‘I took on Ryanair and won’

Travel agent block­ades O’Leary HQ with car un­til her flights are sorted

Irish Daily Mail - - Front Page - By Alison O’Reilly

A TRAVEL agent who had booked 28 cus­tomers onto a can­celled Ryanair flight, ‘block­aded’ Michael O’Leary’s HQ with her car in or­der to get the tick­et­ing mess sorted out.

When she didn’t get a re­sponse from the air­line, a de­ter­mined Mau­reen Del­mar says she took mat­ters into her own hands – and won.

A TRAVEL agent who had booked 28 cus­tomers onto a Ryanair flight which was can­celled, has de­scrib­ing driv­ing to the air­line’s HQ to de­mand they ‘sort it out’.

Mau­reen Del­mar, who is the man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of MD travel in Don­abate, north Dublin, was fu­ri­ous when Ryanair can­celled her 28-strong group’s re­turn flights from Paris.

The party planned to visit World War II sites in France and were booked to fly out on Thurs­day, Septem­ber 21, re­turn­ing the fol­low­ing Mon­day. How­ever, their re­turn flight was can­celled on Septem­ber 18.

Ms Del­mar told the Ir­ish Daily Mail: ‘I tried to contact Ryanair by tele­phone and by email and could get no one. I couldn’t let my cus­tomers down.

‘This group had booked their flights months in ad­vance and were so happy that they were go­ing. I could not let them down.

‘I left my of­fices in Don­abate at 10.50am and drove to the HQ at Air­side Re­tail Park, as it’s only a short dis­tance from us.’

There, she was met by se­cu­rity staff who would not al­low her into the build­ing. Ms Del­mar then drove down a carpark en­trance and stopped be­fore the bar­rier, telling se­cu­rity she was ‘not mov­ing un­til the sit­u­a­tion was re­solved’.

The se­cu­rity guard told Ms Del­mar he would get some­one to talk to her.

‘I told him I was not go­ing un­til it was sorted out. At 11.31am, a girl called Char­lene in their group [group sales] rang me when I was sit­ting in the carpark. I told her she had to sort out this is­sue and I wasn’t leav­ing un­til it was fixed.’

Ms Del­mar said she was told there were flights back from Paris Beau­vais the fol­low­ing day, Septem­ber 26. She told the staff mem­ber she knew that there were. ‘She called me back to apol­o­gise for the in­for­ma­tion she had given me. There were three other calls as we tried to sort it all out.’

Ms Del­mar stayed in the carpark en­trance for about 25 min­utes un­til the sit­u­a­tion be­gan to be re­solved, and then moved her car.

‘I waited for 90 min­utes in to­tal, and at 12.37pm I got an­other call. This was to con­firm that she’d put 21 on one flight and the re­main­ing seven the next day.

‘I went back to the of­fice and at 3.20pm, I got the call to say she could now get all 28 on to the flight on Tues­day, Septem­ber 26. They then sent us the new con­fir­ma­tions email so that we could check the pas­sen­gers in again.

‘Char­lene was help­ful at all times and the se­cu­rity guard Chris was very nice. But I was so frus­trated with it all. I had to ac­tu­ally drive to their of­fices to sort this out.

‘The se­cu­rity guy said, “You can’t come in here”, but I said, “No. I am not mov­ing”. I re­fused to leave the carpark and blocked the en­trance. I think that’s why they de­cided to deal with me.’

Ms Del­mar said her cus­tomers had vis­ited her agency to present her with a small plaque in grat­i­tude.

On Thurs­day night Ryanair re­jected Ms Del­mar’s ac­count of what hap­pened. ‘This claim is un­true,’ it said. When asked to ex­plain which part of her story was un­true, Ryanair claimed the en­tire story was un­true and that it had sim­ply never hap­pened.

How­ever, Ms Del­mar pro­vided this news­pa­per with email cor­re­spon­dence be­tween her and Char­lene at Ryanair re­gard­ing the reschedul­ing. ‘I left my of­fices at 10.50am and I would be on their CCTV. I have the names and details of the peo­ple I spoke to.’

When the Mail went back to Ryanair with Ms De­la­mar’s email cor­re­spon­dence, a spokesman said: ‘You have Ryanair’s state­ment on the mat­ter.’

The Mail yes­ter­day sent emails for the at­ten­tion of Ryanair’s Head of Com­mu­ni­ca­tions, Robin Kiely, and to its PR firm Edel­man.

The emails asked them to out­line which parts of Ms Del­mar’s story they be­lieved were false. Af­ter a number of calls and emails through­out the day, Edel­man last night said the email was with Ryanair’s press of­fice and it was up to them to re­spond. Phone calls to the press of­fice through­out the day were not an­swered.


Sat­is­fied: Richard Arm­strong, a mem­ber of the group that trav­elled to France, presents Mau­reen Del­mar with a to­ken of grat­i­tude

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