literally told whoever I was talking to on the phone that they were fleeing and he didn’t care.”
If you would like to donate to Yaro and his extended family, click here.
Ryanair have been contacted for comment.
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