Ryanair passengers board flight – only to discover their seats don’t exist

‘They sent a plane too small to take all the passengers,’ says bemused traveller

Helen Coffey
Wednesday 02 November 2022 11:44 GMT
Ryanair customers discover seats they booked didn't exist

A Ryanair passenger recently boarded a flight from London Stansted to Dublin – only to find that the seat he’d booked and paid for didn’t exist.

Gerry Harrington from Haverhill, Suffolk, was due to head to the Irish capital to play in a Subbuteo tournament on 21 October, but he and around eight other travellers were left “stuck at the back of the plane” when they realised there was no row 35.

“When we got on the plane, we were looking for our row which wasn’t there,” Mr Harrington told the MailOnline.

“It happened to a few people and suddenly we were all standing at the back of the plane with no seats and everyone wondering what might happen.

“Everyone was showing their boarding passes and it was clear there had been a mistake somewhere.”

They were offered £250 by the airline to get off the flight, overnight accommodation and told they could be flown the next morning instead; Mr Harrington declined the flight offer as he would have missed the tournament.

He shared a video of his experience on social media, saying in the clip, “Everyone here has paid for seats, paid for seats, paid for seats.

“We’re stuck at the back of the plane as they have overbooked, no they’ve sent a smaller plane.”

It includes video of a man in high vis attempting to resolve the situation and radioing to get the passengers put on standby.

A Ryanair spokesperson said: “Due to an aircraft change, a very small number of passengers on this flight from London Stansted to Dublin (21 Oct) were moved to alternative flights the following day.

“Affected passengers were provided with overnight accommodation and will receive compensation.

“Ryanair sincerely apologises to these passengers for any inconvenience caused.”

Passengers can find their pre-booked seat isn’t there when airlines send a smaller aircraft than originally intended for a flight, meaning whole rows of seats are missing.

It’s not the first time a traveller has been taken by surprise by the phenomenon.

In 2018, Satwika Ika was left perplexed when she boarded a Lion Air flight from Palembang to Jakarta, only to find that her seat, 35F, didn’t exist.

The unexpected situation arose as a result of Lion Air switching the aircraft type it used after people had already bought tickets. The flight was originally due to be operated on a Boeing 737-900ER, which has 39 rows. The airline instead used a Boeing 737-800NG, a smaller plane with just 34 rows.

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