Ryanair cabin crew pictured lying on a Spanish airport office floor last month have been sacked for staging a viral photo, reports say this morning. After becoming stranded by bad weather, crew members apparently took part in a picture to highlight their objections to being left in a room for several hours.
The image was “staged” by six crew members in protest at their treatment at Malaga Airport on the Costa del Sol in the early hours of October 14th.They were part of a group of eight pilots and 16 cabin crew based in Portugal who claimed they were forced to spend several hours in a room after landing at Malaga airport. The incident occurred just after midnight on the 14th of last month following diversions caused by Hurricane Leslie.
The cabin crew in this “staged” photo have all been fired by #Ryanair, from an internal source, despite the company confirming they weren’t provided with hotel rooms to spend the night. Ryanair also fired 16 cabin crew members based at Eindhoven Airport. pic.twitter.com/usbqs5aRUJ
— From the Flight Deck (@Golfcharlie232) November 6, 2018
Luciana Passo, head of the SNPVAC cabin crew union in Portugal said that the airline felt they had been harmed by the photograph, and called the decision “awful.”
“Ryanair thinks it was harmed by the publication of that photograph when it was no more than a show of the crew members’ justified feeling of indignation,” he said. “The union’s legal team are now dealing with the matter.”
The airline admitted the crew had spent “a short time” in the room because a Bank Holiday in Spain meant nearby hotels were full, but refuted claims anyone had slept on the floor, saying they only appeared sleeping on the floor for the apparently staged photo.
Fernando Rikote, a Malaga-based delegate for SITCPLA, the Spanish union for airline employees, said the crews only flew back to Porto at 11.30am the following day “without proper rest, without sleeping at all.”
A Ryanair spokesman confirmed the sackings. “All six cabin crew members in Porto were dismissed on Monday 5 Nov for breach of contract on grounds of gross misconduct, after staging a fake photograph to support a false claim (widely reported in international media outlets) that they were ‘forced to sleep on the floor’ of the Malaga crew room, which was behaviour which damaged their employer’s reputation and caused an irreparable breach of trust with these six persons.”
Twenty-eight Ryanair employees say they spent the night in the crew room at the airport as the airline claimed that all hotels in the Malaga region were booked.
The move to fire the crew for taking part in the photo has been widely criticised on social media.