Ryanair does deliver an experience!

As sent to Ryanair:

Dear Sir/Madam,

 I am writing for the attention of your customer experience team. I am definitely a customer, and believe me, you didn’t fail in providing us with an experience.

 My wife and I had booked to fly from Stansted on the Thursday 17th April, evening flight to Bratislava. After 2 hours of fun, fun, fun, stuck on the M25 doing 20 mph, we arrived at Stansted check in with just one hour until the flight. Knowing the strict Ryan Air policy on ‘luggage check in closes 40 mins before the flight’ as you are the Low Fare Taxi of The Skies, we went straight to the Ryan Air assistant and explained our plight. She said we were still within the time and all would be fine but we had to make the attendant at check in aware and he would assist from there.

 We approached the attendant as instructed and explained. Unfortunately, in the main part due to him being a child, and forgetting to bring his mother to work, he heard only half of the words before his brain fell apart like a wet cake. He led us to the line for closing gates, advised we should wait and all would be ok. We stood patiently in the line for 20 minutes. We got to the front of the line and the lady, who we shall from this point refer to as Vacant, explained that she had literally just that second closed the flight and we had missed it. We complained that we had done as instructed and she said it was Child’s fault because he should have advised her that we were trying to board a closing flight, and that because he hadn’t told her it was therefore our fault we had missed the plane.

 Confused by this process of blame apportioning, another check in clerk, who we shall refer to as Not That Bright, tried to blame us for not responding to the last call for the flight as we should have made ourselves known. I argued that the last call had not been made. Not That Bright then questioned Vacant on whether she had done a final call. Vacant did what she does best and looked, well,…… After establishing that the child had not informed Vacant we were here, and Vacant had forgotten to do a last call and that all of this was irreversible, and my fault, Not That Bright and Vacant conferred to agree this was not a problem they wished to deal with and told us to get in a very, very long line of very, very unhappy people at the quite wrongly titled ‘Customer Services Counter’ as it was in fact a Customer Shouting Desk. We complained and requested the attention of a manager.

Out came Colin, a man so angry all his hair had literally fallen out. He was so aggressive I can only assume he had accidentally inserted something sharp into somewhere private and been unable to remove it before he came to work. He was definitely a Middle Gimp. I know this as Vacant and Not That Bright were clearly quite scared of him, and he can’t have been a Big Cheese as he was talking directly to customers and we all know from The News that no-one in Big Cheese management at Ryan Air has ever seen, let alone spoken to, an actual customer.

 Middle Gimp had clearly listened hard at Ryan Air Middle Gimp School, as he managed to take two perfectly calm and sane adults and in a matter of seconds reduce them to angry people considering violence.

 ‘Check in opens 3 hours before the flight’ He barked repeatedly as if it was the answer to every question in life. We tried to ask Middle Gimp direct questions about why it was necessary for us to miss the flight because the Child had forgotten to do his job, and Vacant had forgotten to do hers.

 ‘Why is this our fault, and why should we miss the flight because of errors Ryan Air staff have just admitted?.

 ‘Check in opens three hours before the flight’

 ‘Do you acknowledge we have just cause for complaint as we tried to do the right thing and the only reason we are not on the plane is because of communication failures between Ryan Air Staff?’

 ‘Check in opens three hours before the flight’

 ‘What colour are my trousers?’

 ‘Check in opens three hours before the flight’

 ‘Do you think economic sanctions on Russia will diffuse the escalating situation in Ukraine?’

 ‘Check in opens three hours before the flight’

 ‘Were Man Utd right to fire David Moyes?’

 ‘Check in opens three hours before the flight’

 ‘My tinkle is hurting, could you take a look if I promise not to tell anyone?’

 ‘Check in opens three hours before the flight’

 Middle Gimp then conferred with Vacant and Not That Bright, and agreed that this was all our fault as we should have noticed that Child had made an error and we should have called the flight ourselves to assist Vacant in doing her job because she was clearly busy being, well,…… Middle Gimp then insisted we go to the Customer Shouting Desk, as he was definitely not going to do anything else. This was handy as the queue was very long so that by the time we would reach the front the plane would be half way to Bratislava and the problem would be solved.

 We waited patiently in line as customer after customer stood at the desk to hear the same song;

 ‘No, no, I can’t do that, no, there are no Middle Gimps available, no, no, sorry, no, give me all your money’

 We got to the Customer Shouting Desk and explained our plight to the lady there (who was actually very nice and clearly should not be working for Ryan Air as a result). She apologised but explained that Middle Gimp had finished being angry for the day and had returned to his padded cage, and that there were no other Middle Gimps around. We would have to book in to the flight for the next day and we would have to pay £110 each to change the ticket. When she tried to re-book the flight she said that the flight we had tried to get was actually delayed by 1 hour and still at the airport, and that what we should do is run to the gate with all our luggage, she would call through and they would check our bags into the hold at the gate. We ran as fast as we could, which is not very fast because I am fat, to security to do as instructed. When we got there, security advised us that because our flight should have left, even though it hadn’t, the ticket machine would not open the barrier for us and we would need to return to the Customer Shouting Desk.

 We waited patiently in the very long queue yet again for about 40 minutes to discover the nice lady had also gone home now so we had to explain the whole thing again to a new lady that looked like all the joy had been removed from her life at birth. She recited the Ryan Air customer services song with a sterling level of apathy and dreariness, I am surprised she could muster the will just to breathe and stay alive.

 ‘No, no, I can’t do that, no, there are no Middle Gimps available, no, no, sorry, no, give me all your money’

 She recited it with perfection, Middle Gimps across the world would have been in awe and the effectiveness of the techniques taught in Middle Gimp School. Seeing no other option but to hand over all our cash and come back the next morning we happily paid and got new flights.

 As the new flight was at 6.25am in the morning we decided to get a hotel, we paid £79 for a room and got a taxi.

 So, our customer experience was insightful and liberating. From the incompetent Child with a brain so full of girls and modifications he was planning for his mothers Vauxhall Corsa to make it better, he couldn’t actually listen or speak, through Vacant and Not That Bright who decided on reflection that anything they did wrong was our fault for not pointing it out to them, right through Middle Gimp who made a Tasmanian Devil look calm and Zen like, and the sad one, oh so sad, having every last drop of life sucked out of her by her chosen career at the Ryan Air Customer Shouting Desk. I very nearly jumped over the desk just to give her a cuddle and tell her everything would be alright if she could just muster the will to leave the Ryan Air Customer Shouting Desk and find a more fulfilling job, like being a North Korean hair dresser, or a parking attendant in Tower Hamlets, or in fact just resigning herself to a slow and uncomfortable death would have been indistinguishable from the current position and would require much less effort.

 The net result of this ‘experience’ was;

 New Flights – £220

Hotel £79

Taxi x 2 £50

World’s most expensive sandwich in the only hotel we could get £35

 1 x significant breach of Tort Law, in my opinion, (2008 as quoted by Lord Atkin) by Ryan Air. Google it, it’s a cracking read about inconvenience, alarm, harm, and distress caused. It set the rules for who is liable when Middle Gimp, Vacant, Child, and Not That Bright ruin your holiday. I will leave you to decide the monetary value of this.

 1 x Very angry and upset wife, in particular with Middle Gimp for being so unbelievably rude.

 1 x Missing our wedding reception for my new Slovakian family (sorry, forgot to mention this nugget earlier) who all turned up from all over the country to see us, the new Mr and Mrs Lockley, for an event we were forced to miss, because Child and Vacant are clueless at best and Middle Gimp has anger management issues.

 So, thank you Ryan Air for a comfortable and enjoyable experience. I have watched a program called The News so I fully expect this to land on the desk of the customer services team underneath the empty bottles, orange peel, and sandwich wrappers that you also file there. You treated us badly, you cost us money and made us miss our own wedding reception, through a display of incompetence I have not seen since Greece was allowed to have money and a cheque book.

 I sincerely doubt you will do anything about this, compensate us, apologise, or even respond according to The News, so I have sent this recorded and sign for delivery to absolutely confirm my opinion of Ryan Air and that this letter has not been ‘lost in the post’


DJ Lockley (djlockley@hotmail.com)

 P.S. Maybe Middle Gimp in particular, but Child, Not That Bright, and Vacant should purchase one of your reasonably priced tickets and go to Slovakia (assuming they were actually allowed on the plane unlike us). The Ryan Air employees there are smart, clever, bilingual, helpful, and polite, and they should in my opinion experience an example of how they should do their jobs. The Slovak staff could explain it to them, but they wouldn’t be able to understand it for them, so it may be a waste of time after all and akin to explaining a VAT return to a horse.


115 thoughts on “Ryanair does deliver an experience!

  1. zentalfloss

    Ahhhh . . . air travel. Here in the U.S., we have so many unworthy competitors for “worst” airline, but they tend to share a bit of what you have in Ryan Air. Incredibly “cheap” flights to a lot of places, so it looks too good to be true.

    And isn’t that the point – it is too good to be true. Our last flight they pulled the weight game. We have a big suitcase named “Bertha” and we weighed her as best we could at home and then again at LAX (Los Angeles International) on our flight to Atlanta. All was well – she was within the weight parameters and no one said boo about her square inches. Sure enough, coming home a whole different story to the tune of an extra $50. Moral – what one employee lets slide, another one may not. Lesson learned – Bertha stayed home on the next trip. (Hey, and don’t get me started on the knitting needles debacle – I pack my knitting away, even though my fingers itch to be doing something on a five hour flight. Even though some airlines are now okay with it, losing a knitting project because some chowderhead decided I was a BIG THREAT would be heartbreaking.)

    I do see the trend beginning to go the other way here in the U.S., though – airlines are beginning, once again, to compete not just on price, but on quality standards and not nickle-and-diming you to death (see the $50 charge above.) Of course the flights are also going up in price overall, but with fuel prices and retirement of old planes and buying of new ones I’m not sure that’s not unreasonable, even if I sure would still love to be able to fly from Los Angeles to New York for about $300 (I was able to do this for a number of years – no longer!)

    Like everybody else, I shop on price AND quality in a complex matrix that is probably as idiosyncratic as anyone’s. My husband is shocked and amazed at the deals I find! But even so, there are just some service businesses (as well as products) that are just not worth it. Ryan Air sure seems to be the one there in the UK and Europe. I wonder just how long they will remain in business with their customer disservice.

    Anyway – LOVED the letter! Terrifically funny, and irritatingly familiar all at once.

  2. aingarth

    Sadly, in a world where air flight is now the least enjoyable way of travelling, there are many competitors for worst. But Ryanair clearly takes the wooden spoon and I avoid using at all cost – unless you are very lucky, it isn’t even the cheapest! I remain amazed it is still in business and there are still willing victims.

  3. terry

    mmm, I can recall not so long back that the ch(airg)imp used to sneer publicly & smugly about the retarded intellect of his victims who were aghast at the surcharges & the stampede when the flight opened. “Should have read the small print” was his standard response, “I’m not responsible for the customer’s stupidity…they only have to pay for a bag if they bring it, can’t they read” etc etc. Anyhow, now that the line at the shouting desk has got longer & its constituents progressively more unhappy the ch(airg)imp has been hearing less & less ringing at the cash register so has engaged the caterpillar & reversed out of the pit into which he was digging. Now they have the gall to advertise that Ryanair have allocated seating, as if they were the first to slice a loaf. The previous stance has of course gone with the orange peel & sandwich wrappers, to be expiated from the corporate memory bank. Expect further about faces as the tills fall silent & the stupid customers stampede in the opposite direction.

  4. Alan Fenlon

    Michael Oleary is taking the P**s.He needs to go undercover from booking a return flight to anywhere in Europe to calling customer services just to let him see for himself what an appalling service he is actually providing us.

    1. Ken Barton

      I being English but living in Scotland must have the Luck of the Irish. I recently had cause to speak with customer service in respect of allocated seating for a fellow passenger requiring assistance.
      I got what I requested together with an unexpected bonus

    1. Sandra Byrne

      Yes, please do post any reply you get (doubt you will). I LOVED your letter! And if nothing else – Ryanair’s appalling service has gone viral! Can’t be good for business.

  5. Graeme

    I fly with Ryanair from London to Rygge and have no complaints, very clean, very new planes, always on time, seats not move so everyone has the same space. Prices very good, took 7 family members to Rygge for £170 return, all up! If we went to London from Bedford by train it would cost £280. So what is there to bitch about?

    1. James Balti

      Sounds fantastic, as long as you get there without delay and having to pay a surcharge of more than the original flight cost, together with associated distress and missing your own wedding reception. I agree that you get what you pay for, but Ryanair’s trick is for you to end up paying much more than you originally thought. What beggars belief in this story is not just how Ryanair treated them, but that this all happened because they arrived with twenty minutes to spare yet were categorised as being late.

  6. David Maxwell

    I am from Australia and have used Ryan Air several times for onward flight to either Spain or Dublin/Derry. SO FAR, its been my experience that, so long as you stick rigidly to their rules, read the documentation back to front, get to the airport several hours before the flight all will be well. I must admit to feelings of trepidation when entering the airport concourse, ie. Is my bag too big, too heavy. I do love the sheep herding experience prior to boarding (reminds me of OZ) There are even replicas of the sheep/cattle dogs nipping at your heels to move from one place to another prior to boarding. They have lately trumpeted the introduction the allocation of seats as “listening to customers” but dont use that to make boarding more orderly instead of the usual rugby scrum.
    However given all that, you only get what you pay for in my experience. I have looked at other flights into Dublin/Spain and those fares are outrageously overpriced. You could almost book a week away staying at a hotel for the same price some other scheduled airlines charge.

    Of course my feelings could well replicate James if I were ever to step out of line and try to buck the Ryan Air system !!!

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  8. Helen

    “a display of incompetence I have not seen since Greece was allowed to have money and a cheque book.”…..I guess that can be called humour? I came across this post earlier and I am extremely dissapointed due to that ignorant sooooo elementary remark.I guess that childish jokes about British &Scottish or German & French still aply in your world.It is highly offensive and I think that remark could be missing.By the way hell yeah I am Greek..I know how to count,I am a teacher and my only problem is the fact that I am being overtaxed so banks can get money and not declare bankruptcy…..By the way..Ryan Air suckes!Even Greeks know that!

    1. Derek Phillips

      You may know how to count but I wouldn’t want to be on one of your sinking cruise ships.

  9. Nick Reed

    Sympathy for you oozing from every orifice. I decided long ago (never to walk in anyone’s shadow) but also to never fly Ryanair again. I have been known to drive three hours to an airport when one is just half an hour away, just to avoid flying with this time-wasting bunch of incompetent scumbags. But if you think they’re bad, try Delta airlines… complaining on a nine-hour flight to Minneapolis about no working screen or even light to read by (!) I was given a voucher printed by a hand-held machine (clearly they know the flak is coming, so they have a machine to deal with it!) that entitled me to $150 off my next Delta flight. Like I’m going to fly with them again! And when I get back to blighty to make a formal complaint, I find that they don’t even HAVE a customer services department. Another one on the boycott list, then. DELTA – Does Everyone Loathe This Airline? Same as SABENA – Such A Bloody Experience Never Again. Any others out there?

  10. John

    A certain Mr O’Leary went into a bar, and how much a pint of Guinness would cost.. “That will be €1.50 please,” said the barman. “That’s remarkably cheap!” said Mr O, “I’ll have one!” “and you’ll be wanting a glass?” replied the barman, “That’s another €5 if you don’t mine” History does not say what happened next. .

  11. Keith Bouckley

    I believe he went away and came back later saying
    ” A pint of Guinness please and her is my glass.” To which the barman replied “Certainly Sir but that will be an additional £7.50 if you bring your own glass or £5 if you use ours”

  12. James Witney

    I had a similar experience with BA Other… but I was in Italy and the final calls were in Italian !!
    Anyway, I spent an interesting night at Malpensa airport — and had to pay for another ticket the next morning.
    These experiences occur in life, we have to accept and learn from them — don’t cut corners with air travel, leave much more time.
    I see that you seek to blame everyone else (incl. M25 traffic) — be a man and take ownership, is all I can advise you.

  13. Meyer Rabin

    Great letter. Moral = never fly RyanAir, always print boarding passes with TSA precheck (or British equivalent), don’t bring luggage and if you do, skip the line and don’t ask questions. Never believe what clueless attendants say. Send this to BBB or government entity to have a formal complaint.

  14. Pedro

    Reblogged this on X, Y of Einstein? and commented:
    Voor wie de brief nog niet zag, tegelijk triest maar zeer grappig geschreven. En toont dat vandaag reputaties online gemaakt en gebroken kunnen worden. Anderzijds, de kans is misschien klein dat Ryanair er zich veel van zal aantrekken?

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  16. Gill

    I was just linked this and it cheered up a miserable morning. Not for you, obviously 😦
    I can’t find anywhere if Ryanair deigned to reply and, if so, how they replied.
    I would love to know 🙂

  17. Jule

    great letter really helped but stupid comment about the Greeks you would not be able to count your money or write in your cheque book had it not been for them but then again you married a Slovakian whose vacant now?

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