A shocking picture has emerged showing Ryanair cabin crew sleeping on an airport floor after becoming stranded by bad weather.
The image shows six crew members, who are believed to be based in Portugal, lying down on the floor of a briefing room at Malaga Airport in Spain at the weekend without any pillows or blankets.
After the picture was posted online dozens of people took to social media to slam the Irish-based airline for not arranging hotel accommodation for them.
A picture that was posted online showing Ryanair cabin crew sleeping on the floor in Malaga Airport after becoming stranded by bad weather
The crew was bound for Porto, but their flight was diverted to Malaga after Hurricane Leslie battered the Portuguese city.
Ryanair’s chief of operations, Peter Bellew, later took to social media to confirm that the crew spent the night in the airport because all the hotels in Malaga were ‘completely booked out’.
The picture first appeared last night on a Facebook page called Ryanair MUST Change with the post: ‘This is Porto crew last night stranded on the floor of Málaga crew room. They were diverted due to the storm and the company left them there.’
It was later posted on Twitter and directed at Mr Bellew, who was asked why the airline didn’t put up the crew in a hotel for the night.
And in his response he said: ‘Unfortunately all hotels were completely booked out in Malaga. The storm created huge damage in Portugal.
Ryanair’s chief operations officer, Peter Bellew, took to Twitter to explain that the airline was unable to find accommodation in Malaga for the crew
‘Later after this the crew moved to VIP lounge. Apologies to the crew we could not find accommodation.’
Flight attendant Jay Robert, who blogs about his travels under the name Fly Guy, told MailOnline Travel that they deserved better.
He said: ‘Proper rest of crew should be the top priority for an airline as the crew are responsible for the safety of the aircraft and its passengers.
‘Ryanair crew are some of the hardest working cabin crew in the airline industry and deserve more than a cold floor to sleep on.’
Some took to social media to slam the airline, saying they couldn’t believe there were no hotels rooms available in Malaga.
People tweeted their outrage that the crew were left to sleep on the floor, including aviation expert Alex Macheras
Steve Lemmens wrote on Twitter: ‘500 hotels and over 85,000 rooms. And all of them were completely booked?’
Palimetakis added: ‘How about setting up some bunk beds for emergencies? Or give them a blanket. You have extra blankets in the planes, don’t you? Just something to show that you care…’
While aviation expert Alex Macheras tweeted: ‘Once again, it becomes quite clear why #Ryanair cabin crew are frequently striking, citing poor working conditions.
‘Ryanair says it couldn’t accommodate crew, as “all hotels were booked up”.
Ryanair crew from Portugal and staff from six other countries took part in a 24-hour strike last month
‘@peterbellew There are 400+ hotels in the city, & it’s mid-October (low season)…?’
Former Ryanair pilot James Atkinson echoed Mr Macheras’s surprise.
He told MailOnline Travel sarcastically: ‘Malaga is a major tourist destination and this is the off-season.’
But on Facebook there were people who questioned whether the picture was entirely genuine.
Fran Grundy wrote: ‘They may have been diverted but there is no way they would have to sleep on floor. Got a feeling this pic wasn’t intended to go viral …prob just for fun… heads are going to roll tho!!!’
While Andy Walshe added: ‘To be honest this looks staged. The way they are laying doesn’t look natural. I’m a fierce critic of Ryanair, but I don’t believe this tbh.’
Ryanair said in a statement: ‘This picture is clearly staged and no crew “slept on the floor”. Due to storms in Porto (13 October) a number of flights diverted to Malaga and as this was a Spanish national holiday, hotels were fully booked. The crew spent a short period of time in the crew room before being moved to a VIP lounge, and returned to Porto the next day (none of the crew operated flights).’
Portuguese Ryanair crew along with their counterparts from six other countries took part in a 24-hour strike last month in a long-running dispute over pay and conditions.
Last week Portugal’s SNPVAC union unveiled proposals that would see Ryanair staff be given employment contracts based on Portuguese law, rather than Irish law.