Ryanair Kicks Kid Off Flight For Not Buying Extra Seat For Her Violin

Extreme discount airline Ryanair kicked a 12-year old girl and her dad off a flight because they didn’t buy an extra ticket for her violin.

When they called the airline, Ryanair said they could put it in overhead no problem. But when they arrived at the gate, staff demanded she buy a seat for her instrument. Not only would the new last-minute ticket would have cost more than twice their tickets, when the father finally reluctantly agreed, he was told boarding was closed. The two were forced to fly home via EasyJet, which had no problem with the violin as hand luggage.

Ryanair’s rule is that anything over 55cm x 40cm x 20cm (roughly 21 x 15 7 inches) needs its own seat if it doesn’t go in cargo. And the rules are the rules, even if they don’t know them themselves.

Schoolgirl and father barred from Ryanair flight because they hadn’t bought extra seat for her VIOLIN [Mail Online] (Thanks to Simon!)


Edit Your Comment

  1. gqcarrick says:

    Stay Classy Ryanair.

  2. doobiewondersmoke says:

    Even though they are apparently a very discounted airline, how are these loonies still in business? They get negative press constantly, we hear stories like the one above, yet customers still flock to them. I’d like to blame Ryanair but the fault lies with any consumer willing to fly with these jackasses.

    • craptastico says:

      did you see how cheap these flights were? he said he booked 2 seats from Germany to England for 79 pounds total. i can’t take a Greyhound bus around here for that much. even with the extra it was only 250. i can’t imagine there’s any other airlines that charge less than twice that.

    • wonderkitty now has two dogs says:

      I have flown RyanAir and as long as you’re a good sheep, it’s kind of amazing. And yes, it’s THAT cheap. This was pretty dumb of them to do, but my experience was pretty seamless. They are usually pretty clear about the rules- and yes, they do stick to them.

      Staff gets negative points for not working something else out, and phone people get negative points for being dumb.

    • nonzenze says:

      Because consumers repeatedly and emphatically confirm that they value low fares more than ‘customer service’.

  3. tedyc03 says:

    Is anyone surprised by this? Ryanair hates its customers and probably hates its workers which causes THEM to hate Ryanair’s customers too.

    • fairandbalanced says:

      This rule makes sense. It makes no difference if it was a 12 year old girl or a 35 year old man.
      Ryanair did nothing wrong but enforce their rules. The travelers should have bought the extra ticket.

      She also could have checked the violin if they did not want to buy a seat for it.

      • colorisnteverything says:

        Exactly. It would have been 15 GBP to do so.

        I didn’t think that the workers hated Ryanair at all when I flew with them. In fact, it was one of the most pleasant flights I have been on. Of course, I knew it was no-frills. And it was CHEAP.

        The staff was very friendly and chatted with my then-boyfriend, me, and this Norweigian chick next to us. And we paid an extra 5 GBP to priority board so we got the bulkheads!

  4. craptastico says:

    if it’s too big for carry-on and she won’t stow it due to fear of damage, what other options are there? it might seem douchey, but that’s the niche RyanAir fills in the airline world. they give you dirt cheap base rates, and try to build it up from there. if you want decent service, pay a couple more bucks from the get go and fly a real airline.

    • akacrash says:

      Good job missing the point.
      It wasn’t that they wanted to charge, it was that the airline waited until they were AT THE GATE to tell them this. After having already said it was ok.
      If you can’t see the problem in that, you’re reading the wrong consumer site.

      • DanRydell says:

        They got the wrong answer because they asked the wrong question. Does RyanAir allow you to store a violin in the overhead compartment? Yes. Does RyanAir allow you to store luggage that is longer than 55 cm in the overhead compartment? NO. That information was available to the OP before he got to the gate.

        • Conformist138 says:

          So, really, you cannot say RyanAir allows violins unless you know the size of the violin. The rep who advised the father first should have been trained to ask about measurements or to state, “There is no specific problem with violins, so long as the case meets such-and-such requirements”

          They should have looked at RyanAir’s carry-on policy, but speaking to a rep should have provided the same exact info.

    • Aesteval says:

      Speaking from the standpoint of someone that played violin in elementary school and who is also familiar with several stringed instruments, there is absolutely no reason why a violin should need its own seat. A violin is perfectly sized for lap storage or on the floor between the carrier’s legs. Now if it were a cello or a bass, then I would understand the need for an extra seat.

      • DanRydell says:

        I don’t know what rules they have in Europe, but here in the US you can’t hold luggage on your lap or between your legs, it has to go in an overhead bin or under the seat in front of you.

  5. jason in boston says:

    If it was this girl in this picture – both her and her violin could have sat on my lap. That is all.

  6. Hungry Dog says:

    I for one am glad that Ryanair understands how delicate and precious the musical instrument is and requires the utmost care during air travel…the family notsomuch.

  7. lymer says:

    I once flew on a flight were the guy in front of me had too much stuff so he decided it was okay to put his laptop under his seat (in my leg room area). I asked him to move it and he got agitated. So I did the most mature thing I could think of. I spent the entire flight with my feet carelessly resting on (and hitting) his laptop.

    • BStu78 says:

      Um, that IS an area people are supposed to store things like a laptop bag. Its prominently announced on every flight I’ve been on not to mention included several times in the materials I saw while booking and getting my boarding pass. If you have a problem with that, take it up with the airline. Don’t act like a 3-year old child who didn’t get a nap.

      • pop top says:

        No, you’re not supposed to store things under your own seat, you’re supposed to store things in the seat in front of yours. The guy was in the wrong.

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        Most seats have bars attached to the front of them so you can only slide you stuff under the seat in front of you and the bars prevent the bags from sliding forward and hitting the passenger’s legs. So he was totally in the wrong because his laptop was slim enough to slide under the bars.

      • wonderkitty now has two dogs says:

        Airplane storage: Seat in FRONT of you. The seat behind you gets the storage under your seat. I’d draw a picture for you if I could, but I think you understand NOW what happened.

    • RadarOReally has got the Post-Vacation Blues says:

      I hope you left a huge footprint on it! I know, that makes me petty, but I still hope it.

  8. BrianneG says:

    I’d rather have a violin in the overhead compartment than a guitar.

    I’m sick of seeing so many people bring enormous carryons that never get bumped. Plus, why must you take the space above row 7 if you are in row 25?

    • aloria says:

      Because their baggage is SO much more important than yours, obviously.

    • pantheonoutcast says:

      If, when I’m boarding, there is baggage in the compartment above the seat I paid for, and there isn’t any room left for my carry-on, I ask my seatmate if it belongs to them. If it does not, I take it down and put it on the floor or on an empty seat nearby. The storage above my seat is mine for the duration of the flight.

    • sheriadoc says:

      When you’re slowly approaching your seat and every compartment 5 rows in front and in back of it are stuffed full, well, you start looking for the first empty spot.

  9. dreamfish says:

    I don’t know why people here think the way Ryanair treat its customers is ever going to result in a great revolt and drop on usage. Ryanair know full well their business model works: it doesn’t matter how you treat people – so long as you offer them ridiculously low fares, they’ll still come.

    It’s a fundamental truth and still holds up.

  10. Scoobatz says:

    A better headline would have been, “Ryanair enforces rules clearly posted on their website. Customer upset for not being granted exception.”

    Did anyone notice that Ryanair has an entire FAQ on their website dedicated to traveling with musical instruments? I’m not even sure why the family had to call the airline on this one.

    • Anathema777 says:

      Or the headline could be, “Ryanair Staff Unfamiliar With their Own Easily Accessible Rules”

  11. ringrose says:

    When I was in college, I flew cross-country to get home for Christmas and summer. At the time I played violin and viola. There was an incident where I was forced to check my violin for a flight; I was upset to the point of tears. At that point, the airlines in question had a 50% success rate with my luggage – half the time it took a few extra days to arrive. Literally.
    They relented and let me pick it up when I changed planes. It came out on the baggage carousel. Someone had slapped a “fragile” sticker on it… and it still came out upside-down. Fortunately, although the contents had moved around, the violin was unharmed.

    My advice:
    Go to someone who deals with musical instruments. Get them to show you how they pack them for shipping. Pack it the way they show you and ship it FedEx or UPS maximally insured. Sure, maximum insurance won’t actually cover a good musical instrument… the point is to tell the shipper that you care about the contents.
    I stopped having problems traveling with my instruments once I started doing that.

    • Veeber says:

      I picked up a double case for my violin and viola. It was designed for air travel and was always able to get it into the overhead compartments. I’ve never had a problem with it yet. It’s been a few years since I’ve had to travel with them but we were touring through Asia and no one ever had a problem. Then again, maybe all the cello’s and double basses that traveled with us were a bigger issue and they didn’t feel like arguing with the rest of us.

      • Dalsnsetters says:

        Ummm, I always had a *lot* of fun with my 1710 Heckel Biebrich Bassoon. Getting that thing through security scanners always–fricking always–involved going to the room for a search until I got someone who would actually *listen* to me. On one of those scanning machines, I swear to God it looks just like a disassembled bazooka.

    • 44Wadeable says:

      There are so many horror stories involving airlines and musical instruments. A friend was recently telling me about the time the airline lost her cello for a couple hours. After a particularly bad experience with my set of trumpets lost for a duration of time when I was traveling for an audition, I’m usually ready to start a scene every time people ask me to gate-check my instruments. Usually, even though the people at the gate are strict (they hand me the tag to gate check the case and say I must absolutely gate check it, I take it, smile and proceed to dispose of the ticket once I’m out of their sight-line), the crew (flight attendants) are understanding and just let me stow the case in an overhead compartment.

    • yevarechecha says:

      I have an expensive violin with a separate insurance policy that’s voided if the instrument gets put in an airplane’s cargo hold, so if the airline told me it had to be gate-checked there would be a really big problem and I don’t know what I’d do.

      Fortunately, it’s never happened. The one time I thought it might, the flight attendants put the violin in their storage closet in the galley for the duration.

  12. DanGarion says:

    So let me get this straight. The violin case was larger than acceptable carry on size? Did the parent tell the person they called that it was oversized? If they didn’t then I think it’s the parent’s fault. If they did and Ryanair said it would be fine, then it’s Ryanair’s fault. Regardless how do they get to their destination, since the post only says how they got back home…

  13. sheriadoc says:

    We’re going to Europe in October and it looks like we’ll be avoiding RyanAir. First we considered them for our London to Stockholm leg, but then we realized how amazingly small your carry-on has to be. Like, seriously, miniscule. So, we opted for a slightly more expensive Norwegian Air Shuttle flight that would accomodate our carry-ons.

    • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

      yeah, that’s a very small allowance. the smallest carry on size i ever had to deal with was maximum allowed dimensions of 17x9x2 inches for a 7 seater plane where they put the carryon luggage in the wings to balance the plane during flight. ryanair allows larger than that, but not by much

  14. Hermia says:

    I flew Ryanair once from London to Dublin. It really is like a flying Walmart. Like, your worst nightmare of a Walmart, but in the skies.

  15. dolemite says:

    Thats about 2 foot by 1 foot. I think my wife’s pocketbook is bigger.

  16. Harry_Greek says:

    Look at McDonalds. It’s not really food and people eat it by the shovelful – because it’s cheap. Lower the price on something enough and people will use it regardless of the quality or how bad it is for you.

  17. James says:

    I’m flying from Madrid to Marrakech later this fall. Ryanair’s fare was $20 (US Dollars, (and now $34.) 34 bucks. For fun I reserved it and calculated my carry on fees and it came to about $55.

    Easyjet is $70 something with the bag fee. Given Ryanair’s horribly reputation I’m obviously flying Easyjet – which is a discounter as well, but has a far better reputation than Ryanair.

    I decided I’m actually going to buy the Ryanair ticket for $24 as a backup, which leaves after my Easyjet flight to RAK and back to MAD. If my Easyjet flight is majorly delayed or canceled I can simply jump on my Ryanair flight (and pay the carry on fee when checking in.)

    How’s that for travel insurance? When both flights are so cheap it makes sense to buy on TWO airlines, with the expectation one will have a high chance of problems.

  18. Bruce W says:

    Good reason NOT to fly the “Friendly” skys of RyanAir

  19. Purplerhinoboy says:

    Why do people continue to fly this airline?

    • Hotscot says:

      If you’re only transporting yourself with a small bag it can be incredibly cheap..and honestly, sometimes the camaraderie of the passengers is quite high….shared misery etc…

      Think of it like a crowded subway at rush hour…

  20. Kebyar says:

    Lucky RyanAir is in the UK….when this happens in the US (and believe me, I’ve had to do this a couple of times…I’m looking at you, America West….), you can just flash them this wonderful letter from the American Federation of Musicians and the TSA that guarantees that musical instruments will be allowed as carry-on baggage (with limits, of course…cellists invariably need to buy a seat for their instrument, etc.).
    If you need a copy of said letter, just Google “AFM TSA Letter”….there are many places to find it online.

  21. Hotscot says:

    Sigh…I wish everyone had assigned overhead space…

    What REALLY bugs me is that I travel light. I check one bag and take on another small bag with a small notebook and a book. I normally take out the book and place the bag in the overhead…then comes the announcement…”Could those of you with items that fit under the seat please do so. In order for passengers with larger items to use the overhead storage bins.”

    This is on United on some domestic flights and it pisses me off greatly!

    (And could someone clarify..If you check luggage at the gate is there no charge?)

  22. Bodger says:

    OK. So I thought I had flown every bad airline in the world. Guess I had better start making a new list so that I can catch up with the new guys.

  23. evnmorlo says:

    Must have confused it with a cello.

  24. human_shield says:

    Crazy. Would they have provided the violin with free soda and pretzels?

  25. Ben_Q2 says:

    This is why a number of us have a % in a plane. The cost is about what it would cost for 1st class seat a year. I can be anywhere in the USA between 30 mins to 3 Hours (if that). Yes I can fly it, we all can. An yes if there is a repair it can cost (The right landing gear need replacement so we replaced the other 2, cost $17,000/12).

  26. CarlWilliams says:

    anyone who cries about bad things happening to them on Ryanair needs to shut the hell up. you got exactly what you paid for you cheapskate.

  27. webweazel says:

    I was on a flight recently, and there must have been a band flying, because quite a few guitar cases came along. It was a very full flight. They stuffed them in the overheads just fine. They did, however, take up quite a bit of space in the bin, preventing anything but the smaller pieces of other people’s luggage, like squishable backpacks, from squeezing in. Everybody worked together and sorted it out, and everything fit just fine. Don’t they have something called a gate-check? WTF?
    Ryanair treating customers like something they scraped off their shoe, rather than being problem-solving and helpful? That seems to be the running theme for them. Seriously, I may be the cheapest person around, but I’ll pay the extra to never have to deal with Ryanair ever in my entire life. If they were the only choice at my local airport, I would hitchhike to another airport.

  28. tidalfae says:

    I wish other airlines would enforce their carry-on baggage policies. I hate when people are allowed to take up all the overhead bin space with their extra-large ‘carry-on’ bag.

  29. banmojo says:

    We are but mere pawns in this out of control game. I’m fiscally conservative, but here is one clear instance when feds could step in and do some really positive good for Americans – lets as a society agree on some basic rules/regulations that keep these greedy basturds from abusing us.

  30. nottodaymam says:

    I can see your points, but why complain when your flying cheap. Its more for Business day trips.Store your extra luggage in Lockers at the airport…station. I hate when people complain about the something being crowded when your go during the rush hour/when people are going/leaving work.

    I would like the whole story. Options they probably had (1)leave the violin,(2)checked luggage.. there are probably more. How much did they pay for their ticket in the first place?10euro?20euro? or how much. They should have paid the $100 extra or what ever the cost, it probably would end up less or similar to that of flying EasyJet, since they probably didn’t get a refund for their RyainAir tickets.

  31. saturnleia says:

    I find it extremely difficult to believe that her violin case did not fit within those measurements. The linked article doesn’t give the dimensions of her case – but violins are very small instruments, and the cases are smaller than typical rolling carry-on bags.