A Wythenshawe councillor stranded in a Brussels airport, in the wake of terror attacks in the city, has blasted Ryanair after a group of 28 terrified passengers was asked to pay more than €6000 to get home.
Cllr Webb travelled to Brussels this morning, leading a delegation of 28 people to meet North West MEPs. The group had paid a total of £560 for the flights to Charlerois Airport.
But the councillor says when they tried to arrange flights home their airline, Ryanair wanted to charge them more than €6000.
The shocking terror attacks began to unfold just after 7am local time, when reports emerged of two explosions at Brussels Zaventem Airport killing 14 and injuring more than 50 passengers and staff.
Then, just under an hour later, an explosion was heard at Maalbeek metro station with another 20 feared dead.
Cllr Webb told the Wythenshawe Reporter it was outrageous that Ryanair imposed the charge on terrified passengers desperate to get home. The Northenden councillor said he was informed of the charge after approaching an airline official at the airport
He said: “When I arrived they told me because I had already checked in online she couldn’t do anything and the quoted me €6,000+ to buy new single flights today for the 28. When I said that was unacceptable I was told to call a number to have our tickets un-checked in and then they could look at changing our flight home to tonight.
“After three hours of phone calls, Twitter messages and Tony Lloyd GM mayor and various MPs contacting Ryanair I was offered spaces for 12 people to change for free and then told it would be £160pp to change flight.”
In a statement, a Ryanair spokesman said: “This group of 28 passengers were travelling from Brussels Charleroi to Manchester tomorrow (Wednesday) at a fare of £20 each.
They arrived at the ticket desk in Brussels Charleroi this morning requesting to change their flight from Brussels Charleroi to today (Tuesday) and in common with all other passengers were offered this change at our change fee (£60) plus the upgrade to the available fare (£154) on this evening’s flight.
“The reason for the upgrade is that there were only 28 seats remaining on this evening’s flight. This group, declined to accept this change offer as is their right and we look forward to welcoming them on their scheduled flight from Brussels Charleroi tomorrow.
“As of 1.30pm today, there only 12 seats remaining on this evening’s flight from Brussels Charleroi to Manchester as Ryanair has been prioritising free changes and transfers for passengers travelling on flights to and from Brussels Zaventem today and tomorrow.
“We regret any inconvenience caused to this group but our priority today remains re-accommodating our disrupted Brussels Zaventem passengers, and all other passengers are free to avail of our change facility in the normal manner.”