The Ryanair Story
It all started in the beginning of October when I received an invitation to a wedding in Ireland. I didn't think I could afford to go, but then I saw GO airline's special offer of 700 kr. all taxes paid (about GBP 60) CPH-LON-CPH and decided to find out how much the last leg (LON-DUB-LON) would cost. I came across Ryanair's website where they had an offer of 31. I thought that sounded very reasonable, so I went for it. I booked GO over the net with no problems and asked them to charge my VISA card. Then to Ryanair's website where it turned out that the 31 offer was for very early morning flights only and that was of no use to me because I wasn't able to make the connection from Copenhagen in time. I opted for a 51 noon flight instead and went through the booking procedure. At one stage I was told that I had to pay 19.13 taxes. Now the price was up to 70. Still I went for it, but then I was told that I had to pay a credit card fee of 3. Great policy of Ryanair to let me pay for making it easier for them. They have absolutely no problems with a VISA card. Now the full price was 73.13. When I reached the final step in the procedure where I had to accept the booking I was told that there had been a server problem and I had to start all over again. Should I have heard alarm bells ringing here? Anyway, I went through the procedure again and this time with success.

I then waited for about a week and got the GO ticket no problem. The following day I received two envelopes - one clearly marked Ryanair and the other hand-written and with no stamp or postage paid. Amazing that I got it at all. Yes, you've guessed it. Two identical tickets for the same flight, only the booking references were different. Of course they had charged my VISA card twice too.

On to their website to find an e-mail address so I could write and tell them about their mistake. That's what I thought. Nowhere on their website is there an e-mail address to be found. There was a number for an Internet Helpdesk and after a few attempts I got through to Dublin where I talked to a Lynn? Holland who was quite helpful. She apologised and asked me to return one of the tickets and I would be reimbursed. I did that the very same day.

Ryan Air

Lynn Holland
Internet Help Desk
Ryan Air Direct
Phoenix House
Cunningham Road
Dublin 8

Re: JHTBA4 and JH4N82

Dear Lynn,
As agreed on our pleasant telephone conversation this morning I hereby return one ticket (JH4N82).
The reason is that I, due to an error on your server, received two identical tickets and was charged twice.
I look forward to being reimbursed the amount of GBP 73.13. Please return the amount to my VISA account no. **** **** **** ****
Yours sincerely
Mich Nielsen

After three weeks I hadn't heard from Ryanair and I decided to ring them again. This time with much difficulty and I spent three times five minutes listening to canned music from Dublin, while paying for international phone calls. I finally got through to somebody who after a while told me that they had indeed received my ticket and that I would be reimbursed, but that it could easily take up to four weeks. That was standard procedure. Before I hung up I asked her for an e-mail address I could use in future which I got: internet@ryanair.ie

A few days later I received this letter:

Without Prejudice

Mr Nielsen
Stefansgade
16/2
TV
Copenhagen
Denmark
2200 N

Our App: 32877
1st November 1999

Dear Mr Nielsen
I refer to your recent refund application. Please accept our sincere apologies for any inconvenience caused. I wish to confirm that a refund has been processed to your credit card and should reflect on your next statement of accounts.
With renewed apologies and assuring you of our best attention at all times.
Your (sic!) sincerely,
Erika Dowling
Refund Administrator

All fine, the only thing was that my bank statement showed that 70.13 had been put into my account. What about the 3 credit card charge? Should I pay that because they fucked up?

I had already spent much more than 3 on phone calls to Ryanair, but as a matter of principle I wrote them a letter and sent it snail mail. Here is the letter:

Ryanair
Corporate Head Office
Dublin Airport
Co. Dublin
Ireland

Att: Erika Dowling

Re: App: 32877

Dear Erika Dowling,
Today I got a letter from you saying that a refund had been processed to my credit card and I also got a statement from my bank that confirmed this. For this I'm very grateful.
One thing I don't understand, though, is a 3 difference between the amount I was charged originally and the amount that I was reimbursed.
I presume it has something to do with the 3 VISA charge you operate with, which I found outrageous in the first place. If that is the case I cannot see why I should pay a VISA charge because of a computer fault that had nothing to do with me.
It is the principle and not the 3 I'm on about; I have paid at least twice that amount on international phone calls trying to get through to your help desk in order to sort this out.
I would be grateful if you would reply to this letter via my e-mail address.

Yours
Mich Nielsen

More than two weeks after this letter I received an e-mail, and thought it was an apology for charging the VISA charge , but no:

Mon Nov 15 15:37:17 1999

Mr Nielsen,
We need you to contact us on the following number, 0541 569569. There has been a schedule change in your booking which we need to confirm with you.
Regards Fiona Giblin,
Ryanair Internet Helpdesk.

Would it have been smart if they had written what changes we were talking about????
I checked my mail Monday night and figured it was too late to call them and waited till next morning where I tried for 45 minutes to get through to the number I had been given. I had to go to work and had no time for other attempts.

Tuesday morning another mail from Ryanair:

Mon Nov 15 22:12:55 1999

Mr Nielson (Sic!),
As per previous email please contact due to a schedule change to the time of your flights. Please contact us to advise if the time changes will be suitable. Your reference number is JHTBA4.
Best regards
Brid Casey
Ryanair

Meanwhile I had tried to reply to the first mail, but it bounced!!!

Tuesday (16th) I tried to phone them again with the usual result - engaged. I then sent an e-mail to the address I had been given on the phone.

I can't get through to you on the phone. I have tried for 45 minutes and have now given up.
Could you send me the details by e-mail? My booking no. is JHTBA4
Mich Nielsen
Wed Nov 17 14:21:26 1999

Mr Nielsen,
Since my e mail to you we have introduced a telephone line for passengers calling in regard to schedule changes. You should have no trouble getting through on this telephone number, 0870 3331251. The details of your schedule change are as follows.
You were due to depart Dublin on 2 Dec at 1200pm.
That has now changed to depart Dublin on 2 Dec at 1350pm and arrive stansted at 1500pm.
Please call the above phone number to confirm the schedule change.
Regards Fiona Giblin,
Ryanair Internet Helpdesk.

Wed Nov 17 15:31:10 1999

Mr Nielsen,
I wish to advise of the following schedule change to your booking...
Original booking:
Outbound:
FR 207 25 November London Stansted to Dublin @ dep 1100 arr 1210
Return:
FR 222 02 December Dublin to London Stansted @ dep 1200 arr 1310

New flight times:
Outbound:
No changes

Return:
FR 224 02 December Dublin to London Stansted @ dep 1350 arr 1500
If the above times are suitable please contact us so we confirm this to your booking.
Regards
Brid Casey
Ryanair
0870 333 1250
info@ryanair.com

Interesting two Ryanair persons answering me.
Now at least I have the proposed changes, but they do not suit me because my GO flight back to Copenhagen is leaving London at 15.05, five minutes after Ryanair's flight has landed.

18/11

Subject: JHTBA4 again

Att.: Brid Casey, Fiona Giblin, Lynn Holland, Erika Dowling, or anybody else who can sort this out.

RE: Booking JHTBA4

I have now tried to get through to you on the phone for four days with no luck. I have tried several numbers (0870 - 3331250/1 and 0541-569569) and I keep getting an engaged tone.
I have mailed you several times and yesterday I got a reply with your proposed schedule changes. You asked me to confirm that it suited me.
I tried by phone but with no luck, so yesterday evening I sent you an e-mail saying that it did not suit me at all, because it would mean that I would miss my flight from London to Copenhagen.

I have had no reply from you yet!

If you insist that I can't get on the flight I have a ticket for, you must at least be able to get me on an earlier flight so I can make my connection in Stansted, although that doesn't really suit me either.
I must say that this my first encounter with Ryanair has not worked out very well. First I get two tickets and is billed twice for the same flight. Then, after three and a half weeks I get my money back for one ticket, but not the credit card fee of 3, which you obviously think I should pay even though the fault was with one of your computers. I sent a letter to you two weeks ago saying that I found that policy outrageous, but I never got a reply to that either. Now I'm being told that I can't get on the flight I at one stage had two tickets for!?

I'm off to a wedding in Ireland. A good friend and diplomat from the Irish Embassy here in Denmark, is getting married. As Editor of the Danish Irish Society's monthly magazine I was looking forward to report about the wedding and at the same time write about a cheap and fairly easy way of getting from Copenhagen to Dublin via London. I'm afraid that our readers won't be too impressed with what I can report so far.

With less than one week to my departure I hope you will reply to this mail asap and let me know about my travel arrangements from Dublin to London (STN) on Dec. 2nd.

Mich Nielsen

Okay I was twisting the truth a bit. The diplomat in question is not with the Embassy here in Copenhagen anymore, but up until recently he was.
Thu Nov 18 18:03:47 1999

Mr Nielson (Sic!),
In reply to your request to book yourselve on the FR 206 @ 0925 on 2 December i have confirmed this to your booking at no extra cost due to the schedule change.Your ticket will be reissued at the airport on your departure to show your new times.
Please confirm if this change is suitable.
Regards
Brid Casey
Ryanair

Oh thanks Ryanair.
You have changed my booking at no extra cost.

In case anybody missed it - this last remark was sarcastic.

18/11

New booking okay with me

Mich Nielsen

This is where we stand now. I'm not at all happy with my new booking (I have six hours to kill in London Stansted), but at least it looks as if I'm getting home.

If there is a moral to this story I think it's somewhere along the lines: Mich Nielsen will not fly Ryanair again.

Now I'm back from Ireland but I still haven't got my 3 refund, so again I write to Ryanair:

12/12 1999
Ryanair
Corporate Head Office
Dublin Airport
Co. Dublin
Ireland

Re: App: 32877
Booking nos.: JHTBA4 and JH4N82

On the 4th of November I wrote you a letter thanking you for refunding a ticket you had wrongfully charged me for. At the time I wrote:

"One thing I don't understand, though, is a 3 difference between the amount I was charged originally and the amount that I was reimbursed. I presume it has something to do with the 3 VISA charge you operate with, which I found outrageous in the first place. If that is the case I cannot see why I should pay a VISA charge because of a computer fault that had nothing to do with me."

I still haven't got my 3 refund and you haven't even taken the time to reply to my letter, which I find quite strange.

As I said in my last letter to you it's the principle and the not the 3 I'm on about. I just can't understand that I shall have to pay because of an error in one of your computers. I shall look forward to receiving my 3 in the near future.

Yours in anticipation

Mich G. Nielsen

PS The readers of the Danish Irish Society's magazine are having great fun reading about my correspondence with Ryanair and I have even made a homepage where all our correspondence can be found at:
http://www.michn.dk/ryanairsucks
You might find it interesting.

I wonder if this last letter has any effect, only time will show. Stay tuned for further developments

 

30/12 Today I received the following letter:

Without Prejudice

Mr. Michael Nielsen

Stefansgade
16/2 TV
Copenhagen
Denmark
2200 N

OurRef:35359
17th December 1999

Dear Mr. Nielsen,
I refer to your recent refund application.

I wish to confirm that a refund has been processed to your credit card and should reflect in your next statement of accounts.

Assuring you of our best attention at all times.

Yours sincerely

Erika Dowling
Refunds Administrator

I checked my bank statement and lo and behold: My 3 was there. Justice had been done.
I'm not the one to gloat, but I can't help feeling quite good about the outcome of it all.

This is probably the last chapter in the saga and although Ryanair forked out in the end, I still doubt that I'll be using them again, even though Erica Dowling keeps assuring me of their "best intentions at all times".

Thank you for your patience dear reader.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

 

Feb. 9th 2000

Hello we're back!!!!!

Here I was thinking it was all over, but no! Ryanair insist that I should not forget them. See what the mail brought this morning:

Without Prejudice

Mr Nielsen

Stefansgade
16/2 TV
Copenhagen
Denmark
2200 N

OurRef:32877
03 Feb 00

Dear Mr Nielsen,
I refer to your recent refund application.

I wish to confirm that a refund has been processed to your credit card and should reflect in your next statement of accounts.

Assuring you of our best attention at all times.

Your sincerely

Erika Dowling (signed pp Deborah ?????le)
Refunds Administrator

What's this now? Another refund? For what? Have they decided that the 3 VISA charge is outrageous and decided to refund it? Or have they totally cocked up and sent me a refund for a whole ticket?
I ran straight down to the bank to check my statement and I came home very disappointed - there was no money from Ryanair waiting for me. It would have been too good to be true. Still, I'm a bit puzzled because the Ref. no. is the same as the first reimbursement I got, and not the second of 3 ??? Of course I knew they hadn't sent me a refund for a whole ticket. I mean, how much can you cock up? But what if they, by mistake, had sent me the 3 an extra time. Being a person of such high morale and principles I would have had to return it, wouldn't I? Imagine the fun that could have been :-))

Believe it or not, but I'm considering flying Ryanair again in a couple of months time (I'm a sucker for punishment). The thing is that Aer Lingus are no longer flying out of Copenhagen so I thought that I'd fly GO to London Stansted and then onwards with Aer Lingus. Unfortunately it turns out that Aer Lingus have axed their Stansted-DUB route as well. So, who is flying Stansted-DUB? Yes, you've guessed it: Ryanair.
I haven't made up my mind yet, but there is a good few quid to save by doing it, so I am very tempted.
Afterall we must not forget about the entertainment value of it all. I'm saying this now, but rest assured that when I'm standing in Stansted and have missed my connection, I will fail to see the entertainment value and this webpage will grow to unprecedented proportions. Stay tuned :-))


14/2/2000

Today I received a full statement from my bank and it shows that Ryanair actually did pay me 3 on the 24th of January. I never checked back that far when I went in the other day. The letter I got from them was sent on the 3rd of February.

Having thought much about returning the 3 I have finally decided not to. I know this is not right, but I choose to think of the 3 as interest or a little token of appreciation after all the trouble I have had. What about my principles I hear you say and you hear me say f... principles. I want this thing to end now!!!!!!!!

I can't really see any changes to this site in the near future, but I'll update it if and when I decide to fly Ryanair again.

17/2/2000

My good friend John Coffey from Kilkenny is after sending me this clip from The Irish Times. Click on it to get the full text. I'm not the only one who is having problems with Ryanair :-))

Irish Times Article

In all fairness I must add that I have used Ryanair since with only minor glitches compared to this.

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