‘I took on Ryanair and won’
Travel agent blockades O’Leary HQ with car until her flights are sorted
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