Family forced to cancel holiday blame Ryanair for directing them to wrong queue

Pricewatch: Family say they were told to buy new tickets after making complaint

A family had a frustrating experience with Ryanair earlier this month.  Photograph: Eric Luke

A family had a frustrating experience with Ryanair earlier this month. Photograph: Eric Luke

 

Have we reached a point where a family navigating their way through an airport can be misdirected – or at the very least not given much by way of assistance – and ultimately have their holiday ruined without any comeback? A reader by the name of Barry certainly thinks so.

He, his wife and his seven-year-old daughter were due to travel to the Greek island of Crete via Stansted with Ryanair earlier this month. They flew from Dublin to London and stayed in an airport hotel the night before their flight to make sure they would not miss their 6.40am take-off.

They were understandably excited when the alarm clock went at 4am on the morning of their departure and they made it to the airport without difficulty.

Then things started to go wrong. “We got sent to the wrong queue (which was massive, with I think two Ryanair staff processing luggage) by a Ryanair employee,” Barry says.

Missed check-in

“There were no info screens around, Ryanair called out every closing flight except ours; us and two other families missed check-in. One family got very annoyed with the Ryanair guy who didn’t call out the flight. He said it was his fault and was sorry.”

Barry and his family were sent to Ryanair customer complaints desk. “We weren’t allowed to the top of queue to make our flight (with 45 mins to go) and by the time we were heard our flight had closed. Ryanair said we all had to buy new tickets. When we protested about their employees’ mistakes Ryanair simply stated we could fill out complaint forms about said employees but would have to pay for new tickets at a cost of €800.”

It got worse. The next available flight was the following Friday and the family were due to fly back on the Saturday.

“We ended up getting an Easyjet flight to Belfast and two buses back to Dublin airport where we were parked and drove home. We even contacted Ryanair to see if we could get the Government tax back, they said they didn’t know how much the tax was. We contacted them again later and they said the tax was less than €17 (which is their administrative charge per person to process a government tax refund) so it wasn’t worth pursuing.

“We couldn’t even afford to sit together on the Easyjet flight home and I spoke with the Easyjet stewardess and told her our tale of woe. She felt really sorry for us and asked a couple would they move so we could have the three seats at the top of the plane. She then offered us complimentary drinks, food and she even said that they flew to Greece and that she could give us her Easyjet staff discount to book through them. She was an angel. Ryanair really can do what they like and nobody seems to mind.”

Apologise

We contacted Ryanair. “While we apologise for the inconvenience caused, it is each customer’s responsibility to ensure they arrive at the desk to check-in their bags in good time (which close 40 minutes prior to departure as highlighted on all boarding passes),” a spokeswoman said.

Contrary to what Barry says happened, she insisted that “a PA was made for this flight and live flight information can also be found on the flight information display screens located beside the check-in areas. 168 customers boarded this flight to Chania on time and without issue. The administration fee for processing the tax refund for this flight exceeded the refund amount.”

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