3 Mar, 2009 @ 16:20
2 mins read

Profit Air

spectrum fm

Spectrum FMWinning a prize draw for Ryanair tickets left a couple 360 euros out of pocket

WHEN Nigel Davis won two free tickets on Ryanair to Scotland he was strangely ecstatic.

Not a frequent flyer with the airline he clearly hadn’t bargained for the regular surcharges and hidden costs that sully its reputation.

But that is certainly what he and his wife Lizzie, 50, got after claiming the Glasgow flights via a prize draw with Costa del Sol radio station Spectrum.

For ‘free’ ended up being, well, 355 euros to be exact.

The first shock came when they discovered they would have to pay a 140 euro surcharge for airport taxes.

On top of that they had to pay a 20 euro charge for booking by credit card online.

And then they had to pay 60 euros each way to take on board their luggage. But that wasn’t even the end of it. Because they didn’t actually land at Glasgow airport, but at Prestwick, some 40 miles away, and had an extra 40 euro bill for a train fare to the city.

“It is an absolute disgrace,” Davis, 57, told the Olive Press. “My wife and I are very unhappy about this and of course Ryanair say they can’t do anything.

“They blamed it on us for not reading the small print.”

Davies, who lives with his wife near Ronda, had entered the prize draw in January on Spectrum Radio.

As part of the prize he also won a free weekend at the Hilton hotel in Glasgow.

“We were ecstatic and immediately contacted relatives in Scotland we hadn’t seen for years to inform them that we were coming over,” explained Mr Davis, retired, from London.

But when they came to book their flight on the internet they discovered they still had to pay the airport taxes and a one-off 20 euro fee for a credit card booking.


While already high, they decided it was still worth going ahead with the trip as they would be staying in a nice hotel and would be seeing quite a few friends.

“But when we got to the airport we were shocked to discover that we also had to pay for the luggage.

“My wife was sobbing her eyes out and it meant another massive hit on our savings.

“It is just incredible that we ended up being conned in this way,” he added.

When he did finally complain to the airline, he was told that the prize was always subject to various terms and agreements.

In an embarrassing email to Davis, littered with spelling mistakes and grammatical errors, the company insisted it was Spectrum’s fault.

Carla Perez wrote: “Ryanair did not carry out the promotion so the Radio (station) is responsible to tell you the terms and conditions.”

Spectrum insisted they did tell them the terms.

But Davis denied this. “We were never told about the terms and conditions. I accept that we should have read them but no one told us.”


  1. Just to point out that the return fare from Glasgow Prestwick Airport to Glasgow City is at peak just over £10 or 12 euros and Ryanair passengers get this at Half price. Truth is that regular Ryanair passengers know the small print and to be honest it is not that small.

  2. Yet more Olivepress’ favourite sport: Ryanair-bashing…

    How many of the 360 odd Euros are due to Mr Davis not reading the conditions of carriage? My guess is that every one of them is.

    There is nothing “hidden” about the costs Mr Davis had to pay. Afterall, he clicked on the “continue” button did he not?

  3. Good point, Geoff. I can´t quite understand why Justin is so defensive about Ryanair – perhaps Justin is a pseudonym for Michael (O´Leary – Ryanair´s objectionable chief exec)!
    As for the Olive Press ´bashing´ Ryanair, if they didn´t deserve it, the paper wouldn´t do it. Believe me, Ryanair deserve a much worse press than they actually get, what with their ever-increasing attempts to extort money from passengers! Next they´ll be charging passengers to go to the loo … oh, they are doing. Well! Enough said.

  4. Geoff and Paul. I did read the story, and have just done so again and it changes nothing. I’m not a Ryanair shareholder and nor do I have a drop of Irish blood running through my veins. This is not a story about Ryanair messing up, but rather about the hole in Mr Davis’ pocket caused by no-one other than himself.

    Of course the tickets were FREE, but that does not get around paying the taxes, which you would be obliged to pay if you won FREE tickets on any other airline.

    As for the other “hidden” costs: They were not hidden! Mr Davis himself chose to incur them every time he agreed to them and clicked “continue” on the Ryanair website.

    I also don’t see what the cost of the train from PIK to Glasgow (and frankly 40 quid is pretty steep, so I doubt it’s true) has to do with Ryanair? Glasgow has more than one airport and surely Mr Davis knew which one he was going to before taking up his prize?

  5. Justin, in my book free means free. Of course other airlines offer geneuinely free flights – see Easyjet/Olive Press competition in latest issue of the OP (issue 53 – just published). Easyjet are even offering Mr and Mrs Davis free flights to make up for their disappointment at the hands of Ryanair. That´s what I call proper PR!

    I agree the transfer from Prestwick to Glasgow has nothing to do with Ryanair, but taxes, charges, booking fee, luggage, etc, DOES. They should have waived them, like easyJet are doing. Ryanair are cheapskates – simple as that…

  6. Pablo. There is no such thing as a free lunch and perhaps Ryanair should have waived all the charges, but the fact is they didn’t and if Mr Davis had read the not so small print he would have know exactly what he was letting himself in for.

    Call me a cynic if you like, but this latest competition and offer from Easyjet is nothing more than a wonderful publicity opportunity. You could argue that makes them just as cheapskate as Ryanair…

  7. Why are they patronising Mr Davis? They´re simply giving him what Ryanair should have done and getting deserved good publicity for doing so. That´s supersmart not cheapskate. Check your dictionary!

  8. I do share the sentiments of Mr Roberts that Ryanair does seem to get an unjustifiably hard time from some quarters – I mean in general and not specifically The Olive Press, whose track record on covering Ryanair stories I cannot vouch for. They provide a service that millions of people seem content with using.

    Nevertheless, in this case, I have to agree with Pablo, Mr Whitelock and a certain Mr Freeman. A free flight is a free flight. And if I was offered one under the circumstances described in the article, I would not expect to pay anything more, or indeed anything at all, whether I had read the small print or not.

    Apologies if I am behind the curve in this debate, but just thought I would throw in my tuppence.

  9. Pablo. They are patronising Mr Davis because at best Easyjet are showing Mr Davis up as naïve.

    Easyjet’s motivation for doing this is publicity – not because it’s correct or honourable but because it’s good for their profits. Apparently profit is a bad thing if earned by Ryanair. If Easyjet are so generous, why was the prize not offered by them in the first place? I don’t want to insult Mr Davis, but at the end of the day no-one forced him to take up his prize.

    As for what Ryanair should or should not have done, that’s not relevant, but if you are going to start pointing in out what should or should not have happened then perhaps Spectrum FM should have made clear exactly what the prize was, ie fare but no tax, hold-luggage and transfers to and from the airport.

  10. Justin, I agree that Spectrum FM are not blameless in this and deserve to be pilloried as much as Ryanair.
    Still can´t agree with you about easyJet though, and in case you haven´t noticed they are running a competition for free flights – see the latest OP. Why not enter?

  11. Re Ryannair:

    Thanks to their staff breaking a suitcase of mine and then have Ryannair tell me they weren’t responsible just proves how much this airline needs potential fliers to use other airlines. Vote with our feet! I will never ever use Ryannair again. I’d rather walk.

  12. Regardless of this issue over free tickets – why does everyone keep having a go at Ryanair over their pricing?
    At the end of the day, their bottom line figure is almost always cheaper than their competitiors. You get what you pay for. If you want a better quality of service, meals on board etc, then go with a larger non budget airline. Ryanair do exaclty what it says on the tin – budget airline.

  13. i always use ryanair. you know what their charges are and if you dont like dont use. i can bring my family out for hols which i couldnt do with anyone else cos i couldnt afford to.

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