Ryanair trolls British Airways for landing in Scotland instead of Germany by mistake

by Kim Boateng Posted on March 26th, 2019

A Ryanair attempt to make fun of British Airways on Twitter after a flight mistakenly went to Edinburgh instead of Düsseldorf has backfired.

Ryanair’s official Twitter account said it had a “present” for BA – a copy of Geography for Dummies.

But Twitter users made a number of suggestions of books Ryanair could read, including “Customer Service for Dummies”.

In January Ryanair was again named the UK’s least-liked short-haul airline.

On Monday, a British Airways flight that was supposed to go to Germany ended up in Scotland after the wrong flight plan was used.

Ryanair trolled BA in a tweet that afternoon with the suggested reading material. BA replied to the tweet saying: “No-one is perfect”.

But Twitter users quickly came back with book suggestions lampooning the low-cost airline, including “Employment Law for Dummies”.

In 2018 Ryanair was forced to cancel hundreds of flights after strike action by pilots and staff who were complaining about conditions.

The strikes caused disruption for tens of thousands of passengers.

In December 2018 the Civil Aviation Authority began legal action against Ryanair after it refused to pay compensation to passengers over the cancelled and delayed flights.

Diverted flights

Another commentator, Richard Spaven, referenced a story that first appeared in the Independent on 6 January about a Ryanair flight bound for Thessaloniki in Greece.

The flight was diverted more than 500 miles away to Timisoara in northwest Romania. Passengers were then offered transport on an “old bus” to complete the journey, which many refused, the Independent reported.

Eventually the Greek government sent an aircraft to fly the remaining passengers in.

Many Twitter users poked fun at Ryanair over its practice of flying to airports that are some way from the supposed destination, for example, flying to Beauvais, which is more than 50 miles north of Paris, instead of a closer airport to the French capital.

Twitter user Wayne Kavanagh asked Ryanair how much it was charging BA for the book “because you not giving it away for free”, a reference to Ryanair’s habit of charging customers extra, for example, to print boarding passes.

In January Ryanair was named the UK’s least-liked short-haul airline for the sixth year running after a survey by consumer group Which?.

Passengers were not impressed by industrial action, boarding processes, seat comfort, food and drink, and cabin environment, the consumer group said.

At the time, Ryanair said passenger numbers had grown 80% in the previous six years, and that reflected what people want “much more than an unrepresentative survey of just 8,000 people.”

British Airways declined to comment for this story.

Ryanair would not comment.

EARLIER: British Airways flight lands in Scotland instead of Germany by mistake

A British Airways flight destined for Düsseldorf in Germany has landed in Edinburgh by mistake, after the flight paperwork was submitted incorrectly.

The passengers only realized the error when the plane landed and the “welcome to Edinburgh” announcement was made.

The plane, which started at London’s City Airport, was then redirected and landed in Düsseldorf. WDL Aviation ran the BA flight through a leasing deal.

BA said it was working with WDL to find out why it filed the wrong flight plan.

“We have apologised to customers for this interruption to their journey and will be contacting them all individually,” BA said in a statement.

On its final flight on Sunday, the plane flew to Edinburgh and back so it seems that someone at WDL mistakenly repeated the same flight plan for the next day, according to BA.

When the crew arrived at London City airport on Monday it is thought that they saw Edinburgh on the flight plan from the day before and followed the old flight route.

German firm WDL said it was “working closely with the authorities to investigate how the obviously unfortunate mix-up of flight schedules could occur”.

“At no time has the safety of passengers been compromised. We flew the passengers on the flight with number BA3271 to Düsseldorf after the involuntary stopover in Edinburgh,” it said.

BA declined to say how many passengers were affected by the mistake.

‘The toilets were blocked’

Sophie Cooke, a 24-year-old management consultant, travels from London to Düsseldorf each week for work.

She said when the pilot first made the announcement that the plane was about to land in Edinburgh everyone assumed it was a joke. She asked the cabin crew if they were serious.

The pilot then asked passengers to raise their hands if they wanted to go to Düsseldorf.

Everyone raised their hands.

“The pilot said he had no idea how it had happened. He said it had never happened before and that the crew was trying to work out what we could do.”

Sophie said the plane sat on the tarmac at Edinburgh for two-and-a-half hours, before flying onto Düsseldorf.

“It became very frustrating. The toilets were blocked and they ran out of snacks. It was also really stuffy,” she said.

It is hugely unusual for passengers to board a flight and then arrive at the wrong destination – and it presents lots of uncomfortable questions about procedure and standards.

The flight was operated by a German aviation business on behalf of BA. Do they follow the same operational protocols that BA passengers would expect?

Why wasn’t a passenger announcement made before take-off saying “the weather in Edinburgh is fine and the flight will last one hour”. If it had, they could have saved a lot of complication.

For the passengers involved, will they get compensation for the delay? And ultimately – what does this do for trust in BA that such a mistake can be made?

Passengers complained about the error on Twitter, with one person called Son Tran saying it felt “like an honest mistake”.

BA responded saying it did not “currently have any information” as to why the flight had gone to the wrong place.

The airline said its customer service team in Düsseldorf had met all the passengers on arrival and would follow up with them “in due course”.

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Kim Boateng

Kim Boateng

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