Family Battles Ryanair Over £165 Forced Check-In Fee Amid System Glitch Allegations

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A family experienced a tense disagreement with Ryanair, forced to pay £165 just to check in at the airport due to an alleged error in the system. The situation took a confusing turn when Ryanair claimed that the family had “unchecked themselves”.

Preparation to fly had been extensive, with Damian Lloyd checking in his family a month prior to their holiday. As far as he was concerned, everything was in order, as he arrived at the airport with the printed boarding passes. However, the unexpected happened when the barcodes drew a blank on the scanner and the family was told they needed to pay to check in all over again.

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Attempts to reclaim the wrongly spent money were in vain as Ryanair insisted they had unchecked themselves before the flight, hence the additional charges. Now, the matter is with a dispute resolution service after numerous inconclusive email exchanges.

The experienced 50-year-old flyer from Neath, who doubles as a health and safety manager, had booked his family into a 10-day holiday to Gran Canaria. Lloyd, who had a history of swift dealings with the airline’s extra fees, was left in a state of disbelief upon learning of the barcode fiasco involving his family’s boarding passes.

The airline’s check-in staff seemed equally puzzled by the glitch. “He found our names and seat numbers on the computer, but the boarding passes just wouldn’t scan. He had no idea why,” Mr Lloyd recounted. With the early morning flight looming and customer service yet open to investigate the issue, the family was cornered into making a hasty choice.

Ryanair policy doesn’t allow passengers onto planes without scanned boarding passes, hence, the family faced a critical decision: miss the flight and wait for customer service or pay for new passes right away. Mr Lloyd chose to pay considering the next flights were three days away.

Upon trying to recover the disproportionate fee, Ryanair dismissed the claim, stating the issue wasn’t a result of its system failure. The airline initially claimed Mr Lloyd hadn’t verified his identity, a statement they later admitted was incorrect. The reason then shifted to Lloyd unchecking his family the day before his flight, an accusation he vehemently denies.

“I can’t recollect visiting the website after checking in,” Mr Lloyd remarked rather indignantly, adding that he would have easily admitted if he had erred, but was certain he didn’t in this case. He expressed his exasperation at the airline’s insistence despite their colossal annual earnings.

AviationADR, an independent airline dispute resolution scheme, is currently working with the case since efforts to reach a resolution have continually hit a brick wall. This incident amplifies the ongoing concern on airline fees, highlighted by a previous incident that saw Ryanair charge an elderly couple £110 to print their tickets at the airport.