Ryanair – How NOT to go about customer service?

I have just finished a telephone “conversation” with Ryanair and have to come to the conclusion that they are the worst company for after sales support anywhere.

For those of you reading this from outside Europe, Ryanair is a low cost airline, offering flights around Europe for as little as $1 each way..

First problem they have is the total lack of anyway to contact them by email.  Before you fly, you are forced to either view their FAQ’s or call either their reservation centre (at £0.10 per minute, here is the kicker, it always takes a minimum of 5 minutes to get to actually speak to anybody) or their internet support team at a whopping £1 per minute..

You see, dear reader, this is the clever part, when using Ryanair, the problems are generally Internet related.  Their site recently relaunched and frankly the relaunch was dreadful, they removed half the features, emails were not being sent to confirm one had made a booking and the site crashed continuously.  So my latest Ryanair experience was another web related issue.  I checked in online and the site automatically picked up my birthday as my passport expiry date, it did so just after the page crashed on me, clearly indicating another Ryanair web problem.

What to do?

I called the £1 per minute line and (not surprisingly) the call was answered straight away, they don’t want you hanging around, at £1 per minute, they want you talking to them..

So the guy that answered started off angrily asking me what my home address was and what telephone number I used on the booking, standard security questions.  I then told him the problem and asked if he could manually change the passport date “No Sir, you screwed up and inputted the wrong date”, not the kind of language I would expect to hear coming from a £1 per minute support desk.  I explained the site crashed on inputting details and maybe this was the problem?  “No, you inputted incorrectly”, this is strange because I travel with them twice per week and I kind of know how the site works!  So I dared to question the stability of the site and the fact the link was a dead one not a link to online checking in, the “support” guy then replied “we have zero problems on our site, so it is user error”.  So, instead of trying to look at the situation, I am repeatedly told it is my fault.  And then, and this is the point I had to blog about, he hung up.  The guy was so helpful and friendly that he actually cut the conversation and hung up the phone.

So, Ryanair, answer me this, how do you train your staff, in fact, are they trained?  I have never ever been called a liar and been hung up on when calling customer services, ever, and doubt any of my readers have either.  At what point does all the bad publicity online make you sit up and take a look at the underlying issues?

Now, to make a complaint, I am told that I must fax a Dublin based number and wait for a response.  FAX?  FAX?  The last time I faxed this number was when my suitcase was destroyed by baggage handlers, at the airport the charming lady told me to..wait for it..FAX.. I never had a reply then either.  I have got four solutions for Ryanair, if they did these I think the general public would feel happier and actually recommend their services not the other way round:-

1. Have a general email support – send the person emailing an automated case number and a contact telephone number to chase after 5 working days if not resolved.

2. Have an emergency email support – as above but offer a premium rate number to call if no response within 12 hours.

3. Make staff use their names, that way the customer can note the name of the staff member, note the case number and you can either re-train the staff member or in the case above, fire the staff that are rude and clearly destroying your brand.

4. Employ someone to simply check all blogs/forums and complaints online and actually leave comments and interact with users/customers, offer rewards for good feedback.  Many airlines in the US do that, and they are learning that us customers don’t actually want to complain, we simply just want help or support.

Ryanair does what it says on the tin, you pay peanuts for short flights, you don’t go on board expecting anything apart from a seat and an affordable way to get around Europe.  But when things go wrong, they should and must get their act together, I am not an isolated case and would love to write a good review on Ryanair one day.  In fact if they ever come back to me because of this blog post, I will write a follow up.

Would any other business be in existance  with customer service like this?

Can you imagine ordering a sofa online and the system has a bug, and you end up ordering the wrong size or colour?  Can you imagine having to pay £1 per minute to be told it was your fault, tough luck..?

I’d love to hear your examples (if you have any) of bad customer service, I’d be amazed if you could beat mine.  but then again, nothing surprises me anymore!

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32 thoughts on “Ryanair – How NOT to go about customer service?”

  1. Kevin I can’t beat you as I don’t do flying!! But if there is a charge for a call then I just don’t do it (find the free way to contact them, if there is one if not, then I don’t use them)…. it is usually those who are offering a cheapo deal that conceal that hidden extra charge where they can. Hey they (every business) are about profit it is just that some are more up front than others…. and as for blaming you that it is ‘your’ fault…. ahem NO way!! Sorry but I would have escalated the problem. Go on try it … it is great fun 🙂

  2. 70’s that is the problem, you simply cannot escalate the problem, Ryanair have no procedure nor way of contacting them apart from sending that FAX!

  3. oh that is so bad that you can’t escalate with Ryan air.. next step is bad publicity .. which you have started here … (must just pop along to ryanair and see !)

  4. Hi Kevin

    I have experienced exactly the same problem, ordered tickets 2 July -> website crashed, and no confirmation email came through. So i was in limbo, left it for a while and then after not receiving any email or 7 days later checking my account. I ordered again, this time it went through and I have confirmation.

    But now they have charged me twice for the same flights.

    I hope I can get a refund.

  5. I happened to note my daughter as male at reservation.
    I didn´t see the fault until I had confirmed with passport number and all (going to Spain).
    Now I can´t correct that in my booking. Now I´ve tried calling 5 times.
    A voice immediately tells me: “this call costs 4 sek a minute…” then I get ringtones for 15 sec and then I get occupied tone and must start over!
    I can keep calling forever paying every time but I hope for the best…
    Ingeniuous way of making money, not even a que.

    Maybe you know if we get passed security with the wrong sex noted?

  6. UPDATE:- The check-in staff admitted this happens all the time, they simply re-issued the boarding pass..So no online check-in priority, which is ok as they just changed that too, that no longer exists unless you pay!

    @David – Did you get a refund at all?

    @Benny – I have been through on wrong birth date, once, the PC crashed and I booked my family all in my Mothers Name, that was tricky four people called Brenda! It should be ok, explain to the check in assistants, they seem to be used to it, worst case you may have to pay €10 or €20 to do that but cheaper than phone calls..

  7. I am furious with Ryanair! Made a booking to Limoges got tothe end, site crashed! Afew hours later checked my bank a/c and email. No money taken from a/c and no confirmation from Ryanair. Booked again and got sorted. Two days later I get confirmation for both bookings and my bank a/c has been debited twice!

    Tried phoning ryanair, someone eventually picks up the phone and then slams it down! What a mess! Ryanair must be making a fortune! I am going to try and report them to trading standards. I unfortunately paid with my debit card, wish I had paid with my credit card. HELP!

  8. I have just had a very similar experience and I´m furious with Ryanair…. I´m Danish and fly very often Spain-Denmark. I tried to buy a ticket and it didn´t go through and site crashed down….no confirmation and no e-mail. After 4 hours I tried again and it went well. The next day I saw that they´d charged twice on my visa card. I called……no number in Denmark so luckily we Danes are used to speak many languages, sp I could comunicate in english. This very rude woman on the phone told me that I would have my money back on my account within 12 workingdays. It took them a minute to charge and it takes them 12 days to give me MY money back. Ok I thought, no problem. But just before haning up, she just mentioned that it would have a fee of 20 Euros….o god, now i doubt if she said puonds????? Well I explained her that i hadn´t done a mistake, but my first booking wasn´t confirmed and that´s why I had booked a new 4 hours later. She made me understand that there was nothing to do about that. 20 euros (or Pounds) and I complainted. She said I couldn´t complain to her, because she was at a Call Center and I had to fax. I said, let me get a pen to write down the number…and then she HANG UP. Ryanair……you have disapointed me a lot.
    Has someone had a positive answer after complaining??? Is it worth it for me to send that stupid fax? Please tell me how your omplaints have been recieved. Thanks

  9. @maja Sounds exactly like the comment number 8 and 10. I would send that fax but cross your fingers..

    Still not one person that works for Ryanair has even left a comment..

  10. Hi all, similar experience to Maja’s:
    22nd of July: I try to book a flight but i get a message of error at the end saying that the credit card data is incorrect and to try again because the booking is not confirmed or else cancel the whole process. I try again, same error, decide to leave it at that.The price of this flight is €266

    23rd of July: I come back to the ryanair website to get the flight, hoping that there will no problems this time. The flight is now €20 more expensive. I still go ahead with it and this time i have no problems booking it (even thought i’m using the same credit card) i get my confirmation number and shortly afterwards i get an email confirming the flight.This flight costs €286.

    24th of July: I happen to check my credit card and surprise surprise on the 23rd of July i have been charged for a €266 flight and a €286 flight! nice one! I immediately try to phone them, the phone number is getting me nowhere, i keep getting a recording telling me that the lines are busy and to choose one of the 7 options they give, none of the options are suitable for my query but i still try to use them hoping that i’ll get through to an operator. I try phoning them around 10 times, no luck.

    25th of July: First thing in the morning i try ringing them, same luck as the day before, not getting through to anywhere, try looking for a contact email, none found. Then i find that they have a complaint-refund department (for AFTER you’ve flown) with a fax number, i decide to send them a fax explaining the whole issue. I ask them to please send confirmation of receipt of the fax and i leave all my contact details. No email, no phone call, no letter, no fax. Nothing. At the end of the day however, i receive an email from them, the confirmation and itinerary email for the €266 flight, yeah, that same flight in which i got a booking error and which advised me that my booking was not made because the cc data was wrong!!

    I decide to then give them the weekend, hoping that i’d get some sort of response today, so far, no luck. I’m going to write another fax today, attaching the fax from friday, and i will keep doing that till i get a response. If by August the 1st i haven’t got any response i will go to the airport (which is 1 hour away from where i live) and see somebody right there and then and demand to get my money back.
    I just cannot believe this situation, i am a very frequent user of ryanair and have never had this kind of problem, maybe delays and things like those but not this kind of issue. I find it appalling that i am not even able to get through to someone (not that it is of much help from what i can see from other comments…)

    I’m hoping that i will get a phone call or some sort of communication from them which will save me the trip to the airport but i don’t think it will happen…
    I’m desperate right now… i’ll keep you updated of the whole issue, hope everyone else has got theirs sorted?

    Thanks

  11. Quick update (hope i’m not being too annoying)
    I’ve sent my third fax today, so far, no answer…

  12. Update: After sending the third fax (in which i was a bit more assertive (and frustrated)) I’ve got a response!! I got an email from them letting me know that the higher amount is going to be refunded to my credit card, it will take 5-7 working days but well, at least i’m getting my money back! god i’m so relieved! i’m now going to make sure that my other booking is still valid (just in case).
    I know have their customer service email address too, which is always good to have! 🙂

  13. Is it possible anyone can give me the fax no please as i have had the same problem tried booking flight last night got error page and am not sure if went through as it told me my details had already been entered and not to re submit.

    Thanks

    Julie

  14. Hi Julie try one of the ones below:-

    For Complaints
    Customer Services Dept
    Ryanair Head Office
    Dublin Airport
    Co Dublin – Fax +353 1 8121230

    For EU261 Cancellation and Delay Complaints
    EU Passenger Compensation Dept
    Ryanair Head Office
    Dublin Airport
    Co Dublin – Fax +353 1 8121230

    For Refunds – Cancelled Flights
    Ryanair Refunds Dept
    Ryanair Head Office
    Dublin Airport
    Co Dublin – Fax +353 1 8121230

    Baggage Claims – Damage/Mishandled/Lost
    Baggage Claims Department
    Ryanair Head Office
    Dublin Airport
    Co Dublin – Fax +353 1 8121475

    It is important that you enclose the following with your baggage claim:

    1. Property Irregularity Report (provided by the Airport Baggage Staff, when reporting a baggage claim)
    2. Your flight confirmation number (e.g. ABC123)
    3. Copies of any relevant receipts

    Complaints/Claims will only be accepted by mail or fax and preferably written in the English language. Passengers are advised to submit copies only, as original documentation will not be retained or returned.

    We will respond to you, as outlined in our Customer Charter and to the email address provided at the time of reservation.

  15. hi all, thought i would join the disgruntled cuatomers of Ryanair: i had previously booked a flight for two people with Ryanair for £106. I later realised i could not make the dates and worked out it would cost more to change the dates than to book fresh flights. So i booked new flights, keeping the old ones too, a total charge of £55.96. I clicked PROCEED after double checking the amount was definitely £55.96, two seconds later a confirmation came through with my OLD booking reference saying they had taken £236 from my account!!!! I only agreed to pay £55! I rang the £1 per minute helpline (had to ring twice as first time he just kept saying ‘hello, hello, hello’ for ages) only to be told they cannot refund it to me despite the fact it is THEIR websites’ error. I have faxed a complaint but am absolutely DISGUSTED at this daylight robbery. Please let me know if anyone has any success in receiving refunds due to them. Thanks.

  16. same problem. make booking. not confirmed. contact via website and told to ring premium rate number. operator hangs up whilst checking confirmation. tried 3 times before giving up and faxing copmlaints department at dublin airport. still no satisfaction. This is how ryan air make there money out of premium rate phone lines. still not sure whether I am travelling or not. They are terrrible to say the least. William (44)07710732452

  17. Hi, i booked with Ryanair a week ago fligh: spain – liverpool i did not received the itinarary whatsoever. after reading yours experience and all troubles with them am feeling very concerned. how long takes to get the itinarary from them bearing in mind that my booking was made a week ago.

  18. @william Did you manage to travel?

    @Paul Berger normally get the confirmation email within minutes, did you make a note of the ref number? If you log-in you can view status of the booking using email address, not sure if you’ll need booking no too. The internet helpdesk should be able to resend, see number for that above 🙂

  19. I would like to add to the total disgust showed towards this company.
    I have flown with ryanair for the past 10 years and to be honest never had a problem. 1 point to Ryanair
    unfortunately they have gone and spoilt the whole cheap flights thing for me.Yes it is handy/cheap but pity the person who makes a genuine mistake while booking.
    I recently booked a flight to East Midland Airport from Shannon for my Wife as a suprise to visit friends for her birthday. When I was booking my page autofilled my name as it had done on numerous occasions before when I had flown but there is the problem after changing my name to that of my wife i reverted back to the previous page to check the flight times. My mistake (Number 1), you see what then happens when you return is my name filled again into the passenger slot.Having it in my head that I had done everything correctly I confirmed the flight as I had done numerous times before.
    On getting a Email I spotted the error and although annoyed with myself for making such a mistake pressumed a clerical error on my part would not be a big issue.My mistake(number 2)
    Firstly tried to contact reservations no joy tried every number available to Ryanair loyal customers no joy finally so p****d off managed to get through to Ryanair head office,where a guy who i might add was quite pleasnt to talk to transfered me to customer service where my call was answered by Mr Iggnorant. On explaining my dilema all ig ot back was it will cost you 80 euro to change the name.
    At this point common

  20. I would like to add to the total disgust showed towards this company.
    I have flown with ryanair for the past 10 years and to be honest never had a problem. 1 point to Ryanair
    unfortunately they have gone and spoilt the whole cheap flights thing for me.Yes it is handy/cheap but pity the person who makes a genuine mistake while booking.
    I recently booked a flight to East Midland Airport from Shannon for my Wife as a suprise to visit friends for her birthday. When I was booking my page autofilled my name as it had done on numerous occasions before when I had flown but there is the problem after changing my name to that of my wife i reverted back to the previous page to check the flight times. My mistake (Number 1), you see what then happens when you return is my name filled again into the passenger slot.Having it in my head that I had done everything correctly I confirmed the flight as I had done numerous times before.
    On getting a Email I spotted the error and although annoyed with myself for making such a mistake pressumed a clerical error on my part would not be a big issue.My mistake(number 2)
    Firstly tried to contact reservations no joy tried every number available to Ryanair loyal customers no joy finally so p****d off managed to get through to Ryanair head office,where a guy who i might add was quite pleasnt to talk to transfered me to customer service where my call was answered by Mr Iggnorant. On explaining my dilema all i got back was it will cost you 80 euro to change the name.
    At this point common sense should have prevailed instead of the euro signs and call centre figures popping up in front of there eyes.A genuine error had been made which I admit too and they now want me to pay 80 euro when the flight cost me 30 euro some call it great business. I call it a disgrace and appauling customer service.
    I am not rich I work for a living have two kids and a mortgage so when we do get the opportunity to travel its well deserved. Im not looking for sympathy, but customer service values are non existent in this company and they will give you the “you confirmed it” line justifying there 80 euro fee.
    If I had the option and money from now on I would never travel with Ryanair again. This is such a small matter which has me totally p****d with the airline for the people mantra
    The number i got through to was 01 8121220 if nothing else this will give some people the satisfaction of actually talking to another human being not a computer and ask to be transfered to customer services.

    Yes this is a Rant and yes I admit to making a mistake but anyone with an once of common sense will understand this.

    by the way the previous blog was another clerical error on my behalf appologies fat fingers!!!

  21. October 29th : I try to book a flight (for 2 people) but i get a message of error at the end after keying all pax data (including credit card details)telling me to try again.Being late that night decided to try next day.Very busy day after so I left it for the 31st. October 31st: That night after work I decided to try again (have plenty of time since I don’t need to fly till the 20th December).Same result … error try again or contact airline. November 1st: I try again and alas ! no problem whatsoever. Book and on checking my e-mail find THREE booking confirmation numbers sent the 29th,31th and1st. Each flight Girona-Dublin-Girona at 393 Euros !! Obviously tryed to contact Customers Services on the number provided on their site. No luck it’s one of those expensive numbers . I only got a taped voice welcoming me to Ryanair Customers Services immediately after hearing this message the call was dissengaged. I tried several times with the same result. After searching on the net found the Head Office number in Dublin. Was kept on a holding machine for 25 minutes and the call was cut. Tried straight away again and got through. I was told to FAX the details and that in space of 7 to ten days I would have my refund. That is what I intend to do tomorrow hoping to have any luck.(for what I’ve read on these previous posts I don’t think I’ll get anywhere nevertheless I’ll give it a go.) I’ll let you know the results.

  22. Just in case anyone wants to know the numbers I phoned : Head Office Dublin: 0035318121212 (I phoned from Spain) Customers Services Dublin FAX : 0035318121676

  23. Good evening,

    alicante – brussels

    Sorry to mail to this address but the European court mention that any e-seller must have at least a direct contact possibility
    or by phone or at least by email address.

    Flying with Ryanair for many years (at least 10 flights) me and my family were very surprised of our misadventure today.

    My wife booked a flight with our baby 8 months as usual on your site and paid with visa.
    Before booking we called to Ryanair Alicante where we mentioned that my wife was pregnant for 30 weeks and we had read
    that we needed a paper from a doctor who would allow her to fly (this was confirmed by your staff that this paper would been asked if more than
    28 weeks pregnant)

    Since my wife has no problems with her pregnancy (she flew 4 months ago with Ryanair also) we went to the doctor and he gave her a paper
    for the flight.

    I’m working as a DJ so i stayed up the whole night to bring her to the airport and we arrived at 5 am,
    i went with my wife to the booking desk and there were 2 lines one with a woman and one with a man.

    The man at the desk was very helpful, we told him about my wife’s pregnancy he looked to the doctor’s note and the book of her pregnancy,
    told everything was alright and he gave the ticket for the babycar and the luggage went down to the plane

    I had to drive back to my home (1 hr drive +- 80 km), kissed my wife goodbye and left her knowing she was in good hands

    At 6h05 i came exhausted at home, i cut my phone and went to sleep
    around 8h15 am i was waked up with the bell and to my big surprise my wife was with the baby at our doorstep telling me that the lady
    at the latest moment refused to get her on the plane.

    She told me that everything went ok, the man from the desk told the woman he had checked the doctor’s notice and that everything was ok,
    she asked for the doctor’s notice at my wife, without looking to it she put it with other paperwork,
    my wife told her she would needed that back to her next flight back from Belgium one week later.
    A bit stressed she took it out and read it in a few second to acclaim the paper wasn’t ok enough for her and that she couldn’t fly?????

    My wife had to wait until 7h30 for the desk going open and there she could only hear that she can’t fly pregnant at 30-31 weeks
    with Ryanair even with a doctors paper (on the doctors paper was written that my wife had a perfect pregnancy, her last examination
    dated 2 weeks before and the doctor signed the paper on 30.10 that her health and pregnancy were perfect.
    In Spain with the regular health care a pregnant woman is examined only once a month and only if there’s a problem or heavy pain they examine again, the fact that the last examination was 2 weeks before and that the doctor signed the paper on 30.10 was the reason she pointed out to refuse the paper (THE DOCTOR HAD NO REASON TO DO ANOTHER EXAMINATION 2 WEEKS LATER BECAUSE THERE WERE NO PROBLEMS as mentioned on the paper)

    My wife couldn’t contact me and exhausted from nerves and to less sleep she had to call a taxi (80€) to drive back home.

    We have as proof both tickets of the luggage X 000000 and XH 0000000

    After reading lots of misadventures of other customers,

    – reading my rights as a customer
    REGULATION (EC) No 261/2004 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL
    of 11 February 2004
    establishing common rules on compensation and assistance to passengers in the event of denied
    boarding and of cancellation or long delay of flights, and repealing Regulation (EEC) No 295/91

    – possible reactions to enquiries@oft.gsi.gov.uk. (if necessary)

    – and going to court in ireland
    http://www.courts.ie/Courts.ie/Library3.nsf/pagecurrent/C9A6DFDC008962218025721B00553F3B?opendocument&l=en

    I can believe that a company where i and many friends, family are using for so many years wouldn’t refund our cost, especially when they are
    in error, all documents were ok, doctor note was ok, my wife is only 30-31 weeks pregnant and you’re regulation allows flight until 36 weeks,
    so i hope this was just a human mistake and that we still can fly ryanair in the future (with the new baby)
    Refund
    Flight costs 257.67€
    Taxi costs 80€
    We could cancel the hotel reservation, they understood the reason so lucky we had a refund of our deposit already.

    so email immediatly
    no answer
    fax next day (received by ryanair) 5 days later still no answer

    is there possibility that visa can block the paiment because there was no delivery of service?

    thx

    Gino and Christine

  24. Well, we made the mistake of booking a flight with them. After being ripped off royally for extra baggage charges (200 Euros), some of our stuff got robbed from that checked in baggage (a car GPS and a men’s perfume – go figure). Not that this is necessarily Ryanair’s fault, but it seems likely to me that airport staff gangs target horrible airlines like this, because they know that passengers have no way to report any loss or theft.

    So the learning for me: never never never fly Ryanair!

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