Man furious after forking out £300 extra to fly home from holiday when Ryanair cancelled his flight

A Ryanair plane
-Credit: (Image: Peter Byrne/PA)

An angry Ryanair passenger said he has been left £300 out of pocket after his flight home was cancelled. Bob Harris and his wife had been enjoying a trip to Lake Garda in Italy when they were notified of the cancellation.

The couple from Treorchy received the news the evening before they were due to fly from Verona airport to Birmingham at 10am on May 28. He explained how the budget airline gave passengers an option of either a refund - for the price of the return flight - or to board a Ryanair flight home three days later.

Unable to wait until Friday's flight, 59-year-old Bob said the couple had no choice but to accept the refund and book their own flight home later that day. The only option they could find was a pair of Lufthansa via Munich tickets for £630. Bob said this has left him more than £300 out of pocket.

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He said: "We were left with no alternative option but to book an alternative flight. We flew with Lufthansa from Verona to Munich and Munich to Birmingham later that day for an extra cost of £630. They’ve agreed via email to reimburse us the cost of the [original] return flight [for £249]. They haven’t included the baggage allowance, the extra cost of cabin baggage. It’s just the basic cost of the return flight. It means we are £300 plus out of pocket. No doubt we will be contesting it in every way shape and form." For the latest Welsh news delivered to your inbox sign up to our newsletter

He said although he could afford to pay the money upfront, he is annoyed in principle and empathises with those in a different financial position. He said: "We are lucky that we are in a position where we can pay that up front, some people are not in that position, or they are not computer literate.

"When you turned up at the airport there was nobody from Ryanair to speak to. They would have been stuck at the airport not knowing what to do or where to go." He said the couple were also lucky to have been able to stay with friends, which bided them more time while they worked out what to do.

"There were six other Ryanair flights cancelled that day and the other customers were very annoyed by it," he said. "We met two elderly ladies who had been in Venice enjoying their trip when the message came up. She had to ring home to get her husband to sort it out for her. We were more lucky because we were staying with friends and could go back to our room to work out what we were doing, to sort this mess out."

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Although the issue didn't completely ruin their holiday, Bob said it was disappointing to have ended their trip with such a negative experience. He said flight cancellations happen far too often and that airlines should take responsibility to avoid inconveniencing their passengers or leaving them out of pocket.

He said: "We had a wonderful time and it didn’t spoil our holiday because we wouldn’t let it do that. But it’s the principle of it and seeing how upset and annoyed other passengers reacted. The attitude of Ryanair was that they will give you 'x' amount back and then you have to fight for the rest of it - a lot of people haven’t got the ability to do that.

"They agree to reimburse the money, which they say will be in your account within five days, but if you replicate that by how many hundreds of people are affected, think of how much money is in Ryanair's account for an extra few days. It’s so wrong. The bottom line is you can’t fly people into a foreign country and then leave them without a flight home. In the future I would rather walk home than fly home with Ryanair, I will not give them a penny of my money ever again."

A Ryanair spokesman said: "This flight from Verona to Birmingham (May 28) was regrettably cancelled due a third-party handling strike in Italy. Affected passengers were notified via email and PUSH notification on May 27 and advised of their options of either a full refund or free move to an alternative flight. This passenger opted for a full refund (£249), which they received on May 31.”