Written on: 07/03/2012
I recently used Ryanair for a weekend break to Norway with my partner. I am British and he is Australian. We did an online check-in and the website did not notify us that he needed to check-in at the airport. We were both issued boarding passes to print and the website gave us the impression that we had managed to check-in online. We later found out that his boarding pass had a visa check notice on it in fine print and not very well highlighted unlike their advert which is in bright yellow. We passed through security at Stansted airport (with his supposedly invalid boarding pass) and got to the gate. I went ahead to board but my partner was stopped and told that he had to go back through security and get his printed boarding pass stamped at the check-in desk. He wasn't allowed to shout after me to let me know what was going on and the woman working at the gate didn't let me know either. I noticed he wasn't right behind me and waited -- another passenger told me what had happened. I went back to the gate to ask the woman if there was anything that could be done to help us because my partner wasn't likely to get out and back through security in time. She was completely unhelpful. I waited at the gate on the off chance that he might make it back and she turned to me and said "Well, are you going to board the plane or not?" I said I wasn't going anywhere without my partner to which she responded "I'm not privy to your personal travel arrangements". I was very surprised at how rude and unhelpful she was. To salvage our weekend, we were forced to pay £110 pounds each to get on the next flight to a different airport, rearrange our car rental and in the end actually pay an extra £450 pounds for what was supposed to be a cheap break. Security staff at Stansted told us that Ryanair used to stamp boarding passes for people at the gate but this was a recent policy change. They were surprised that Ryanair had forced us to miss our original flight like this. The check-in clerk who stamped his boarding pass wasn't a customs official nor was she in any way authorised to make a decision about a visas. We knew that my partner did not need a visa for entry to Norway (we had checked). There really was no good reason to refuse to let him board apart from scamming more money out of us. We will never use Ryanair again and we will tell all our friends not to use them either.