Christmas with Ryan Air

Dec 23 8.15am. Arrival at Brussels airport. Well, that’s not strictly true as that is a shiny international venue half an hour from the centre of the Belgian capital, while Ryan Air fly out of the curiously named Brussels-Charleroi which is more like a bus station than an airport. Still, you get what you pay for.

11.30 am: We got about an inch and a half of snow and so we had to turn back on the runway. The silly young man with a santa hat on told a few of us that the flight was “not cancelled yet, but I stress the yet”.

About three hours of waiting later and without a word from anyone the screen declares that our flight will depart at 23.00 hours – 12 hours later than scheduled. But it has stopped snowing, the runway has been cleared and flights are landing.

Our plane is still sat on the runway about 10 yards from the waiting room where we have been sitting patiently. Staff unload our luggage and our plane fills up with passengers – and takes off for Dubin. Three flights leave for London, all scheduled for after our flight to Liverpool. Still no word from anyone at Ryan Air. I ring their Dublin information desk – “sorry, we have no information on that flight”.

200 people, a higher than usual number with kids and babies are still waiting. A woman asks a member of the airport staff where her baby can sleep. He can’t speak English but understands the question and points to the tiled floor. More flights for ‘Rome’, ‘Milan’ and ‘Barcelona’ leave. We pay again at the snack bar for sandwiches and water as there is no food or drink offered.

A couple of Liverpudlians have started a petition, others say they are going to write letters. But there is still no-one, from Ryan Air after over 11 hours of unexplained waiting, who is willing to explain our situation to us.

Finally at 11.30 pm – Twelve and a half hours after we were due to leave, after at least six flights scheduled to leave after ours had all departed we finally took off. We arrive at Liverpool to be greeted by damaged luggage.

Still, you get what you pay for.