Ryanair has been slated after telling a family to cough up € 90 to board a return flight from Spain – which they’d already paid for. Mum Sue Graham criticized the budget airline and claims her seats were allocated to someone else without warning.
However Ryanair has been quick to shift the blame, claiming the blunder was “a prime example of the issues faced when customers book flights through OTAs (online travel agents) and not directly with the airline.” OTA On The Beach has called this response “outrageous”.
Sue and her family had enjoyed a break in Benidorm with her husband Eric, from whom she is separated, and step-daughter Sophie, 22. But the family’s perfect holiday was about to take a nasty turn as they were about to embark on their return flight to Liverpool John Lennon Airport.
Sue, 68, told the Liverpool Echo : “On getting to Alicante airport for our flight home we were told by the Ryanair attendant our seats had been canceled and it would cost us another 30 euros each to get on the flight we had already paid for.
“When I told the attendant we had no money I was told, ‘It’s not my problem,’ either pay a further 30 euros each or sort yourself out. I suffer with depression and anxiety so can you imagine my state of mind thinking we were going to be abandoned at the airport. “
Sue said they only managed to secure their seats after Eric used money earmarked to pay his Sky bill to cough up the cash demanded by Ryanair. But the airline claimed the problem was because Sue had booked with On the Beach travel company rather than directly with the airline.
She continued to blame Ryanair, explaining: “I’m disgusted. I have been informed of this happening to other travelers due to the airline over selling seats. If someone gets there before you, they will sell them your seats.”
Sue, from Dingle, also claimed her husband was charged another 46 euros after his hand luggage – which he had taken with him on the flight out without a problem – was turned back at the boarding gate and he had to pay for it to go in hold, or else leave it behind.
A Ryanair spokesperson claimed: “Ryanair did not cancel the seats in Ms. Graham’s booking. Ms. Graham was charged a standard airport check-in fee of € 90 (€ 30 per passenger) as she failed to check-in online two hours prior to the scheduled departure time.
“Ryanair urges customers to always book directly, as OTAs may provide Ryanair with incorrect email addresses, contact & payment details, which block Ryanair from communicating directly with the customer to share essential flight information and updates, including check-in prompts, potential departure time changes, delays, cancellations, and refund updates.
“To protect our customers, Ryanair has developed the Verified Seal and Price Checker to guarantee customers that they are booking directly with Ryanair. However, to avoid unnecessary complications, Ryanair advises customers to always book directly on the official Ryanair website / app.”
A spokesperson for On The Beach said: “We were very concerned to hear about the Graham family being charged € 90 to check in and a further € 46 for baggage by Ryanair. It is outrageous of Ryanair to make these false allegations and to seek to put the blame on us for their excessive fees, and for the way they have treated the Graham family.
“We make it easy for customers to book their package holiday online, protected by ATOL and the Package Travel Regulations – something that cannot be offered when booking flights alone and something that Ryanair doesn’t offer when selling flights.
“We communicate directly with our customers about all of the elements their package holiday and always make sure that our customers receive information and updates about their flight, including online check-in requirements. Our customers can also see all their holiday information in their personalized log -in section of our website. “