Reader’s husband broke his neck, but Ryanair ordeal really hurt
All our very patient reader asked for was a cancellation confirmation for their insurance
Our reader booked the elements of the trip separately so requested the cancellation confirmation from Aer Lingus for the outward journey and the accommodation provider, Sixt car hire and Ryanair (for the homeward journey). There was no problem with any provider but Ryanair. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire
“Following an accident on September 16th my husband sustained a serious spinal injury and we were unable to travel on our holiday the following week,” starts a mail from Gwen.
She contacted VHI MultiTrip “who were very understanding”. They told her to forward cancellation invoices from all of the service providers. She had booked the elements of the trip separately so requested the cancellation confirmation from Aer Lingus for the outward journey and the accommodation provider, Sixt car hire and Ryanair (for the homeward journey). There was no problem with any provider but Ryanair.
She tried phoning them but as they were dealing with the fallout from their “messed-up pilot roster” at the time, it was impossible to get through. She also found it difficult to find out where to go for a cancellation invoice on Ryanair’s website, but spotted a section that could be filled in to request a refund in the case of death or serious injury.
She filled in the form and a days later got a letter offering sympathy while denying the refund request. “I replied to this email expressing dissatisfaction, not at being refused a refund, but at having been led a merry dance by Ryanair. I requested a cancellation invoice in this reply. I heard nothing! I tweeted @Ryanair and asked how I could get a cancellation invoice. I was directed towards the live chat online.”
She sent us a full transcript of that live chat.
Muhammad: Hello Gwen. How may I help you?
Gwen: Hi, I need a cancellation invoice.
Muhammad: Are you asking about refund?
Gwen: No. I already asked. They said no. I need a cancellation invoice to see if I can get a refund elsewhere.
Muhammad: In this case please fill in this form https://refundclaims.ryanair.com/
Gwen: I already asked. They said no. I need a cancellation invoice. I filled this form in already. I received a reply. They said that they would not give me a refund. I need a cancellation invoice please.
Muhammad: I am really sorry, it means your case is not eligible for the refund.
Gwen: I do not want a refund. I want a cancellation invoice! Can you help? I am not asking for a refund.
Muhammad: Let me check for you. [Long pause] Was this flight cancelled by Ryanair?
Gwen: No. My husband was in a serious accident and broke his neck. We were unable to travel.
Muhammad: I am really sorry, we do not issue a cancellation invoice anymore.
Gwen: I just need a standard cancellation invoice, so that I can claim off my insurance. It’s a standard document. You are obliged to supply it.
Muhammad: Ok, let me check
Gwen: But you just said that you don’t do it and you went to check 10 minutes ago? Did you check already?
Muhammad: So, you are asking for the no show letter.
Gwen Costello: Yes
Muhammad: Do you need a no show letter for outbound?
Muhammad: Or return?
Gwen: Do you not have details of the booking? I just need the letter for Nice-Dublin flight one way.
Muhammad: Was it outgoing or return flight? Or one way?
Gwen: It’s a one way flight.
Gwen: So do I need to do anything else?
Muhammad: I have sent the email. If there is anything else I can help you with please come back to us.
Gwen : Thank you. I have not received the email yet. If I don’t receive it, is there any reference that you can give me so I don’t have to start again and spend over an hour explaining what I want?
Muhammad: It has been sent
Gwen: I have not received it. I’m sorry. I have spent a lot of time on this. I don’t want to finish this chat until I have this letter. Could you resend it just in case. I am receiving other emails but not this one.
Muhammad: Thank you. Let me check this for you. Have you received?
Gwen Costello: I just received a travel itinerary. It doesn’t say that it was a no show? This is no use. It is not a no show letter?
Muhammad: Do not worry. The system will automatically send you the email.
Gwen: I am worried.
Muhammad: Within two to three days.
Gwen was then put on to a manager – a full one hour and 20 minutes after the Live Chat started. His name was Tom.
Tom: Let me assure you that I am terribly sorry for the inconvenience. A no-show insurance letter is something which cannot be sent for you an insurance letter is something we manually have to send.
Gwen: That is fine. Why did I have to spend 1 hour 20 minutes online to be told this.
Tom: I have organised for you to arrive as soon as possible, but even in that case I cannot guarantee that it will be issued sooner than our 48 hr mark we have for such letters. I can assure you Gwen that I will educate Muhammad about the correct process so a similar mistake could not happen again.
Gwen: I have been led a merry dance by Ryanair. My husband was in an accident and has an injury that is incompatible with life. This is not a sufficiently serious injury for Ryanair to give a refund though. I am not concerned about the refund. I am happy that my husband is alive. I AM concerned that I have spent SO MUCH TIME to get this letter from Ryanair between this and the refund request which is a farce.
Tom: I can assure you that I will do anything in my power to assure the agent will be responsible for this mistake he caused for you.
Gwen: It’s not the agent’s fault that he is not sufficiently trained to deal with a fairly standard issue. And it is not the agent’s fault that Ryanair direct people to a refund claim form that they have no intention of refunding. My husband broke his neck. He should be dead. I genuinely don’t care about the refund but I am raging that I have had to spend time filling out that form and getting documentation to support my claim.
We have edited the chat for space reasons but that gives a pretty good flavour of it all.
And did Gwen get her letter?
No she did not.
“I hadn’t the heart or the energy to start all over again with the live chat,” she says so she tweeted @ryanair. That led nowhere so she tried the live chat again. She was promised she’d have the letter within 24 hours.
“It’s six days since that second live chat but I have heard nothing.”
We contacted the airline and within a day got the following response:
“We apologise that our usual high standards were not met and for the delay in processing this letter, which has since been furnished and the matter has been resolved directly with the customer.”
Gwen has also been in touch to say she has got the letter. Finally.