Couple ditch baby at Israel airport instead of buying extra plane ticket

Airline staff can be seen uncovering a blanket off a carrier to find the baby inside.
PHOTO: Twitter/Brandisaari

SINGAPORE - Late for their flight to Belgium on Tuesday (Jan 31), one couple realised they needed to buy an additional ticket for their baby only after they arrived at Israel’s Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv.

The pair elected not to fork out money for the extra ticket. They left their child at the check-in counter’s baggage conveyor belt and made a dash to clear security in an attempt to board their Ryanair flight to Brussels.

The pair, who hold Belgian passports, were informed by staff at the closed check-in counter that they had to buy an extra seat for their baby, local news outlet Kan reported on Tuesday.

In footage recorded on a smartphone circulating online, airline staff can be seen uncovering a blanket in a carrier to find the baby inside, reportedly saying in Hebrew the baby was left there.

Officials said it was unclear whether the couple were unable or unwilling to buy a ticket for their child.

They were reportedly urged by Ryanair staff to return for their child and were ultimately detained by airport security and Israeli police. They missed their flight, news agency Israel Today said on Tuesday.

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A Ryanair manager at the airport told Israeli news outlet Channel 12: “All our staff were in shock. We’ve never encountered anything like this. We couldn’t believe what we were seeing.”

According to Ryanair’s website, babies can travel with their parents for a €25 (S$36) charge – or the local currency equivalent – for “each one-way flight the baby takes while sitting on an adult’s lap”. Parents can also choose to buy a separate seat.

A police spokesman said the matter appeared to have been resolved by the time police arrived at the airport.

“The baby was with the parents and there’s no further investigation,” the spokesman told CNN.

This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.