The couple arrived in a rush at the airport an hour before the flight after a nightmare journey stuck in traffic. They were assured they had plenty of time and were taken to a check-in attendant.
But it all started going wrong from there.
"We approached the attendant as instructed and explained. Unfortunately, in the main part, due to him being a child, and forgetting to bring his mother to work, he heard only half of the words before his brain fell apart like a wet cake.
"He led us to the line for closing gates, advised we should wait and all would be ok. We stood patiently in the line for 20 minutes. We got to the front of the line and the lady, who we shall from this point refer to a Vacant, explained that she had literally just that second closed the flight and we had missed it.
"We complained that we had done as instructed and she said it was the child's fault because he should have advised her that we were trying to board a closing flight and that because he hadn't told her it was therefore our fault we had missed the plane.
"Confused by this process of blame apportioning, another check in clerk, who we shall refer to as Not That Bright, tried to blame us for not responding to the last call for the flight as we should have made ourselves known. I argued that the last call had not been made. Not That Bright then questioned Vacant on whether she had done a final call.
"Vacant did what she does best and looked, well,...... After establishing that the child had not informed Vacant we were here, and Vacant had forgotten to do a last call and that all of this was irreversible, and my fault, Not That Bright and Vacant conferred to agree this was not a problem they wished to deal with and told us to get in a very, very long line of very, very unhappy people at the quite wrongly titled 'Customer Services Counter' as it was in fact a Customer Shouting Desk. We complained and requested the attention of a manager."
A manager, (referred to as "Middle Gimp"), then came to see them and proceeded to answer everything with "Check in opens three hours before the flight".
Mr Lockley then made jokes about this repeated phrase on Facebook, writing: "Do you acknowledge we have just cause for complaint as we tried to do the right thing and the only reason we are not on the plane is because of communication failures with Ryan Air Staff?'
'"Check in opens three hours before the flight."
"What colour are my trousers?"
"Check in opens three hours before the flight."
"Do you think economic sanctions on Russia will diffuse the escalating situation in Ukraine?"
'"Check in opens three hours before the flight."
"Were Man Utd right to fire David Moyes?"
"Check in opens three hours before the flight."
He continued with his hilarious Facebook rant, and said that in the end they had to pay £384 to book a hotel and fly out the next day.
Mr Lockley added that Ryanair "cost us money and made us miss our own wedding reception through a display of incompetence I have not seen since Greece was allowed to have money and a cheque book."
Reviews on AirlineQuality.com included this scathing comment: ‘Incredibly uncomfortable seats, poor food, rude staff who just wanted to get the meal service out of the way so they could stand at the rear of the plane and chat amongst themselves.’ Hopefully, the merger with British Airways will mean there's a hope for a rise in standards.
These less-than-glowing reviews on AirlineQuality.com say it all: ‘…nothing could be as bad as EgyptAir. Dirty aircraft with disinterested crew. The toilets were filthy, food looked like leftovers from other airlines. The seating is exceptionally cramped and uncomfortable’ and ‘I find the staff on EgyptAir lazy and unprofessional.’ And apparently the seats aren’t cheap either!
Old planes and unexplained flight delays were among the common complaints about this Chinese airline. Customers alternately complained that flight attendants don’t speak English (although some praising the communication skills). Other comments included criticism of the poor quality of the food and service.
Oh dear, customers are not happy with their experience of this airline or its website. Shabby planes, flights being delayed, rescheduled or rerouted without notice or explanation. And the airline got the lowest score for its food. Altogether a big thumbs down from reviewers.
Chinese air travel isn’t coming off well according to Zagat findings. Customer comments on AirQuality.com on this airline’s service included: ‘…poor food, warm drinks, inadequate English language skills of crew (including nonsensical inflight announcements), non-reclining seats… All in all, quite an unpleasant series of flights’ and ‘Be careful to check and re-check your booking, as flight times can (and did) change without notice. You can miss your flight very easily.’
Described by one reviewer as ‘the airline from hell’, you’d be forgiven for giving it a wide berth unless it ups its game considerably! Reviews included: ‘First, the airline could not fine my reservation… then they determined that "someone" had canceled it in spite of my confirming it on their website’; ‘The worst thing was the attitude of US airways staff and the lies they told us. I wouldn't touch them again with a barge pole’ and ‘Most of the staff are rude and unfriendly… All in all a terrible experience. Never again.’
It was the terminal at the airport that came in for most criticism here. Customers commented on the poor bus transfer to the gate and unfriendly staff. Another criticism was that the elderly and passengers with children weren’t properly catered for. And one reviewer said the pilot announced: 'Sorry, we do not fly today. The plane is broken'.
The general stampede for unallocated seats was a common criticism for easyJet. One customer complained: ‘It would cost the easyJet computer nothing to allocate seats and alleviate the impression one is fighting for a place on a bus that may be overfull’; another said: ‘My biggest concern was the feeling of chaos inboard. The safety demo audio was played at a very low volume, and people were speaking on their mobile phones during the safety demonstration, cabin crew seemingly not giving a damn.’ Other complaints include overbooked flights and disorganised service...
Lack of food on international flights, a poorly kept plane and bad service generally were all at the heart of the complaints by travellers. TOne passenger pulled no punches with the comment: ‘My trip from Lima, Peru to Boston was the biggest nightmare of my life next to getting all four of my wisdom teeth pulled while conscious’; another, commenting on the policy of charging for hand luggage, said: ‘Robbing people as they board your airplane should really help your already abysmal tardy departure record…’ and a third summed up with: ‘They charge for everything, their agents are rude, and the flights are overbooked, late, not that clean, and just an awful experience.’ Biggest gripe of all was the charges the airline makes for hand luggage.
It was not hard to find reviewers with a poor opinion of the budget airline. An overriding impression was one of being ripped off. As one customer commented: ‘I've concluded that Ryanair is nothing but a great big social experiment to see how arrogant an airline can get and how low customer service can be pushed before the said airline starts to lose money….We keep coming back to this horrid airline with its miserable service in hope that we'll save a Euro or two. Reality is that we probably end up spending more money than we would have if we opted for a better airline’, while delivered a damning verdict: ‘They have to be the most customer unfriendly company I have come across. Dirty plane when we eventually got on, tired looking and dishevelled cabin crew. What more can I say - a shocking experience that I never wish to repeat.’
Yes, according to a survey of Virgin Atlantic's cabin crew, this is the most frequent mad request they get... seems that a worrying number of us have a lot to learn when it comes to the basic science of aviation...
Speaking about their weirdest passenger requests to Cabincrew.com, one steward said a passenger was worried about Heathrow Airport being so close to Windsor Castle as the plane was coming into London and asked if cabin crew could arrange for the planes not to fly over the castle in the future in case the Queen found it a nuisance. What a thoughtful flyer!
One Virgin Atlantic crew member was asked by a very famous celebrity, who pressed their call bell, to fix their hair. The flight attendant agreed to the unusual request and headed back to the galley to get a hair brush, comb and small can of hairspray. When he returned armed with the hairdressing equipment, the star roared with laughter and explained it was the AIR they wanted fixed and pointed overhead! The poor steward turned on the air vent and crept back to the galley. Cringe...
Er, we're hoping the passenger was't serious about this request. Another passenger asked: "Please can the captain stop the turbulence?".
While flying into Nice in the South of France, one cheeky passenger asked a stewardess if the pilot could 'go a bit further down the coast so we can have a look at Monaco,' she told Cabincrew.com
We know they have some luxurious cabins but we would have liked to see the face of the flight attendant who was asked by a passenger where they could take a shower on a Virgin Atlantic flight.
A playroom, indeed. Sometimes, passengers appear to forget they're 30,000ft in the air.
Yes, someone really did ask a Virgin flight attendant this question.
A stewardess told Cabincrew.com that a traveller asked her: 'Why am I getting such a poor mobile phone signal? This flight is going to be really long and I’ll be bored if I can’t use my smart phone.' Oh dear!
One steward told flight attendants' forum Cabincrew.com that one cheeky passenger asked them to get his blanket. He said: 'I once got asked mid flight if I could nip down into the hold and get a passenger his blanket out of his suitcase. After a full description of the bag I then explained this wasn't possible, to which he insisted he was going to go instead.'
This request may have been understandable if it came from a three-year old. But it didn't. It came from a fully grown adult.
This strange request came from a passenger on another Virgin flight... we're still trying to find out if said object was ever found....