OneTravel should have provided Ryan James with the right login for Ryanair’s website. Instead, James is forced to call the company multiple times to print his boarding pass and prepay luggage fees — while in a foreign country. James asks our advocates for help. Will we be able to send James on his way? Or will he have to pay Ryanair’s extra fees to check in?
I booked an international trip using the online travel site OneTravel (a subsidiary of Fareportal). The first leg, from Quito, Ecuador, to Madrid, was on LATAM Airlines. The second leg, from Madrid to Budapest, Hungary, was on Ryanair.
When OneTravel emailed me my itinerary, it had only a partial confirmation of the flight reservations. OneTravel had not confirmed my flight from Madrid to Budapest. The email instructed me to call OneTravel eight hours later if I did not receive confirmation of that leg. I called back the next day.
A OneTravel customer support agent told me that the agency would have to follow up with Ryanair, and to call back in a few hours. During my follow-up call, I learned that Ryanair had confirmed the flight. Ryanair also provided a confirmation number for me to use to log into its website.
Since LATAM and Ryanair have different rules regarding luggage, I needed to prepay additional fees to check my bags on Ryanair. I tried to log into Ryanair’s website using my email address with the confirmation number Ryanair gave me, but it didn’t work.
I called Ryanair to ask for help, but its agent referred me back to OneTravel. Again, a OneTravel customer support agent told me to call back the next day. The agent promised that OneTravel would have a record of my case so I wouldn’t have to repeat it the following day. But when I called OneTravel back the next day, the agent to whom I spoke had no idea what I was talking about. I asked him if he had read my file, and he told me that he didn’t understand my problem. I asked to speak to a supervisor.
The supervisor suggested that I contact OneTravel 72 hours before my flight. OneTravel would add my luggage and bill me later. But I don’t trust OneTravel to do this right. He also offered to email me my boarding passes for our Ryanair flight, but I would have to download and print them while in Quito. This is something I don’t want to do in a foreign country shortly before I’m scheduled to depart. Also, Ryanair charges a fee to print boarding passes, which I don’t want to pay.
OneTravel never emailed me my final itinerary showing that Ryanair confirmed the Madrid-to-Budapest flight leg. I only have OneTravel’s word for it that the airline did confirm this flight leg.
I have emailed OneTravel several times about my case, but its agents sent me replies with boilerplate wording that don’t address my issues.
Can you help me get a final itinerary and usable confirmation number from OneTravel? — Ryan James, Budapest, Hungary
I agree with you that you should not be looking for an Internet shop to print your boarding passes three days before flying from a foreign country.
OneTravel should have emailed you a fully confirmed itinerary and working confirmation number. And its agents should have been more helpful, both on the telephone and by email.
OneTravel vs. brick-and-mortar travel agents
Your case has two important lessons for travelers:
- First, it’s better to book all flights on one airline rather than interline (book connecting flights on separate airlines) whenever possible.
- Second, when booking complex international trips, it’s generally advisable to use a brick-and-mortar travel agency rather than an online agency.
If you had used one airline, you wouldn’t have had to add luggage. And a travel agent from a brick-and-mortar agency could have helped you get your flights confirmed and printed out a boarding pass for you. That way, you wouldn’t have had to spend so much time trying to explain your case to OneTravel.
Ryanair — Europe’s “most reviled airline”
You also chose to book part of your trip on Ryanair, which has a reputation as one of the “most reviled airlines in Europe.” That’s because it balances cheap basic unbundled airfares with fees for everything else, like baggage and reprinting boarding passes.
I don’t blame you for not wanting to pay Ryanair’s 25-euro ($31) boarding pass reissue fee. And I can understand wanting to prepay for your checked bags rather than leaving things to OneTravel.
The airline scores a 4.1 out of 10 rating on Airline Ratings as of this writing, based on 158 reviews.
In 2016, I wrote about other Ryanair passengers, Antoinette and Thomas Brinkman, in a similar situation to yours. The Brinkmans had booked flights on Ryanair through an online site, Opodo, only to find themselves in need of our help. Unfortunately, on that occasion, Ryanair insisted that Opodo was at fault, and we couldn’t help them.
As I noted on those occasions, Ryanair doesn’t like to deal with online travel agencies — or with us.
Help from our advocates
Our advocate Dwayne Coward reached out to the company on your behalf. A representative then contacted you to provide you with an email address that would allow you to log into Ryanair’s website. You notified us that you succeeded in logging into the site and printing your itinerary and boarding passes.
What would you do if you were unable to print a boarding pass while in a foreign country?