Ryanair forgot my parents!Back to Forum
Anonymous23 Oct 2015
A few weeks back, I’d booked my parents with Ryanair for a Malaga-Liverpool flight. They’re both in their eighties and my Dad, as well as having a pace-maker fitted, is registered blind. Because of this, I’d arranged special assistance at both ends, through Ryanair.
Come the morning of their flight, I helped them check-in and we went over to the Special Assistance desk, where the lady on duty took over and assured me they’d be well taken care of. Lovely, I thought, and off I went to collect my car and tootle around for the day until my flight in the evening. After that, it would appear things went somewhat awry! They were escorted to the gate for the flight and left to await boarding. A while later, Mum asked at the desk and was advised that someone would come over to them when the flight was ready. A while later still, she enquired again, only to be told that the flight had been switched to another gate, they were now too late to board and their baggage had been offloaded. So, Ryanair had changed the gate, forgotten to advise two of their passengers, both of whom had pre-booked (and paid for!) seat numbers in the second row of the aircraft and one of whom was on their manifest as requiring assistance. This, as you can imagine, was a rather distressing situation for my parents. Initially (and bearing in mind this was all happening on a Sunday), Ryanair said the best they could do was a flight to Bristol on Tuesday. That’s ‘only’ two days later and around 200-miles from where they needed to be, so no bliddy use at all!
As I understand it (and to their credit), the Malaga Airport Special Assistance people then stepped in and were very helpful in being able to get them on an alternative Ryanair flight to Manchester, about 3½ hours after they should have departed on the flight to Liverpool. Now, as all of this hassle would appear to have been caused by Ryanair’s incompetence, you might have expected them to have provided assistance on arrival at Manchester and onward transport to their home, right? Well, actually, no, they did not. Silly me! Why on earth would I expect Ryanair not to compound an already difficult situation? On arrival at Manchester, they were left to their own devices, making their way to the baggage reclaim and clearing passport control before having to pay £80 for a taxi home. Due to their age and health, this was not a good way to finish what may well have been their last ever trip abroad.
I contacted the Special Assistance office at Malaga Airport and (again to their credit) they agreed to reimburse the cost of the taxi home which, given the circumstances, was an extremely nice gesture.
Based on the outcome of this week’s easyjet court-case, what’s the consensus on whether or not my folks have a valid claim against Ryanair for, amongst other things, denied boarding compensation?23 Oct 2015
My mother, was a dementia sufferer. About four years ago she was delivered to the BA check in desks at Grand Cayman and then collected by assistance staff. At that point my mother said her goodbyes to my sister and was taken airside by assistance to board the direct flight to LGW. My sister watched the flight depart about Two hours later and went home. She had stayed at the airport in case of problems. I got a call (in London) about two hours later from BA to say my mother was not on the flight and what they should do. BA were very apologetic and sorted it to my satisfaction. It included a complete refund of my mothers return tickets, £150 to cover my sister returning to the airport and taking her back to her house for the night, and they upgraded her to club on the following days flight ( not that she knew!). It all boiled down to confusion at the airport as they had two pax for assistance with similar names on the same flight. Not BA,s fault, although given the size of the airport my mother must have stuck out like a sore thumb in her wheelchair. However the airport and BA went out of their way to put it right.
Good luck with Ryanair.23 Oct 2015
Carajillo2Sugar – 23/10/2015 13:36 BST
What an appalling tale – totally unacceptable.
I’m unsure of what responsibility the airline would have, here, as the service is provided by a 3rd party – it seems at least they got them back the same day (and I hope it was at no extra cost – I wonder if the airport paid the for the changed flights?)
If the airport changed the gate, the special assistance people should have known and moved your parents.
It does seem an incredible amount of hassle to subject senior citizens to.23 Oct 2015
MrMichael – that is how a problem should be handled!
FDOS – Initially, I gather, there was talk of additional charges but, in the end, I don’t think that happened. I’m now wondering if the flight was overbooked? A quick head-count tells them they are 2 people short and it would have been apparent that the empty seats were glaringly obvious (they were in row 02!!). The manifest would tell them that the ‘missing pax’ were Special Assistance and a quick phone call could have resolved the issue before it became a real problem.
Ryanair had time to locate and offload the bags but not enough time to make a few enquiries about where the passengers may be? The gate had been changed – it can’t have been a million miles away from the original gate so why didn’t they think of checking there first?
I have to say, from what I’ve been told, the fault is not with the Special Assistance people but I was very pleasantly surprised that they took it upon themselves to reimburse the cost of the taxi home.
Methinks another conversation with the folks is needed to check the details.23 Oct 2015
carajillo2sugar, your right, BA and the airport sorted it to everybody’s satisfaction, I doubt she knew what had happened really, and it was the last time she ever flew. God bless her.
I think your problem with Ryanair is going to be to get someone to talk to you. I think in your case your better off going through the airport route, because they are likely to actually engage with you, and ultimately it is probably they who were at fault given they had responsibility to get your mom & pop on the plane.23 Oct 2015
@Carajillo2Sugar – 23/10/2015 17:40 BST
Astonishing incompetence shown by Ryanair. As has previously been pointed out when discussing such matters, your ticket (aka your contract) is with the airline and not with the airport. Check the EU261 rules and if FR try anything on, get in touch either with your local trading standards, Which? magazine (if you are a subscriber) and/or BBC Radio 4’s “You and Yours” consumer programme.
Other than it being well established, despite all the blarney, that Flyanscare really don’t give a toss, they tend to respond when their name is being dragged through the meedjah mire.23 Oct 2015
Most upset to learn that your aged parents were effectively abandoned by O’Leary’s mob – in my opinion, it was at first, an oversight but resulted in appaling behaviour from the airline.
I shudder to think how my equally aged mother might have fared (or not) in such dreadful circumstances.
Ryanair’s reps should hang their heads in shame.23 Oct 2015
AnthonyDunn – 23/10/2015 23:10 BST
Nice rant, but factually incorrect.
An EC261 claim for denied boarding would fail IMO.
Remember the passenger has an absolute obligation to be at the gate in time for boarding.
Unlike the easyJet case recently, where the pax repeatedly asked the airline for assistance and were denied, in this instance they did not approach the airline and it seems the dropped ball was in the airport.
The only slight consolation in this case is that the pax flew the same day and the airport paid for their taxi home – it was still totally unacceptable, but it does not seem to me that the airline was to blame.24 Oct 2015
@FDOS_UK – 24/10/2015 07:45 BST
At the point of booking with the airline, a special assistance service was contracted to ensure that the pax got to the correct gate for boarding. Who was the contract with? Who is responsible (and who was paid to provide) for the special assistance?
It may be that FR sub-contracted (as is their way) the special assistance service to the airport but it was, never-the-less, FR’s responsibility to ensure that the elderly passengers were at the right gate. Their contract, their failure, their responsibility.24 Oct 2015
AnthonyDunn – 24/10/2015 09:16 BST
Under (EC) 1107/2006 airports provide the assistance for disabled pax, the airline passes on the request.
Therefore, your second sentence is nonsense.24 Oct 2015
Have you considered contacting Ryanair directly? Their Chief Marketing Officer, Kenny Jacobs seems to be driving a more customer service focused agenda than heretofore.
If you decide to try this and is meets with no success, it would surely strengthen your hand if you have to take action later24 Oct 2015
FDOS_UK – 24/10/2015 18:10 GMT
“Therefore, your second sentence is nonsense.”
In a forum where people are invited to share their views and interpretations, calling an individual contribution nonsense is …. well, nonsense.
As for the actual question, just because it is the airport who provides the special needs service this doesn’t mean the airline has nothing to do with it. One could argue the airline (or the ground service subcontractors who work as the airline’s agents) has a duty to make sure no passenger with special needs is left behind, especially when a gate change is involved.
Edit: typos rectified.25 Oct 2015
While I agree that when services have been requested and accepted by the provider they should be provided. But equally I would not expect my parents in their 80s with health and disability challenges to fly alone. I would consider it my responsibility to travel with them regardless of how short or long the journey was, special assistance to and from the aircraft would do little for help within personal needs or emergencies which unfortunately occur at their age.25 Oct 2015