Any air traveler hopes for smooth sailing when they set off on their journey, but flight delays, obnoxious passengers, and turbulence can cause a few bumps on their path. One passenger found himself in a situation that he found to be ridiculous when checking in for his flight. When he questioned a fee he believed was unnecessary, he found himself booted from the flight altogether.
Rudy Kendall was to board a Ryanair plane for a Brussels-Berlin flight, but was prevented from boarding after he got upset with the boarding-gate attendant. He discovered he had to pay €50 at the check-in desk to print his boarding pass since he didn’t do it himself. Ryanair’s “print or pay” boarding pass policy has been in place since 2011.
Kendall filmed the interaction on his cell phone, which shows him becoming upset about the cost for printing the pass. At one point, he asks to speak with a supervisor, yelling: “I’m paying your salary, what kind of customer service is this? I’m a customer, lady. I’m asking your supervisor’s name so I can speak with your supervisor because I’m unhappy with the way you’re performing your job.”
He adds: “You tell me I have to pay €50 for a flight I’m already checked in on.”
The attendant smiles while picking up the phone, as Kendall yells: “Is there something funny here? What’s the joke? Is it your attitude? You have a bad attitude. You have no business working here and dealing with customers.”
He continues yelling at her for over three minutes, when another passenger steps in and asks Kendall to “stop harassing” the attendant. Kendall’s response is to call the man fat and bald, noting: “You’re nothing man, you’re nothing.”
At this point, the attendant puts her head in her hands and begins to cry, with other passengers attempting to help, and Kendall telling them to mind their own business.
Kendall later said that he believed he was a victim of “mob tendencies by Europeans against dark-skinned foreigners,” but another witness didn’t believe that racism was part of the incident.
A Ryanair spokesman explained: “Our handling agent at Brussels Airport, Aviapartner, is looking into this matter. We will not tolerate unruly or disruptive behavior at any time. Terms of travel are agreed to at the time of booking and all customers are sent three reminder emails and an SMS text message advising them of the need to check-in. Over 99.5% of customers check-in online and travel without issue.”
The statement further notes: “Customers who check-in online but fail to produce their boarding pass are subject to a €15 boarding card reissue fee. Customers who fail to check-in online are subject to a €50 airport check-in fee.”
Additionally, a spokesman for Aviapartner explained: “A passenger who had failed to check-in on-line (as required) became disruptive during the boarding of this flight from Brussels to Berlin and refused to pay the Airport Check-in Fee due, distracting the gate agent from her duties and disturbing other passengers.”
The statement added: “The flight departed on-time and the passenger in question did not travel. We at Aviapartner take the safety and wellbeing of our staff seriously and do not tolerate this type of behaviour and we are taking all the legal steps necessary to protect our valuable employees in regards to this matter.”