Cork woman carrying shipment of Penneys clothes to Poland for Ukrainian children hit with extra Ryanair charges
A Polish woman living in Cork has paid Ryanair’s overweight baggage fare for luggage of children’s clothing she is bringing to Poland for Ukrainian refugees.
Karina Traczyk lives in Cobh and plans to return home to Poland on Tuesday evening with bags of clothes to donate to a group of Polish volunteers helping refugees fleeing Ukraine amid the country’s crisis.
Karina and her partner Peter Kidney say they are angry after being asked to pay the £44.50 overweight baggage fee by Ryanair at Cork Airport because the baggage weighs 5 kilograms more than allowed.
Ryanair clarified the rules saying that although the airline offers exemptions in charitable circumstances, it said it had to be informed in advance and agents could not make exceptions.
Karina booked two 20kg bags, but after packing her bags ended up weighing 45kg.
The couple said they had already paid €89 to bring 40kg of children’s clothes to donate to Poland and said they had been given no leeway in trying to explain the situation to Ryanair staff and airline superiors. Cork Airport.
Karina said: ‘I contacted Ryanair begging to speak with an agent to let me take on this extra weight…but he insisted I had to buy another 20kg bag.’
Speaking to CorkBeo, Peter said: “My partner had to go home to Poland anyway,
“And with what is happening in Ukraine, she wanted to be able to do something,
“She contacted a local volunteer group in Poland who sent her a list of things they needed, children’s socks and things like that.”
Karina organized a collection in Cobh before her flight which raised the “enormous” sum of €1,300 in 24 hours.
She said their “load” of clothes was mostly underwear, socks and pajamas for refugee children.
“We ended up spending £1,200 at Penneys in Wilton,” said Peter, “and the staff were just brilliant and everyone who helped was great.”
“When we were told we were overweight we tried to contact Ryanair, it was only 5kg,” said Peter, “we told the agent what we were doing, we contacted people higher up, but we didn’t do anything and had to pay it anyway.
Karina said “as €45 buys milk and bread for two to three families for a week, I prefer to keep (the money) for the refugees”.
In a statement to CorkBeo, a Ryanair spokesperson said that “if pre-notified by a charity before their flight, our customer services team can arrange a waiver of our normal baggage terms and conditions and possibly waive the fee. additional baggage (including excess baggage charges),
“Our ground crews at the airport would not be able to waive these charges if advised only by the passenger at the airport, I’m afraid.”
Karina still plans to fly from Cork to Gdansk tonight after paying for an extra bag so all the clothes can be donated.
“It’s so important with what’s going on there,” added Peter.
Poland’s Interior Ministry said on Saturday that more than 115,000 refugees had entered Poland since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began on February 24.
Ukrainians wait up to 60 hours in freezing weather to cross at border points to Poland with queues of around 250,000 people waiting to enter the country.
Poland, refugees can stay in reception centers where they can receive food and medical care.
Unicef estimates that to date around 660,000 Ukrainians have fled the country, including more than 330,000 women and children.
The EU estimates that the number of refugees leaving Ukraine could rise to seven million and that 18 million Ukrainians will be affected by the war.