Ryanair staff failed to identify a man who was getting on the wrong flight, leaving him stranded 1,000 miles away from home. Pawel Lawreniuk was flying back to Gdansk, Poland earlier from Leeds Bradford Airport earlier this month. However, the 75-year-old ended up erroneously getting on a plane headed for Malta. Staff did not notice he was on the wrong flight when he boarded the 6.50am flight and he even managed to take his seat, reported The Telegraph and Argus.
Lawreniuk had no idea of the mistake he had made until he arrived and realised he couldn’t get a taxi home from Malta International Airport.
A staff member was overheard telling him: “I am sorry sir but I don’t speak Polish.”
According to the elderly passenger’s 34-year-old daughter, Lucyna Lawreniuk, Ryanair staff had checked his boarding pass when he got onto the plane – but had given no indication of his error.
Fortunately, Lawreniuk managed to fly from Malta to Gdansk later that day thanks to staff at Aviaserve.
Upset Lucyna said her father arrived home nearly 14 hours after he set off from the UK.
Swissport – the handling agency for Ryanair at LBA – told The Telegraph and Argus: “We are aware that a passenger was able to board an incorrect flight at Leeds Bradford Airport on Sunday 6 January.
“The passenger had undergone all airport security screening before boarding the flight and had a valid passport which had been checked.
“We are investigating how this occurred and we are re-briefing all staff on procedure. We would like to apologise to Mr Lawreniuk for the inconvenience caused.”
Express.co.uk has contacted Ryanair for comment on the incident but had not replied at the time of writing.
Passengers often think that staff check boarding passes at the plane entrance to show them to their seats.
However, it is supposed to be so they can make sure travellers are on the right flight. “One thing customers can sometimes forget to do is show cabin crew their boarding passes when they board the aircraft,” flight attendant Katherine Belot has worked with Jetstar for nearly nine years told The Morning Bulletin.
Surprisingly people think we are just telling passengers their seat numbers but in fact, the crew need to check to make sure passengers are travelling on the correct flight and on the correct date.”
Interestingly US airlines do not require cabin crew to re-check boarding passes – which has resulted in some unfortunate mishaps over the years with some passengers flying to the wrong destination.
This is often a problem is a destination shares a name with somewhere else. A flight attendant revealed this had once happened on one of her flights.
While doing the service on a flight from JFK New York to Portland, Oregon a customer asked me ‘We’re almost there, right?’” the cabin crew member wrote on knowledge-sharing platform Quora.
“I told her that we had about three and a half more hours to go. She responded: ‘But it never takes more than an hour.’ As it turned out, this woman thought she was on a flight from New York to Portland, Maine. She told me that when the gate agent scanned her ticket, it didn’t beep, and the agent told her to board anyway.”