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error session locked

November 9, 2010

ryanair%20screen%20grab.jpgAm I alone in thinking that Trading Standards has been asleep at the wheel as far as Ryanair is concerned? First off there is Michael So Dreary’s claim that Ryanair is ‘Britain’s favourite airline.’

Not with anyone I know. Can he, I wonder, produce a single (sane) person, other than close family members and people who are on the Ryanair payroll, to support this claim?

But more worrying and insidious than the misleading ads, the on-line check in and inflated credit cards fees, and the lack of a contact email address (which breaches e-commerce regulations) is the ‘error - session locked’ message. A quick search of the internet reveals that many people have fallen victim to this recurring 'fault' with the airline's website, whereby you are 'locked out' of the site mid-transaction, in some cases after your credit card has been deducted.

If for example, a credit card is refused while trying amend a booking, it does not tell you or allow you to try again with another card but simply locks you out of the site, so that you can't check in online for your flight - even if you try from a different computer.

Having recently experienced this myself (and not for the first time) I was subsequently mugged for another €40 to check in at Poitiers airport.

After taking advice from Consumer Direct, I wrote to Ryanair to demand the money back. Nearly a month later I received an entirely irrelevant automated email, telling me that (doh!) I should have checked in online.

I've been advised to give the airline one last opportunity to return the money and if not the case will be taken up by Trading Standards.

So, for the benefit of anyone else who has been left out of pocket by ‘error session locked’, and in order to make a stand against Ryanair's customer service thuggery, I’m publishing below the letter that I sent, quoting the relevant clause of the Supply of Goods and Services Act.

It should (in theory) get you a refund. And if not .... well, bring on Trading Standards!

In the meantime, you might also find this website useful: www.ryanaircampaign.org
So far, unlike other websites that dare to publish complaints about 'Britain's favourite airline', it hasn't yet been closed down.

Ryanair UK Ltd
London Stansted Airport
Essex CM24 1RWl
company no 01917579

Dear Sir/Madam,

Flight booking ref: XXXX

I was recently made to pay €40 to have a boarding pass issued at Poitiers airport, as the Ryanair website had blocked my efforts to check-in on line, with a message saying ‘error - your session has been locked.’

Having paid to check-in online, your website made it impossible to do so, which means Ryanair failed to supply the services as specified.

This breaches the Supply of Goods & Services Act 1982, which states that services should be supplied with reasonable care and skill.

If I do not hear from you within two weeks of receipt of this (tracked) letter confirming a full refund has been issued, I will pursue this matter with Trading Standards.

Yours sincerely etc etc

comments (6)

1. Posted by Vanessa@Luxuria on November 9, 2010 9:10 PM

I travelled once with Ryanair. After being charged over 300 Euros for excess weight (despite my husband and my combined suitcase weight being within the limits) I vowed I would rather walk on hot coals or broken glass then to travel with them again! On that same journey our flight was delayed by 3 hours and I was charged 5 Euros for a cocktail size can of coke (by the time I got on the plane I was gasping!) The absolute pits!

2. Posted by markyj on November 9, 2010 10:37 PM

Blimey - they're still at it? This has been going on for ages and they've already been warned to fix this particular problem.

I suggest you do what I do - avoid Ryanair completely - cue song: 'There's no such feckin' thing as a feckin' flight for 50p...'

Someone should shut them down - we've all had enough.

3. Posted by Zoe on November 10, 2010 10:57 AM

Hi Karen,
I am am totally with you on this. They are an utter disgrace. My husband and I travel to Italy every summer to see family but this coming summer we have decided to boycott Ryan Air and drive the 9 hours even with a tempestuous two year old in the back!

4. Posted by Frances Judd on November 15, 2010 9:11 AM

A few years ago tried to change a flight with Ryanair but their website would not let me. Had to make a new booking so tried to reclaim original flight cost. Received standard email from so called "Customer Services". When I went back again and asked for my refund they just ignored my request. The result was I never travelled with them again - now drive to France via Eurotunnel and arrive in France in a good mood rather than travel with Ryanair and arrive in a bad mood.

5. Posted by Sara k on December 17, 2010 11:35 AM

I have yet to fly with them but I will be doing so in the new year. To avoid the "error session locked out" you can simply delete the last hour's browsing history and go to "manage my booking" then the confirmation number will be in the next screen.
I'll see if the service is actually any good and likely post again. dunno if I'll be any help though because I'm a fairly low maintenance traveler.

6. Posted by karan on January 29, 2012 7:30 PM

It worked!!!! Thank you Sara K for info on deleting browser history. I was panicking it was going to cost me a further £40 each way because I was locked out of the website and couldn't book in online.

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