The Irish ultra-low-cost carrier, Ryanair, is facing backlash after its staff required Chinese residents of Ireland to present a transit visa to pass through the territory of the United Kingdom, despite them not needing the visa.
Huimin Ye is one of the Chinese residents in Ireland who was subject to such a requirement from the Ryanair staff and consequently was unable to reach her destination as she was unrightfully required to present a transit visa.
As Dublin Inquirer explains, Huimin Ye missed her trip to Vienna to visit a friend in June. Before even getting to the airport, she noticed that she was unable to make the online check-in, and once she was at Cork Airport, she could not get her boarding pass.
Huimin Ye said that despite her holding a Schengen visa that permits her entry to Austria as well as the Irish Residence Permit, the Ryanair staff did not let her board the connecting flight to the United Kingdom.
She said that the staff asked her to present a transit visa even though such a requirement does not apply to those who hold an Irish residence permit.
“I feel like they’re not familiar with visa policy, and they’re not willing to help,” Ye said.
As the UK government explains, in line with the current rules, all nationals of countries that are not part of the European Economic Area and who hold a residence permit issued by an EEA country or Switzerland are not required to obtain a transit visa for layovers in the UK.
“You may be eligible to transit without a visa if you have a common format residence permit issued by a European Economic Area (EEA) country or Switzerland,” the statement of the UK government reads.
According to Dublin Inquirer, Ye is not the only Chinese resident holding an Irish residence permit who was not permitted to board a flight having a layover in the UK without a transit visa.
Others have similar experiences too when travelling to different final destinations in Europe, and tens of them have already complained to the carrier.
Commenting on the matter, a Ryanair spokesperson said that the company regretted that Ye and other Chinese residents holding Irishin residence permits had been incorrectly refused boarding to the flight.
They further said that all those affected would be connected but did not reveal whether they would be refunded or have the chance to reschedule their flight.
According to the last census figures, around 27,000 Chinese residents lived in Ireland in 2022, raising concerns about the number of those that might have been refused boarding without a transit visa so far.