AN autistic boy was left “petrified” after Ryanair staff forced him to take a Covid test to board a flight despite his family showing them his exemption letter.
Callum Hollingsworth, 12, was flying with his family to the UK from Valencia in Spain when the incident occurred.
“They said if you don’t have a Covid test you can’t go home, so we had no choice,” Callum’s mum Katy told the BBC.
Callum had previously taken a Covid test in January which Katy called a “nightmare” and so he was given a medical exemption letter from his doctor.
The lad did take a test before flying out to Spain however Katy said the family had spent two months preparing him for it.
Callum’s family, who live in Harlow, Essex, wanted to bring him on a break to his “happy place” in Spain as he had struggled throughout lockdown.
But upon arriving at the airport the family was told that Callum would have to take another Covid test in order to return to England despite Katy showing the exemption letter.
Government guidance states that people with medical conditions who are unable to take a test do not need one to travel to the UK if they present a note from a medical practitioner.
Katy told the BBC that Callum “lost it” and had a meltdown” as he thought it was his fault.
“He started hitting the chair and then started hitting himself,” she said.
“The staff were just ignoring us. All they kept saying was ‘it’s not our problem’.”
He tried to be brave but he was petrified
Callum’s mum Katy
Katy then said her husband had to physically restrain her son with two members of staff in order to do a test.
“Callum tried to be brave but he was petrified,” she said.
“The fact that he didn’t need this one made it even worse because we’d told him the previous one was going to be his one and only test.”
A spokesperson from Ryanair told The Sun Online: “Ryanair regrets to hear of the stress caused to Ms Hollingsworth and her family.
“Ryanair fully complies with EU & Govt travel restrictions, which are constantly changing in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We continue to make improvements and implement procedures to ensure the health and safety of our passengers and our crew is prioritised while complying with each country’s government guidelines at all times.
“Ryanair apologises for any inconvenience caused to Ms Hollingsworth and her family.”