Several Ryanair employees have been fired in response to a photo showing they were allegedly forced to sleep on the floor of an airport office space when the company failed to secure hotel accommodations after their flight was grounded due to a storm.
The photo and a tweet went viral on social media. It was captioned:
"This is a Ryanair 737 crew based in Portugal, stranded in Malaga, Spain a couple of nights ago due to storms. They are sleeping on the floor of the Ryanair crew room. RYR is earning €1.25 billion this year but will not put stranded crews in a hotel for the night."
Security footage posted by the airline shows the photo was staged, but it also shows the room holding the employees looked pretty uncomfortable. In the video, the crew sits in a circle on hard plastic chairs before lying on the floor and pretending to sleep while another member of the crew takes a photo.
Though the video exposes the photo as fake, it doesn't explain why a multi-billion dollar company left its employees without a place to rest. In a previous statement, Ryanair claimed there weren't any hotel rooms available near the Malaga Airport in Spain where the incident took place.
But Aviation Analyst claims that is simply not true. They write:
"There are at least 400 hotels in and around the main city of Malaga, City, with a further 1,500 properties within 20 kilometres of the airport. Furthermore, it's low-season in Southern Spain, and most hotel occupancy rates are at 50% (half-empty) as is normal for this time of year."
In a statement Ryanair told the Evening Standard:
"All six cabin crew members in Porto were dismissed on Monday November 5 for breach of contract on grounds of gross misconduct, after staging a fake photograph to support a false claim (widely reported in international media outlets) that they were 'forced to sleep on the floor' of the Malaga crew room."
People are not showing much sympathy for the airline.
Maybe firing was an extreme stance to take for exhausted employees.