Madrid is a beautiful city, but perhaps not so beautiful when you think you are flying from Marseille to London on Ryanair and wind up in the Spanish capital instead.
Couple Board Wrong Ryanair Flight, Find Themselves In Spain Instead Of England
Elise Mallia, 33, and Jessy Jezequel, 41 were heading home on Ryanair after a weekend in France to their home in England. They boarded their flight, settled in, closed their eyes, and the flight took off. About an hour into the flight, Jezequel thought he heard a flight attendant mention they were headed to Madrid, but dismissed it…how could they be going to Madrid when they were on a flight to London?
But as the couple sat up, they realized the flight attendants were speaking Spanish. Flagging down one, they asked where the flight was heading to…and were told Madrid. Mallia told the UK Mirror:
“We were baffled and so were the flight attendants.
“We got home in the end, but we still have no idea how it happened.
“It’s not like getting the wrong bus – we literally ended up in a different country!”
The couple questions how they were allowed on the plane, why they were not noticed onboard, and why their boarding passes were scanned several times and yet the discrepancy was not noticed.
Ryanair spared no punches for the couple, laying the blame directly on them:
“Mr Jezequel and Ms Mallia boarded their flight from Marseille to London Stansted through the correct gate. However, these passengers then failed to follow the allocated route to the aircraft departing for London Stansted, crossed an unauthorised area and wrongly boarded a flight departing to Madrid.
“Both passengers were able to occupy the same seats they had booked for their original flight, as this flight was not fully booked, thus not alerting them to their error at this time. An announcement advising passengers of their final destination and estimated time of arrival is made before every flight departure – which should have alerted Mr Jezequel and Ms Mallia that they were on the wrong aircraft.
“Upon arriving at Madrid Airport, these passengers then realised their error and Ryanair staff were notified of these misrouted passengers. Mr Jezequel and Ms Mallia were accommodated on a flight from Madrid to London Stansted later that day.
“It is each passenger’s responsibility to ensure they board the correct aircraft.”
If you’ve never flown Ryanair, keep in mind the budget carrier saves on costs by avoiding jetbridges and generally loading from airstairs. Often, multiple flights are boarding at once, with aircraft next to each other. While ropes and signs separate flights, it is easy enough to hop over a rope, whether deliberately or inadvertently.
While I don’t lay the blame totally on the couple, it seems to me the couple probably should have wondered why boarding announcements were made in Spanish prior to departure and asked questions then.
A couple boarded an incorrect Ryanair flight in France and ended up in Spain instead of England. I’m frankly surprised Ryanair did not charge them an arm and a leg to transport them back to London. Flight attendants do not always announce the final destination, so if you find yourself in a similar situation (and we see this in the USA too on regional flights, which often board simultaneously in clusters), you might want to ask a flight attendant where the flight is headed.
image: Elise Mallia
Neat story but more importantly are you still thinking the mask mandate ends on Monday? How about the testing requirements to enter our own country? You seemed confident but now Philly reintroduced a mask mandate. I see it being extended again, I hope I’m wrong.
it’s a story on ryanair, can we just have a post without needing to turn it into a mask-related post?
It’s the biggest story in United States travel right now with mixed messages coming out. It should be it’s own story, I agree.
Obviously no one gives an F about these clowns or Ryanair based on 1 comment on it.
Masks gets hits and hits are money. Just trying to do my part to help a simple travel blogger.
Some trolls just can’t help themselves…
The insider scoop is the mask mandate is not being renewed and will become optional once it expires April 18. Also COVID testing for entry into the U.S. will end for fully vaccinated travelers.
Mistakes happen. I’m glad RyanAir was ok about it and didn’t penalize them. They could have made an innocent mistake and certainly didn’t want to get stranded.
I read of a similar situation where an impatient gate agent asked a woman if she was ready to board or not and she handed him her pass and he let her on board and it turned out to not be her gate. It was a huge deal since they had to get her back on the next flight to return to the origin and onto another flight the next day.
My guess? They thought they’d be “smart” by cutting the line and jumping the ropes. Why wait in line when you can go straight to your “aircraft”. Too bad they chose the wrong one.
I can see how this could happen if the passengers to different cities were not separated correctly by the ground crew. The airplanes themselves are relatively indistinguishable. If no signs were placed correctly indicating the destinations, incorrect boarding could occur. The flight attendants usually just check the seat number and announce it but they also keep a tally of the number of passengers boarded. I wonder how a few too many on one airplane and a few too few on another airplane was allowed? I’ve seen a flight delayed slightly when the numbers were off. Has Ryanair thrown out that tried and true system? People often ignore the announcements so I can see how that double check was missed.
This is an odd.. when leaving France for the UK, you will need to stamp yourself out of Schengen. How on earth was a flight leaving Schengen zone be boarding next to a flight heading to a Schengen zone? If the couple remained quiet, they would have been registered as out of Schengen by the authorities but still lurk within it, unnoticed and unseen!
I am truly baffled by how the French authorities allowed two zones to overlap creating a security breach!
This is Ryanair’s fault. There is a requirement for the crew to check the boarding pass at time of entrance to the aircraft to verify the flight number. That was obviously not carried out appropriately. There would also have been a discrepancy in the head count on both flights, which was also overlooked somehow.
Passengers can be very clueless but that is why there are systems in place to idiot-proof processes like boarding. The systems failed on Ryanair’s end.
Ryanair sued to check boarding cards on entry to the aircraft (as well as at the departure gate) but have stopped doing so in the last few months. In my own experi3nce, hardly any airlines carry out a 2nd boarding card check at the aircraft door.
Southwest FAs are known, on April 1, to jokingly announce things like “Welcome to Southwest flight 332 with nonstop service to Sacramento”, when the flight actually goes to Denver, as an April Fool’s joke. This **DOES** raise eyebrows and gets everyone’s attention.
I’m sure the Ryanair FAs made the announcement and if the misrouted pax were vaguely paying attention, they should have caught it and realized they were about to fly off in the wrong direction.
I can actually envision something like this happening domestically at IAH, where they board several of those Toy Planes at about the same time, bound to different destinations, in the “downstairs” area using stairs and not jetways.
Anybody think they did this for the publicity? To see if they could have their 15 minutes of social media fame?
Ha, about 15 years ago I had a short, easily resolved dispute with a guy when flying on a very small connecting plane in Utah. He was sitting in my seat, adamantly insisting it was his. Lucky for him that I had booked that seat, or he would have headed to the wrong corner of the state.
I can see how this happened. We and other passengers were turned loose under covered walkways at an airport in SE Asia where we wandered around outside until we stumbled across our correct plane.
I’ve not done it myself, but I’ve seen people deplane after getting on the wrong flight out of the recently closed DCA gate 35X. That was such a mashup, I often would ask the attendant as I boarded “This plan is going to X, right?”
Is no one checking passengers’ boarding passes when they get on the plane? It’s SOP stateside…
If you’re out wandering around several planes and trucks and moveable stairs, ropes are strung here and there, maybe a paper sign is flapping in the wind … do you just get on one of the planes, or do you ASK THE FA the destination before walking into the plane? Relying on the airline to guide your every move is ridiculous. At the very least, pax should pay attention to the announcements during boarding and shortly thereafter. This is the real world, boys and girls, we need to stop coddling the clueless.
My daughter is a very experienced traveler, and she had a multi-leg jaunt and somehow, while waiting in the lounge, picked up another person’s boarding pass. She went to the correct gate for her flight for Paris to Lisbon, and gave the gate attendant her boarding pass, cleared, and was seated seat. It was only when she was disembarking at Lisbon that she looked once again at the boarding pass she had handed the gate attendant and saw a man’s name with the destination of Budapest.
Security alert: So Ryanair did not know who was on the Madrid flight, had not counted the passengers and had equally not counted passengers on the London flight. Three clear mistakes! Yes, the passengers were careless, and should have paid more attention, but they are the customers not the “professionals” employed to check the accuracy of the loading/boarding records.
Something similar happened to me in Athens. As I paid my Hilton bill, I chatted to the Swiss stewardess and said “see you later” – but she pointed out that she was en route to the Gulf and I was going to Zurich, Sadly in the airport, there were Swiss flights 787 and 778 (or similar) at the same time – one going each direction. The illuminated indicators were not working and I followed the paper signs, “Swiss”.
On board, I took off my jacket and handed it to the stewardess (first class) and she said, “Oh Hello – so you are going to the Gulf?”
Long and short – a Swiss car took me over the tarmac to the correct plane and the captain then said, “Now that the last passenger has boarded, we will take off for Zurich.” Embarrassing!