The individual owning this blog works for Oracle in Germany. The opinions expressed here are his own, are not necessarily reviewed in advance by anyone but the individual author, and neither Oracle nor any other party necessarily agrees with them.
Thursday, May 5. 2011
Ryanair? I will never ever put a foot in one of their aircrafts. Even when I have to book an private jet instead … I will never ever put a feet into one of their aircrafts. Period.
The flight back to Bremen was my 250th flight since loosing my fear of flying five - maybe six - years ago. I experienced a lot of things on my journeys … an aircraft from FRA to TXL that turned back to FRA just short of TXL because of inoperational slats. Unfriendly stewardesses. A go-around once. Approaches giving a roller coaster a run for their money. But yesterday was something completely new to me.
I have to explain something different first: For all the work and the hassles with helping me with the construction of my new home, I invited my mother, two of my sisters and my brother and his girlfriend to London for a one-day trip (my father can't use an aircraft out of health reasons). I found a reasonable cheap ticket at Ryanair and with the flight pricing at other carriers such day would much more expensive.
There is something important to know to undestand the whole situation: My brothers girlfriend is from Chile, she is living in Hamburg for a long time now. So she is not an EU citizen We knew that you have to go to the check-in to get a stamp on the self-printed ticket when you are not a resident of the European Union. However when going through the boarding in Bremen this was an integral process of boarding along with the weighing of the hand luggage. They checked the documents, put the stamp on it and we were able to enter the plane without problems.
We had a nice day in London and at the end we went back to Stansted. It was a really great day. We were a little bit low on time however more than sufficient to do some last minute souvenir shopping, going through security, getting to the gate, albeit we were at the rear end of the row, boarding hasn't started at that time.
So my sisters and my mother went through the gate no much later, I went to through the gate and walked down in order to help my family (they don't fly that often), however when walking on apron I realized that my brother and his girlfriend didn't went with us. However I entered the aircraft to look after the rest of my family. But after an additional minute my brother and his girlfriend were still not on board. So what had happened? I had already an idea because as a experience troubleshooter, you immediately go through the possible failure modes of an situation. The stamp. Dang. But at that moment I thought "Well, they will check that and put the stamp on it when all people have boarded in order to speed up boarding". However when they closed the doors, I quickly called my brother (call ended before push-back) and I was right with my foreboding.
The girlfriend of my brother wasn't allowed to enter the aircraft because this stamp was missing. Just to explain it again: It's not an official stamp, it's a stamp the Ryanair visa counter put onto the ticket just to show, that you have showed them your passport that you have the valid visa. She had all the needed documents. Nothing was missing, nothing was unclear. (The proof : She flew with Easyjet to Hamburg today - with no hassles .. with no problems).The stamp was missing, they denied boarding, they closed the gate, and I flew with my mother and my sisters to Bremen. Of course my brother stayed in London as he couldn't leave his girlfriend behind.
Yes, we made the error not to go to the Visa counter as we thought in stress that the persons in front of the security have the same role as in Bremen. And so I have no hope to write a complaint that will yield more than a generic mail.
However the behaviour of "Don't give a shit, if you have to enter the flight as you need to get home and your group is already on the plane" attitude, the denied boarding because of a missing stamp Ryanair put themself on the printed ticked as part of their processes, the merciless closing of the gate, the inability of checking the visa at the gate (in my experience the people at the check-in and at the gate are often recruited from the same group of people, so it's not uncommon to see the person from the check-in at the gate again). This is an unacceptable behaviour to me. It's just unfriendly and it just show that passengers at Ryanair are just sentient lifestock that they have to fly from A to B.
I think at any other airline we could have used, they would have checked it at the gate, perhaps after calling the supervisor, and allowed her to board. But not at Ryanair.
Yes I know it's my fault. I booked at Ryanair. I would never do that for when just flying alone: I'm prefering Lufthansa and Germanwings, but Easyjet or Air Berlin are good as well e.g. . However I was able to purchase six return tickets at 144 Euro and that looked as a good deal then (half of it was credit card costs as I don't own the only obscure card allowing you to pay without extra costs). I knew that I have to expect nothing that just gives you hint that you are considered as valued customer. You know that when you book Ryanair.
How did this story found it's happy end: We were limited to help from remote: My father and I were able to help. They drove at night by bus to London Victoria and at the end they were able to sleep in a bed instead of a airport chair (70 GBP), I was able to book an Easyjet flight at 1:30 AM for (160 Euros for 2 tickets). 1:30 because I drove my sis from Oldenburg home and then back to Lueneburg. To add insult to injury: As my brother had my car keys, I had to rent a car (61 Euros) in Bremen … however I was glad that there was still a rental car at 21:45 at this rather small airport.
This morning my brother and his girl friend used the train from St. Pancras to go Luton (don't know what this will add to the bill). Had to find out a lot of things this morning how to get them to the airport in Luton without the need to print something out. E.g. the EasyJet bus service to Luton don't have a "buy ticket at curbside" option according to the website) … dang. My brother and his girlfriend were rather jazzed by situation and fscking tired, so I helped them by phone to get though London.
BTW: A big thankyou to my manager Kristan that he gave me an additional day of vacation without asking questions … so I had time to work things out
Just rebooking the flight wasn't an option. Rebooking 100 Euros … per person. As they would have to go to the checkin to get the boarding passes (as they hadn't an portable printer): 40 Euros … per person. Nice extra 280 Euros for Ryanair due to denied boarding. You could even speculate, if this is the reason for such a draconian enforcement of rules. Don't know what they want to achieve with such an behaviour. However I can tell you, what they achieved: Ryanair will not get a single Euro from me …
My brother arrived in Hamburg he is driving to Bremen in order to fetch my car from the car parking. Hell knows what this will add to the bill as you don't know if you just rented the parking lot for 24 hours or if you actually purchased it for life …
All this because of a missing stamp. And perhaps you know understand why I would rather use a bathtub and a paddle to get from UK to Europe than to board a Ryanair aircraft. Ryanair lost 9 customers yesterday and I suspect some additional people in the family of my brothers girlfriend. And when just one reader is as disgusted from this behavior like me the time invested in this blog entry is a better investment than the time I would need to write complaint that would be finally futile at the end.
PS: As fate isn't without a sense of irony, the aircraft hat to go around at Hamburg and they flew circles for an additional 15 minutes because of problems with the runway in HAM. When it rains it pours.
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I've never used Ryanair. I never will. I'd like to say this is a result of your blog, but I had already decided - many stories like yours.
This is the final bit for my decision to never use ryanair. Ever. Even though it's the main airline at the airport the closest to me (Memmingen). I've heard too much now, thanks for your article.
Friend of mine has same problems with Lufthansa -- he has special (rare) type of visa, and Lufthansa personnel refuses to let him aboard, because they think, that it is fake or not visa at all.
It proves nothing.
Now, when carriers start to check visas (because they don't like to return visa-less pax back ``for free'', what they are made to do by law, personnel of many carriers make mistakes and ``don't give a shit'' here.
I don't want say, that Ryanair is great carrier. It is well-known cheap-flight, with all it drawbacks, but visa problems are not only cheap-flight problems.
People in EU forgot about visas long time ago, and other people has problems (in EU too) with them (and with EU officials, who DON'T KNOW WELL how to Visas works!!!).
For example, I had problems in my flight to Vienna via Berlin (from Russia): I had one-time Austrian visa, and it was stamped by German border officer in Berlin, because Berlin-Vienna flight is ``in EU,'' so I crossed EU border in Berlin. On flight back the same -- stamp about leaving EU (which closes one-time visa) was stamped in Berlin. Austrian consulate refuses to issue next visa, because ``you use our one-time visa to travel to Germany, not Austria''. I've tried to explain this to German officers, but they don't UNDERSTAND what I say about. They answered: ``You are wrong, we have EU and Schengen Agreement, your visa is perfectly valid for Germany, what are you complaining about?!'' They were well-trained high-payed (I hope) German border officers, not girls, working for cheap-flight company.
Visas are PURE EVIL, and Ryanair is not only company and organization who make troubles to clients in this area.
Just a quick "me too" to never flying Ryanair ever EVER again. Done it once, absolutely horrific worse-than-cattle-class nightmare, rude, incompetent CANTTHINKOFWORDSTODESCRIBETHEHORROR company. Avoid.like.the.plague.
And one more: what do you expect to get, when it is 10 time cheaper (and it is literally -- Ryanair tickets could be 20 Euro with all taxes when Lufthansa, BA, KLM will be 200 for economical class)? It IS cattle-class, 3rd world of carriers! When you pay 5 euro/night for hotel room in Thailand, Cambodia or India -- what do you expect? Five-star hotel with SPA? Such rooms are not for everyone, but for back-packers, students, etc. Ryanair is the same shit.
I'm expect that they don't deny boarding because of a missing stamp... It's not that we had to much hand luggage, that our hand luggage was to heavy. It was a missing stamp. The validity of papers could have been checked with a single look on the passport. Citizens of Chile are allowed to travel to germany without a Visa for 90 days.
And sorry: Even when i have to pay 2O Euros at Ryanair and 400 Euros at Lufthansa, i will fly Lufthansa now.
Hi Joerg, I'm sorry to say so but what do you expect for "I was able to purchase six return tickets at 144 Euro"
The price to get so fantastic value flights is to stick to their (more than just sometimes stupid) rules.
- print your tickets at home
- get on time to the airport
- get your stamps and all that is needed on the right desk (specially in the UK)
- get to the gate on time with just one hand luggage of right size and weight
etc etc ...
If I'm able to get a competitive flight (maybe a bit more with a better service (which is not guaranteed in today's time )
for a close enough price I personally avoid Ryanair like dog pooh but unfortunately its not often "available" 30 compared to 200 is quite a nobrainer.
And with the Visa, as above was already stated, all the hustle someone can also experience with Lufthansa or any other even 1st class carrier.
Ryanair is just more shameless in "It's not my turn to give a shit, read the T&C and stick to them" behavior.
But that comes with the price and the pressure the staff is getting from their employer and is for sure not a personal thingy.
When I recently went to London there was also someone who really thought 1 hand-luggage doesn't apply to her and even made into the plane with her 2 pieces one of them a full size Samsonite case which of course didn't fit into the overheard compartment or under the seat (and judging the straining face of the stewardess trying to pick up the case out it must have been "slightly" over the 10KG). They send her off the plane which took about 30 minutes while everyone else had to wait and caused a delay. I would have preferred they would have send her away already on the gate avoiding the delay but I guess she knew someone to slip though since they even checked my Cabin Max Backpack for correct size but not for weight (Idiots).
Ryanair is not at all glamour but also not entirely gloom.
Welcome to the club. I stopped using Ryanair a long time ago when they allegedly started sacking whistle-blower pilots who report serious safety issues (reference: pprune.org). Oh and my wife lost her passport AFTER boarding a Ryanair plane (it had slipped down the back of the seat) and they threw her off (even though SHE HAD JUST SHOWN HER PASSPORT TO GET ON THE PLANE). Of course it was found a few minutes after they shut the door. The alleged safety stories are endless, it's not a question of if Ryanair will have an accident, it's a question of when.
sadly this only makes you just another +1 to the verrrrrrrrrrry loooooooooong list of people who have had bad experiences with them.
infact, try reading: www.ihateryanair.org/
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