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A couple have been left fuming and out of pocket after Ryanair mistakenly flew them to the wrong country and allegedly refused to apologise.
Humaira and Farooq Shaikh were due to fly to Seville in Spain on October 4 for their holidays, but instead ended up on the Greek island of Zante – 1,200 miles away – the Daily Mirror reports.
They turned up at Stansted Airport, checked in, went through pre-flight checks at the boarding gate and again once they were on the plane – including their boarding passes being checked.
The couple got off the plane still believing they were in Spain, left the airport and got into a taxi before finally realising what had happened.
Humaira explained: "Our phones were saying 'Welcome to Greece' and then our taxi driver said 'this isn't Spain’.”
The shocked couple went back into the airport to speak to Ryanair staff, but said they laughed at them and were little help.
Humaira said Ryanair staff would only pay for one night in a hotel and a return trip to the UK – despite the next flight back to London not being for another four days.
"The manager was just laughing," Humaira said. "They would only pay for one night's accommodation, so we had to pay for another three."
The couple were left to foot the bill for the rest of their stay in Greece but faced an uphill struggle due to the shock of the situation and not having great internet skills.
The trip was a gift to the couple from their son, Suleman, who had just qualified as a doctor and was working back in England.
Fortunately, Suleman was able to arrange and pay for a hotel until the couple were able to fly back to the UK.
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But he says he has been left out of pocket by the incident by over £1,00, as he lost the payments for the Spanish hotel and pre-booked activities such as walking and bus tours.
He said: "I am completely outraged and shocked that this has been allowed to happen."
The fact the couple were allowed to board and leave the wrong flight is a huge security risk, Suleman added – but it also took an emotional toll on them.
He said: "Not only is this a complete lack of safety, security and responsibility, but it has triggered severe strain and anxiety on my parents.
"My mum already suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety, and receiving her calls to me crying on the phone from Greece, whilst at work, was extremely distressing to hear."
Ryanair has not apologised or offered compensation, but instead blamed the couple for the whole incident.
An email from the airline to the couple said: "All of the Ryanair bag drop desks in the departure area are clearly identified. The screens above them display the flight number and destination.
"Each customer's boarding card clearly states their flight number and destination. Customers are also advised to check the airport information screens for the boarding gate number.
"It is the responsibility of every passenger to ensure that they follow the correct procedures and take note of the information available to them."
The Daily Star has approached Ryanair for comment.
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