IRISH Olympian Arthur Lanigan-O’Keeffe has blasted Aer Lingus after he was removed from a flight following a disagreement over his fencing equipment.
The 24-year-old athlete – who competes in the modern pentathlon – was heading to a competition in Birmingham in preparation for this summer’s Rio Olympics.
In a Facebook post he wrote that having boarded the flight he was escorted off shortly after, despite checking his fencing equipment in as normal.
European Champion Lanigan-O’Keeffe wrote:
Today I got publicly embarrassed by being kicked off a plane while traveling to a competition that I have carefully targeted as part of my preparation for the Olympic games.
I dedicate my life to ensure i make my country proud at the Olympics in Rio only to be let down be my National Airline (Aer lingus), I will miss the competition and waste valuable funding that I spent on Flights, & Hotel etc!
I expected more from Aer lingus! The reason they gave was because I had fencing equipment (Really?).
I am hugely disappointed
A statement from Aer Lingus Regional, operated by Stobart Air read: “We regret the inconvenience caused to the passenger. However, as set out in the baggage information and guidelines on aerlingus.com, sports weapons cannot be carried on Aer Lingus Regional flights and any such equipment needs to be declared in advance of travel. The passenger was offered alternative travel options and a full refund.”