32-year-old Samuel Natario has lost sight six years ago due to a cyst that appeared in the brain. He has learned to live with four senses: he works at Volkswagen Autoeuropa, conducts a social service course at ISCTE and he does everything at home.
He is independent, accompanied by Yolo, his leading dog trained in the United States. Without him he lost his autonomy, but even in the last month he was forbidden to travel to London to be accompanied by his four-legged companion.
The Lisbon-London trip was scheduled for 18:00 on October 17th.
He informed Ryanair in a timely manner about his condition and handed over all the documents planned by the airline to allow the hiring of guide dogs on planes, as it usually does in this situation.
But at the time of the transfer, company officials were unaware of Yolo's presence and did not allow Samuel to use his plane ticket.
"I lost the investment I made on the trip and I did not fulfill my purpose. Why? Due to lack of information and the professionalism of Ryanair employees"Samuel Natario said by email.
Contacted by DN, the airline said it placed the passenger on one of the following flights:We are genuinely regretted by the inconvenience we have caused and recharged this passenger on the next flight available to London Stansted the same day (no cost). "
Ryanair's communications office also said it was investigating this case and providing "that this will not happen again".
"The guide dog is not a companion dog or consumable accessory. The guide dog is fundamental to the mobility and autonomy of the citizen with total blindness, as is the case with me. That is why there are international laws and regulations that regulate and protect the rights of citizens with disabilities or disabilities"Samuel laments and asks:What are the economic agents who do not invest in training their employees for a customer-oriented service and guaranteeing universal accessibility? What entities audits and assesses the fulfillment of citizens' rights in these organizations? "
On the Ryanair site you can read that the airline transports visually impaired passengers with guidance dogs to all destinations except Morocco and Israel. In the case of flights to the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland, an animal passport or official health certificate is required. The dog must also be affiliated with one of the following institutions: International Dog Guidance Federation, Help Dogs in the United Kingdom or International Support Dogs. According to Samuel, Yolo fulfilled all these requirements, which did not prevent the dog and the owner from remaining on the shore that morning.