Ryanair forgot my parents!Back to Forum
Henryp1- sadly I’m not lucky enough to be your parent…. though although nearly 80 I regularly fly long haul (both in Y & J) without need of extra surveillance and with occasionally heavy bags (shipping for my wife!).
It all depends on the traveller, clearly some elderly need it and Carajillo’s family were a case in point and were certainly badly let down.
For me so far it has always been extra assistance needed for children travelling alone and generally my experiences have been at least acceptable. The only difficulties have resulted from Madam Teresa May’s immigration policies that have meant non-english speaking children needing rescue from a hard time given them on arrival.
I would only add that the politeness, helpfulness of Swiss immigration for non-french/german speaking children makes a huge contrast with aggressive unhelpful UK entry! I am ashamed to be British.25 Oct 2015
MartinJ – 25/10/2015 13:23 GMT
Nonsense = words that make no sense.
Anthony Dunn wrote “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.”
The reality is that the European Commission decided that airports should provide special assistance and enshrined this in EC1107/2006. There was no contract with Ryanair that made them responsible for the passengers being at the right gate.
You can read it for yourself, here
and when you have finished it, you will see that your second sentence is also nonsense. The airline did not change the gate, the airport did – who was providing the assistance? The airport. Who should have known the gate had changed and move the pax? Clue – it was not the airline.
Edited to add: the passenger has the absolute responsibility to be at the gate in time for boarding and if they are not, they risk being offloaded. it is not the responsibility of the airline or it’s check-in/gate staff to comb the airport looking for them. This may seem harsh, but it is the way it has always been.
Edited to add Ryanair’s regulation about this
“6.7 You should be at the boarding gate at least thirty (30) minutes prior to scheduled departure. Boarding closes twenty (20) minutes prior to departure. If you arrive later than this at the boarding gate you will not be accepted for travel. For travel on a later flight, you will be required to make and pay for a new reservation.”
The OPs parents seem to have been very unlucky and it certainly was not their fault they were offloaded – I was pleased to see that some element of humanity was shown in the payment of the taxi fare home – it must still have been a stressful day for them – completely unacceptable.
I do wish people would take the time to self brief on matters like this, rather than just spouting off.
All this pious spouting achieves is to re-focus the criticism (which is well deserved) from the people charged with providing the service to a pantomime villain.25 Oct 2015
FDOS_UK – 25/10/2015 16:31 GMT: The airline did not change the gate, the airport did.
The customer has a contract of carriage with the airline, not the airport. The airport is providing certain ground services on behalf of the airline, including the allocation of departure gates. As I see it, both facts combined mean that the airline is responsible if the airport fails to communicate gate changes to passengers. And yes, regardless of who exactly provides the special needs services, the airline has a particular duty of care towards passengers with special needs.
It seems we have different interpretations of the law but please don’t call my interpretation (or anyone else’s) nonsense just because you disagree.27 Oct 2015
Martin J +1
one of the difficulties here seems to be the usual culprit, i.e. lawyers, individuals who want to introduce unnecessary complication in order to charge big fees!27 Oct 2015
I think regardless of the formalities, in situations like this you are dependent on people showing some common sense.
Surely when it came to boarding the plane, Ryanair would see that passengers X and Y were missing. A quick look at the PNR (presumably done when checking to see if there were bags to offload anyway) would surely have highlighted to the airline that these were passengers requiring assistance.
If so surely a quick call to the Special Assistance people to say ‘the flight is about to close, where are the passengers?’. It may be that according to the letter of the law this was down to the airport, however sometimes a bit of teamwork is needed.
The second thing is having allowed the situation to occur, you then need to show a bit of common sense in resolving it. rather than offering a flight to Bristol 2 days later. It just compounds the general perception of Ryanair being a cheap and nasty, mean spirited type operation.
This happens on all airlines by the way – my own parents came back from Florence recently on Vueling (part of IAG). No bags loaded in Florence for any passengers and it subsequently took 8 days to get them back. The airline behaved with the same type of mentality, fob passengers off with the first thing that comes into your head, pass the buck, make an excuse and the first they knew of whereabouts was when the courier turned up on their doorstep unannounced.27 Oct 2015
MartinJ – 27/10/2015 15:04 GMT
You do not appear to understand the scope of the contract for carriage; it does not include the provision of special assistance and the airline is not sub-contracting to a third party.
Have a look at CAP1228 from the CAA and in particularly point #2, which makes it clear that the airport is required to provide the assistance through the airport. This point also states that the airport will usually sub-contract the effort, so the prime-subbie relationship is between the airport and their contractor, not the airline and the airport.
Ryanair (or BA or LH or whichever airline) manages the passenger’s request and books the service with the airport – there are minimum guaranteed booking times and (if you understand contract law you will get the next bit) beyond that cut-off time the airline will pass on the request and the airport will use reasonable endeavours to meet it. If Ryanair failed to pass on the request to the airport, then one might reasonably argue negligence, I believe. But this was clearly not the case in this instance.
Here’s a reference for you to read, from the UK Airports Consultative Committee – the source URL is at the end
EU Regulation (EC) No 1107/2006
Following its consultation in 2002/03 on Airlines’ Contracts with Passengers the European Commission drew up legislative proposals on the transport of people with reduced mobility (PRMS) – COM (2005)47. These were finally issued in mid February 2005.
There were two essential goals: first, preventing unfair treatment, that is refusal of carriage on the basis of reduced mobility and, second, guaranteeing the provision, free of charge, of the assistance that passengers with reduced mobility need to have for air travel.
When the proposed Regulation came before the European Council there was intensive discussion of the proposals and this led eventually to a revised text of the proposed Regulation which was agreed on 6th October 2005. The most difficult issue was the question of who should be responsible for providing the assistance to disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility at airports. It was finally agreed that the managing bodies of airports should have the overall responsibility for providing such assistance.
The proposed Regulation was subsequently approved by the European Parliament following a debate in Plenary session in mid December 2005 and following its approval by the Transport Council on 9th June 2006 it was published in the Community’s Official Journal on 26th July 2006
The new Regulation took effect on 26 July 2008, except Articles 3 and 4, which came into force on 26 July 2007 – Article 3 makes it illegal to refuse carriage on grounds of disability except on the grounds specified in Article 4.
You are welcome to whatever interpretation of the law you wish to hold – but you are wrong in this instance.27 Oct 2015
SimonS1 – 27/10/2015 15:34 GMT
In general terms, I agree with your philosophy, but let’s get real for a minute.
We are talking about a low cost airline, here. You recently posted that BA (a full service airline) probably could not afford to give you champagne every week, when you flew with them 50+ times per year – what do you think the ‘per minute’ delay cost of a 737 is? And can an airline afford that? (edited to add) for the revenue generated by two one way tickets?
None of us were there, so I am going to speculate (and thus may be wrong.)
I think Ryanair would have noticed the missing pax and would probably have asked the handling agent if they knew where they were – not from the milk of human kindness, but because it was probably faster to find them and board them, than to search, locate and offload their bags.
For whatever reason, by the time the pax visited the staff at the gate and they contacted the new gate, the bags were being offloaded and the airline would not accept the pax – presumably in line with their conditions of carriage.
In the airline industry and at Ryanair in particular, cost containment is more important than p*ssing off a couple of pax, when you are contractually covered.
Is this a good situation – absolutely not.
Why am I not shouting at Ryanair?
Because the company has a solid legal defence and will fall back on it and we need to focus on the root cause of the problem – which, despite the hard nosed (some would say commercial) behaviour, was not the airline.
Ultimately, what happened to the OPs parents was an utter disgrace and I suspect that the airport may well have bought them new tickets on Ryanair, as well as paying for the taxi (or someone at Ryanair changed their view, when they escalated to more senior management and they realised that the pax were victims, not perps.)27 Oct 2015
FDOS: Lovely!…if I’m ever doing something “unethical” I’ll know where to find a good lawyer….sadly the only reason there is blame for EC1107 – if appropriate though I’m not that fussed – it is because the assembly is (like the uk commons) packed with lawyers without common sense!
That a simple contract – provide assistance – causes such nonsense in passing the buck is totally the result of legal drafting of wobbly contracts that major corporations can use all the way to the bank of fudged responsibility27 Oct 2015
FDOS_UK – I am still somewhat bemused by the whole incident and need to discuss it in more depth the next time I’m in contact with my folks.
That said, given that the Airport Special Assistance dept had escorted them to the gate, were they not then left in the charge of the gate staff (some of whom may be Ryanair staff)? And if that’s the case, when the gate was changed, were those same staff not under some responsibility/obligation to ensure that all passengers were aware of the change and directed to the new gate? The passenger manifest would have contained the details of any passengers requiring special assistance and so the onus would be on the gate staff to get back in touch with the Airport Special Assistance dept to let them know.27 Oct 2015
Carajillo2Sugar – 27/10/2015 17:55 GMT
It is bemusing, isn’t it? And must also be upsetting for you.
As I understand it, there are different types of assistance that can be booked – you should be able to check which kind your parents received by checking the boarding passes (if they still have them), e.g.
WCHR Passenger requires assistance (departure & arrival) through the airport to the boarding gate, WCHC – Passenger requires assistance (departure & arrival) through the airport and lift on/off to/from the aircraft seat and WCHS) – Passenger requires assistance (departure & arrival) through the airport and up/down the aircraft steps.
If it was WCHR, then the assistance ended when they were left at the gate etc – if the gate changed after they were left…. you can see where I’m going with that (the passenger’s absolute obligation to be there at the right time.)
If they were left at the wrong gate (plausible) then the airport was at fault. Do you know when the gate changed?
If they were WCHC or WCHS, then the assistance should not have ended before they were at the bottom of the aircraft stairs or in their seat.
Do you know which category of assistance was booked? That may shed some further light on why it went wrong.
I am very uncomfortable with this situation, because of something I witnessed in the BA lounge at T5 about 18 months ago, namely a wheelchair bound lady who missed a flight because the assistance turned up late and got her to the gate after the cut off time – what I saw was BA re-booking her, but in defence to her expressed annoyance, making clear that they could not directly control the service provision, as they only coordinated it and did not manage it.
We have EC261 that holds airlines responsible for canx, delays etc, I can’t help but feel that EC1107 needs beefing up with penalties for non-provision of services, to protect the disabled consumer.27 Oct 2015
I am not sure on the legal issue….but how about this. Without upsetting FDOS surely the contract of carriage is between the airline and the pax, and the airport contract is between the airport and the airline. I imagine the flights were booked on the Ryanair website and not the airport website, so the contract of carriage is purely with the airline, even if for some services such as special assistance the airline is acting as agent for the airport. I to my knowledge have never had a contract with an airport.
In my mothers case the booking was made with BA, so BA was in my view responsible ultimately, and they rescued a potentially appalling situation very well.27 Oct 2015
MrMichael – 27/10/2015 19:35 GMT
You are not upsetting me, at all.
It’s hard to intuit, but the airline is not agent for the airport or contracting with them, they are just passing on the pax info and saying that ‘pax X will require XXXX assistance at this time.’ The airline contract with the pax does not scope in assistance.
The airport may raise a charge on the airline, but this seems to be a statutory right, not a contractual one.
From EC1107 “Persons with reduced mobility or disability are entitled to receive the assistance specified in the regulation free of charge in airports (on departure, arrival and during transit) and on board aircrafts (for example, the transport of wheelchairs and the carriage of guide dogs for the blind).
The managing bodies of airports should provide this assistance and may fund the services by levying a specific charge on airlines.”
AIUI there is no contract between airport and passenger, either, but they are required by law (as quoted above) to provide the assistance, so long as the airline provides the info in line with certain deadlines.
Maybe IanfromHKG will pass by and give us a lawyer’s perspective.27 Oct 2015