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Passenger’s Disappointment Over Seat Turns Into Disagreement Over Bar Tab

Passenger’s Disappointment Over Seat Turns Into Disagreement Over Bar Tab
Jackie Reddy

Bob Hamilton was unable to use the seat he’d paid for on a recent Ryanair flight. Choosing another place, he consumed alcoholic beverages and suggested that the tab be written off in place of the seat he’d been unable to enjoy. Ryanair refused and Hamilton was met by police upon landing in Malaga.

Spanish police were called to deal with a Ryanair customer described by the carrier as “disruptive” when disappointment over a seat with extra legroom turned into a disagreement over an unpaid bar tab, the Daily Mail reports. The incident, which involved passenger Bob Hamilton, took place on a recent flight from London Stansted Airport (STN) to Malaga.

Hamilton had paid a £20 ($26) fee for an extra-legroom seat, but boarded to find that his seat had been taken by a crew member. Hamilton queried why the staff member could not sit in an alternative seat, but was informed that the man needed that particular spot for safety reasons.

The outlet reports that Hamilton then seated himself in another row, where he consumed two beers and two miniature bottles of wine. Hamilton’s tab totaled £17 ($22).

Rather than paying, Hamilton suggested that the tab be written off in lieu of the seat that he’d been unable to enjoy. However, he was told that he would need to pay for his drinks and apply to claim the seat fee from Ryanair.

The outlet reports that, upon arrival, he was escorted from the plane by police. Hamilton said, “The police officers were very pleasant and were laughing about it. In the end, one of the crew came out to the air bridge with a card machine and I was forced to pay up.”

Commenting, a spokesperson for Ryanair said, “This customer (in seat 17F) was asked to move to seat 16A (an over wing exit seat of equivalent value) as there was a minor technical issue with the over wing seat which was occupied by an additional cabin crew staff member in line with procedures.”

“This customer refused … He subsequently became disruptive during the flight…This customer was refunded the cost of his reserved seat,” the spokesperson added.

It is reported that Hamilton had two subsequent compensation claims rejected by the carrier.

He refuted Ryanair’s take on the incident, saying, “I was never offered 16A … I was only given the seat at the back. I was not disruptive whatsoever during the flight.”

[Photo: Shutterstock]

View Comments (3)


  1. drvannostren

    September 25, 2018 at 9:42 pm

    Rare, but I’m siding with the passenger here.

    I’m not sure what the issue was, but it feels like a cop out, it FEELS like a deadhead or something took the seat.

    Why wasn’t this refund issued to him on the spot? I think we can all confidently say that it’ll take MONTHS for this refund to be processed, if ever, just for him to get his 20Euro back. I’m sure enough of these kinda things happen in the entire year that Ryanair purposely drags ass on to keep the money.

    I’d venture to guess the flight attendants can’t “refund” his the seat fee, though if they can take payments, they should be able to offer refunds. I imagine they’d have to be able to offer refunds for mistakes…so why not just take his deal, issue a receipt for -20 Euro or what have you and then charge him for the drinks? I’m thinking probably because then they’re afraid he’ll claim the refund again later and they’ll lose the 20 Euro instead.

    This whole thing, as minor as it may be, just screams sleazy ULCC practice.

  2. rylan

    September 26, 2018 at 10:27 am

    If you see Ryanair involved, then you can be pretty safe in siding with the passenger whenever an issue like this comes up.

  3. Irelandflyer

    September 27, 2018 at 11:16 am

    Another writer who does not understand the difference between to refute and to reject. To refute someone’s argument is to disprove it. To reject their argument is to disagree with it.

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