Ryanair Passenger: I Was Detained For Complaining About Food

Ryanair, the discount airline known for its dirt cheap prices, headline-making PR stunts and occasionally outrageous ideas for what passengers should pay fees for, is defending itself against allegations from a passenger who says he was detained by police at a Norwegian airport because he’d been vocally displeased with his on-board food service.

The 52-year-old Norwegian man was en route from Germany to Norway last week when he got the pleasure of paying for the meal on his Ryanair flight.

Explains the man:

At no time did I even raise my voice with the girl. I was very calm and in control and she was very nice and not angry at all. I first ordered a hot meal which they didn’t have and then I asked for a second hot meal which they didn’t have either. I asked the girl what they actually had and I ordered a “chicken premium sandwich”, which cost €4.50 [$5.82] and was supposed to have been “freshly made”.

My money was in my jacket in the overhead locker so I told her I would pay her when I was able to get up again. The sandwich looked nice and healthy but when I tasted it, it was soft and rubbery and nothing at all like it looked in the photo. I called the girl and said I was not paying for that. I asked if I could change it for a chocolate muffin. She said no.

At this point, the passenger says the cabin crew member informed him she would have to report him to the authorities if he didn’t pay for the sandwich.

He continues:

When she told me the police would be contacted, I thought it was a joke and I fell asleep for a while. She wanted to take the sandwich and menu card back but I kept them to show to the police. Three men in orange police jackets came on board and took me to a room. I was not handcuffed.

The passenger says he was ultimately released by the police and that he doesn’t expect any charges will be filed against him. He claims the airline overreacted to the situation by involving the authorities.

However, a rep for Ryanair sees it differently:

The captain on flight FR8904 requested police assistance on arrival after a passenger became disruptive in flight. This matter was addressed with the passenger by police on arrival. Ryanair crew only request such assistance when deemed absolutely necessary based on their assessment of the disruptive passenger behaviour and their reading of the situation.

This all comes a very short time after United made headlines when they removed a passenger for asking whether or not there would be a meal served on the flight.

What do you think? Did Ryanair do the right thing by contacting the police? Or could this situation have been worked out on the plane without incident?

Ryanair denies overreacting in sandwich incident [Irish Times]