The photo shows my daughter’s Ryanair flight arriving at Carcassonne in France at ten o’clock on Sunday 5th December. She was meant to arrive at Alicante in the afternoon the previous day. The air traffic controllers’ strike seemed to last such a short time it appeared almost as if it was just targeting my daughter’s birthday treat – tickets to fly out and visit her father having been bought for her birthday in October.
I told her to try and get to Marseille, Lyon, or Perpignan… Anywhere! Then I would drive a hire car from Benidorm to France and back to collect her. Ryanair said they could not provide an alternative flight to France free of charge as that was a different country than she was booked to fly to originally. (Well, of course it was, idiots!) They also kept her on the phone for an hour and a half while they tried to sort out an alternative route. They charged £1 a minute for that call, most of which was silence as they disappeared for long periods, and that resulted in a £90 phone call!
In the end, I paid for a new flight: Stansted to Carcassonne. Another £90 to Ryanair. The all night drive, and all day return drive, including motorway tolls, cost £200. End result: a cheap flight purchased in October for Alys to fly from Gatwick to Alicante for £36 eventually cost £326 plus the cost of her transfer from Gatwick to Stansted, plus the £90 for the Ryanair phone call, and we’re on our way to over £400.
Low cost air travel? My arse. Next time, let’s just cut all the hassle and book a fast train. It will cost just as much but at least we’ll know the train will arrive.