Friday, December 28, 2018

RyanAir's Non-Flexi Flexi Gotcha

Having taken a few RyanAir flights in the past week, I found myself tired of the utter chaos that is RyanAir check-in anywhere in Spain, and decided to book an Iberia flight out of Madrid instead of using my RyanAir ticket. Since I'd booked a Flexi Plus ticket and paid quite a bit for it, I thought I'd try rebooking.  It occurred to me that might not be possible as I'd already checked in, and of course I'd checked in because RyanAir strongly encourages you to do so far in advance of your flight.

Despite this being exactly the kind of rat-bastard thing a cheapo carrier might do, I thought I'd give it a try. And I wasted an unrecoverable hour of my life following the instructions on the website, which clearly stated that I could rebook even after checking in, and that I'd merely have to check in to the new flight immediately.But for some reason it wouldn't let me go to the final booking stage.  I could find a flight, select a fare, and.... nothing.

As a Computer Guy, I thought maybe they just didn't work with Safari, so I tried Firefox.  This sometimes works with large brands, which is in itself scary.  No luck.  I checked for Javascript errors in Safari and found a lot, plus a great number of 404 Not Found responses for their own Javascript resouces. At this point I knew I was dealing with seriously buggy software, so I tried the Customer Support Chat.

That, it turns out, in another typical rat-bastard move, is not a chat at all but rather a sub-Eliza-level dichotomous tree of automated FAQ responses peppered with "please use fewer words" responses.  And finally I got theanswer.

If you checked in early, as the Ryanites urge you to do, then you must contact customer support (through what means I cannot fathom -- probably by phone) and get yourself checked back out -- subject to office hours -- at least one day prior to departure, otherwise you can not do what the website says you can do and lets you spend your time halfway doing: you can not change your flight.

So my original instinct was correct: Rat Bastard RyanAir One, Customer Experience Zero.  Plus I shudder to think how awful it must be to write their broken software, presumably in some low-wage sweatshop with a sweaty-faced remote manager screaming at you in Irish from an unheated basement in, I kid you not, the town of Swords.

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