Phil Searle Photographer / Pentathlon GB

Even top sports figures have to deal wtih baggage issues. 

Jordi Lippe-McGraw
March 29, 2016

Ever wonder how Olympic athletes travel with all of their gear? Well, for Irish fencer Arthur Lanigan-O’Keeffe, the answer is not very easily. He was recently removed from an Aer Lingus flight after an argument over his fencing equipment.

The 24-year-old modern pentathlon athlete was on his way to a match in Birmingham as prep for this summer’s Rio Olympics, but was quickly escorted off the plane despite checking his luggage. He took to Facebook to complain about the incident.

“Today I got publicly embarrassed by being kicked off a plane while traveling to a competition that I have carefully targeted as part of my preparation for the Olympic games,” he wrote. “I dedicate my life to ensure I make my country proud at the Olympics in Rio only to be let down be my National Airline (Aer lingus), I will miss the competition and waste valuable funding that I spent on Flights, & Hotel etc!”

He added, “I expected more from Aer lingus! The reason they gave was because I had fencing equipment (Really?). I am hugely disappointed.”

Aer Lingus Regional responded to the public complaint with a statement. “We regret the inconvenience caused to the passenger,” it said. “However, as set out in the baggage information and guidelines on aerlingus.com, sports weapons cannot be carried on Aer Lingus Regional flights and any such equipment needs to be declared in advance of travel. The passenger was offered alternative travel options and a full refund.”

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