Ryanair ‘sent couple to the wrong country 750 miles away’ – they realized when they were greeted with a cheerful ‘bonjour’

A bemused couple are demanding an apology from Ryanair after they claim they were flown to the wrong country.

In a bizarre situation that mirrors the plot of Home Alone 2, Simon Forster and Emma Schofield – who had planned a trip to Copenhagen – landed in Paris just days before Christmas.

Simon and Emma already knew their journey to Copenhagen would be challenging when they were met with ‘horrendous’ queues at Manchester Airport during pre-Christmas ‘chaos’ which caused many to miss flights.

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After getting past the “shampoo police” they sprinted to their departure gate where they say Ryanair staff checked their passports and boarding passes.

Ushered down some stairs, they made their way to the only waiting plane on the runway and boarded.

Simon claims they tried to show their boarding passes to a member of the cabin crew who he claims said “oh don’t worry about it” and asked them to take their seats.

Simon on the plane after racing to the gate

It was only when they landed and were greeted with a cheerful “bonjour” at passport control that the couple realized they were in the French city of Beauvais – 750 miles from their intended destination.

Ryanair say it is each passenger’s responsibility to ensure they board the correct aircraft and there are several ‘touchpoints’ throughout the passenger journey which inform passengers of the aircraft’s destination – including a welcome PA on board.

But Simon says he heard no such announcement in English.

“The shock of landing somewhere near Paris when you’re supposed to be going to Copenhagen was ridiculous,” he says.

“I would like to understand how on earth this happened.”

Simon is seeking an apology from Ryanair and has asked the company to reimburse his flights, hotels and taxis after being forced to fork out more than £930 during his time in Paris.

The couple’s pre-Christmas adventure started on December 17, last year, when they arrived at Manchester Airport for an evening flight to Copenhagen.

At the time, the Manchester Evening News spoke to passengers who were left in tears after missing flights due to hours-long queues through security checkpoints.

The queues at the airport that night

Some were seen fainting, one customer witnessed ‘mini stampedes’ and tearful travelers were left ‘stranded’ when flights took off without them.

Airport bosses apologized and said security queues had been “longer than we would have hoped” as a “significant increase” in passenger volumes put the operation under “severe pressure”.

Simon, who runs Leeds-based Robot Food, says he waited for more than two hours to pass through security.

“The queue for security was absolutely enormous and we were all crammed in like cattle,” he says.

“It seemed as though we were going to miss our flight,” he says.

“As soon as we got there I said ‘we should have just got a train up to Edinburgh instead’.

Simon and Emma say they queued for more than two hours at Manchester Airport to get through security

“When we got past the shampoo police we got out into the airport and there was a last call for Copenhagen.

“It was already past the departure time so we just legged it to the gate.

“We got there and three Ryanair staff asked if we were there for Copenhagen.”

Emma and Simon showed staff their passports and boarding passes and were ushered down some stairs.

“There was a red plastic link chain directly ahead and to the right, so we turned to the left and to the plane that was there.

“We got on and there were only about six other passengers, which was not surprising because so many people were missing flights,” Simon says.

“I did show the stewardess my boarding pass and she said “oh, don’t worry about it”. I was dripping in sweat.

“Our seat numbers were free so we sat down.

“We landed in less time than we expected and as we walked into the airport I thought I didn’t recognize it and I went to Copenhagen quite a lot.

“We were greeted at passport control with “Bonjour” and it became apparent that we were in France.”

Not what they were expecting to see when they arrived that night

Emma and Simon had landed in Beauvais, a city about an hour outside of Paris.

“We went through security and found a guy who spoke English who told us where we were.

“He was heading into Paris so we asked if we could share a cab.

“It was now after 11pm and France wasn’t letting UK travelers in from midnight so we were advised to book a hotel quickly. I had no 4G so one of my colleagues booked us in to a hotel near the Eiffel Tower for the evening.”

Emma makes the best of things, despite being in the wrong city

Simon contacted Ryanair in the morning and asked to be reimbursed for his flights and hotel in Copenhagen and given tickets home. He was told to fill in an online complaint form – which he did on December 21.

The couple stayed in France for the weekend and booked flights home to the UK with Easyjet.

“We had a lovely weekend and on the way back we kept getting messages from Ryanair about the return Copenhagen flight being delayed.”

Simon Forster

Since returning home, Simon has tried to speak to RyanAir several times to complain and to seek reimbursement of his flights and the costs incurred.

He says he spent €1,108 on the original flights to Copenhagen and a hotel in the Danish city, a taxi from Beauvais, a night in a Paris hotel and return flights from France to the UK.

“After spending hours calling Ryanair and filling in online forms, my complaint is showing as ‘solved’,” he says.

“I was told on Monday that I would be contacted in three days. Today (Friday) I called again and someone hung up on me.”

The couple will try and make it to Denmark in the near future

Simon says his colleagues have joked that the scenario was like the plot of the film Home Alone 2: Lost In New York – in which lead character Kevin McCallister ends up separated from his family on a flight to the Big Apple.

“It really was as a *** show,” Simon summarizes.

“Just the fact we tried to show our boarding passes and were told ‘don’t worry about it’, You wouldn’t think that could happen these days.

“If you put passengers on the wrong plane to the wrong country, you expect an apology.”

Ryanair did not provide a comment, but for background stated: “It is each passenger’s responsibility to ensure they board the correct aircraft.

“There are several touchpoints throughout the passenger journey which inform passengers of the aircraft’s destination, these include:

  • Flight number and destination are clearly printed on the passenger’s boarding card
  • Flight number and destination are displayed at the gate
  • Flight number and destination are called out in the standard boarding PA
  • Flight number and destination are mentioned in the welcome PA on board.”


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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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