Airline says photo of crew members sleeping on floor after flight cancellation is 'fake news'

Ryanair has found itself deep in controversy after a photo showing six cabin crew members left without a place to sleep following their shift on Saturday went viral. The image posted to Ryanair MUST Change features uniformed employees lying on the floor of a crew room in Malaga, Spain, after their flight to Portugal was canceled because of a storm. The post claims that “the company left them there.”

According to a statement from the Portuguese cabin crew union SNPVAC, the employees pictured were just a few of the 24 who were left in the room for four and a half hours, without access to food or drinks and only eight available seats.

They had no other choice, as the photo illustrates, than to attempt to rest on the room’s floor,” the statement reads, before pointing out that the airport lounge they were then moved to for four more hours didn’t offer better accommodations. “We point out that, in these situations, it is the legal responsibility of the Airline to provide suitable accommodation, namely a hotel room, so that crew can perform their rest under the national and European legal requirements, in order to be able to operate the following duty safely.”

Six Ryanair crew members sleep on the floor of a crew room after their flight was canceled. (Photo: Facebook)

Former Ryanair pilot Jim Atkinson reposted the original photo to his Twitter with a description of the unfortunate situation. “RYR is earning €1.25 billion this year but will not put stranded crews in a hotel for the night,” he wrote. Then the airline’s chief operations officer, Peter Bellew, responded.

Despite Bellew’s apology, the airline officially responded on Wednesday by posting a video on its Twitter account showing what it said had really taken place behind the closed doors of the crew lounge.

“Ryanair exposes fake photo of cabin crew sleeping in crew room,” the airline wrote alongside a video of crew members seemingly staging the viral shot. However, followers still suggest that the video doesn’t discredit what the crew union claimed, since the dimly lit room remains unequipped for four flight crews.

A spokesperson from Ryanair provided Yahoo Lifestyle with a statement: “The publication of this video reveals the facts and exposes the SNPVAC union fake news/false claims. This video proves that the original picture was staged and no crew ‘slept on the floor.’ All Ryanair offices and crew rooms are equipped for security reasons with CCTV cameras and notifications of same as required by GDPR.”

The SNPVAC union did not immediately respond to Yahoo Lifestyle’s request for comment. However, the organization did provide an updated statement on its Facebook page.

Ryanair did us all a favour by providing evidence that in fact there were no minimum conditions for their employees to spend the night with dignity,” the statement reads. “Thank you Ryanair for showing the world your true self.”

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