Couple stranded for four extra days abroad due to Ryanair’s latest move

‘Wouldn’t it be reasonable that a Ryanair customer service agent would have phoned me’

The Speyer cathedral, a UNESCO world heritage site. Photograph: Devgnor

Kevin Heffernan and his wife Kathleen arrived in the German city of Speyer on the banks of the Rhine on Tuesday, ready to spend a relaxing few days with family before flying back to Dublin on Sunday night.

However, an email from Ryanair on Friday evening informing the couple their flight had been cancelled means they will be stuck in Germany until next Thursday.

Shortly before 6pm on Friday, Mr Heffernan received an email which said his flight had been cancelled and recommended that he either rebook online, free of charge, or apply for a refund.

"We were concerned that we needed to rebook really quickly because we felt everyone in our flight would be trying to book," he told The Irish Times. "Then we found out the earliest flight we could book was next Thursday at 5.20pm.


"We'd printed out our boarding passes and had everything ready. There was no explanation. I have a lot of obligations and really need to be back in Ireland on Sunday evening. My car is also in quick park in Dublin and it's due out before 9am on Monday morning."

The couple, who are in their 60s, and their family tried calling the customer support numbers on the Ryanair website, but were unable to speak to a human being.

“The huge difficulty was that customer service was unavailable,” he said. “Four of us have been trying to get through to the live chat and are continuously told no customer services are available.

“We have tried three different phone numbers on the website and we’re getting a message from a German operator that those numbers are not in service.”

The couple eventually decided to rebook the flights for Thursday, September 21st, but were charged an additional €5 each to select seats on the plane.

Frustrated by the inability to speak with a customer service representative, Mr Heffernan says he cannot understand why Ryanair did not contact him on his phone.

“Ryanair have my mobile phone number. Now, for such a huge issue, wouldn’t it be reasonable that a Ryanair customer service agent would have phoned me considering they have my mobile number? That’s the only reason they have my number, for issues like is. The inconvenience of this for myself and my wife is astronomical.

“I’m on blood pressure medication and other medication. I took one day extra, I would have never believed that it could take so long to get home. It’s prescription medication. I’ll need to see a doctor here on Monday morning if they don’t get us home Sunday.

“My wife is in the same position, she is also on medication. She’s exactly the same boat, both of us will need to see a doctor to keep us going.”

Sorcha Pollak

Sorcha Pollak

Sorcha Pollak is an Irish Times reporter and cohost of the In the News podcast