Autistic child “self harms” after Ryanair refuse to let his special toys on board


AN autistic child self-harmed after Ryanair refused to let him fly with his iPad, phone and sensory toys, a furious family have claimed.

Without his normal distractions, Leyton Martin becamse so distressed by the noise of the jet he gouged skin from his arms.

The eight-year-old’s family say they paid an extra 67 Euros (£57) to take handbaggage, including Leyton’s, on the flight from Arecife, Lanzarote, to Manchester.

And they claim the airline threatened to call the police when they insisted Leyton could not fly without his toys and medicine used to help him relax.

Eight-year-old Leyton gouged his hand whilst on board the plane

The Martin family flew home on Thursday after enjoying what could be their last holiday for some time as mum, Claire, 36, is being treated for cancer.

Ryanair have confirmed the family paid extra for baggage but say it was for the hold not the cabin, The Martins insist they were paying for extra bags to be carried on board.

Claire said today: “I had paid 66 euro for extra luggage but the lady at the check out pointed to my son’s bag and said you are not taking that on board as it’s not priority luggage.

“When I tried explaining that to the lady that I needed Leyton’s bag she said ‘no’ and became really aggressive.

The family had paid extra to take hand luggage onboard, but claim they were denied this

“I proceeded to explain that my son, who was wearing his disability necklace, that it had his iPad, phone and sensory toys in the bag and we needed them for the five hour journey to keep him entertained.”

Claire added: “She said if we didn’t go now she was throwing us off the plane and phoning the police. My son was having a meltdown begging to go home.

“We weren’t even allowed to take out any of the items for the flight.

“He then started to pick holes in his arm on the plane as this is what he does without his sensory toys. We didn’t have his ipad to watch with his ear phones something as noise really effects him.

“Even worse when we got back to Manchester the bag was not there they have now lost the bag and all my son’s belongings, my holiday photos and son’s birthday things that were in his bag.”

Claire released video of the distressed family making their way to the aircraft. Leyton can be heard crying as Claire complains that she went on holiday because of her cancer treatment and says it could be her “last holiday”.

Claire, who was travelling with husband, Tom, 38, and their daughter, Nevaeh, two, have made a formal complaint to Ryanair but have not yet received a response.

Leyton with Dad Tom, Mum Claire, and sister Nevaeh

A spokesman for Ryanair admitted: “These customers were charged €66 for 6 kg of excess baggage. It is charged on baggage that is checked in the hold at the check-in desk and is not brought on to the plane.”

But Claire today rejected the airline’s account, saying: “I paid the money at the front desk for the hand luggage as we told them our son had autism.

“The lady at the front desk whom I paid let the bag through because it was priority, if it wasn’t it would have been taken at the first desk and put into the hold and not removed and lost at the second desk.”

Ryanair said the Martins did not pre-book special assistance or advise of special requirements. The spokesman added that as the Martins did not have priority boarding and were told their bags would be placed in the hold.

He claimed: “These customers did not inform gate agents that their son was autistic at any point in the boarding process”.

Ryanair were criticised yesterday for their handling of a 15-year-old autistic boy who became distressed after the airline tried to charge a baggage fee for his tiny comfort doll.

Leo Wakefield, from Doncaster, South Yorkshire, was travelling home with his carer from Alicante, Spain.

According to his mother, Helen, Leo had a “meltdown” on Saturday evening after staff demanded they pay £25 as the item qualified as hand luggage.

Leo ended up flying home with Jet2. Pictures showed a stewardess who played with Leo throughout the flight.

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