Mansfield man's anger after airline's 'shocking customer service' over guide dog

Well-known Mansfield man Nathan Edge has criticised an airline after he received "shocking customer service" over his guide dog Abby.

Nathan lost his sight when he was 19 years old, after suffering from juvenile arthritis since he was six.

Nathan and Abby

Nathan and Abby

Now aged 24, he tried to book a flight with Ryanair to Málaga, Spain, but was shocked when they "refused" to allocate an extra seat or extra legroom for Abby.

Nathan has had Abby, a black labrador for the last seven months, after his previous guide dog Hudson retired.

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He said: "Shocking customer service from Ryanair who point-blank refuse to allocate an extra seat or extra legroom to ensure there is space on the floor for my guide dog.

"They instead expect her to sit at my feet for three hours despite there being barely enough room for people’s legs."

Nathan was hoping to take Abby on her first flight next month, which at the time of booking had more than "50 spare seats".

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And he is now urging the airline to revisit its policy when it comes to guide dog care on planes after he was told she would have to sit in the footwell, which Nathan said would not be enough room for her to lie down.

On Ryanair's website it says: "Guide/assistance dogs travel in the aircraft cabin and must sit on the floor at the passenger's feet."

He said: "I don’t just expect an apology, they should revisit their policy and make changes.

"If you say you accommodate guide dogs, then there is no reason why you can't make reasonable adjustments. It's not like the plane was full. I can't keep her cramped for three hours.

"If other airlines can make reasonable adjustments and allocate an extra seat to ensure comfort for assistance dogs, then so should Ryanair.

"They seem to care more about money than customer care."

Nathan said he will be making a formal complaint against the company and is now flying with EasyJet who have given him an extra seat free of charge.

But he will now have to travel to Manchester and take a later flight, giving him a shorter holiday.

He said: "If I had the freedom of choice like anyone else I could have chosen better times, it is frustrating.

"EasyJet who do accommodate guide dogs need to be praised for not making it a big problem."

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Ryanair has been contacted for comment.