"we had to pay for another three."
A couple were left out of pocket after Ryanair flew them to the wrong country then refused to apologise.
Instead, the airline has blamed the couple for the mix-up, which saw them fly to Greece instead of their intended destination, Spain.
The issue also raised security questions as the pair got on a flight they were never meant to be on.
Humaira and Farooq Shaikh were set to fly to Seville on October 4, 2021, for a holiday.
They arrived at Stansted airport, checked in, went through pre-flight checks at the boarding gate and when they were on the plane, including their boarding passes being checked.
However, the plane went to Zakynthos, 1,200 miles away.
Still believing they were in Spain, the couple got off the plane, left the airport and got into a taxi. They then realised what had happened.
Humaira said: “Our phones were saying ‘Welcome to Greece’ and then our taxi driver said ‘this isn’t Spain’.”
Due to its late departure from the UK, the cabin crew had not announced the destination.
The couple returned to the airport to speak to Ryanair staff. The couple said the staff laughed.
Humaira explained that Ryanair staff would only pay for one night in a hotel and a return trip to the UK, despite the next flight to London not being for another four days.
Humaira said: “They would only pay for one night’s accommodation, so we had to pay for another three.”
The alternative was to take two flights back to the UK, with a layover, which would have doubled the length of their trip.
The couple were forced to pay for the rest of their stay in Greece, but struggled due to the shock of the situation and not having great internet skills.
They had also packed for a walking holiday in Spain, not the sandy conditions of Zakynthos.
When they did fly back to the UK, they were not on the Ryanair system and nearly missed their flight.
They only made it because one staff member recognised them.
The trip had been a gift from their son Suleman, who was in England working.
Fortunately, he was able to arrange and pay for a hotel until his parents were able to return to the UK.
However, he says the incident has cost him around £1,100 as he lost the payments for a Spanish hotel and pre-booked activities.
Suleman told The Mirror:
“I am completely outraged and shocked that this has been allowed to happen.”
“Not only is this a complete lack of safety, security and responsibility, but it has triggered severe strain and anxiety on my parents.
“My mum already suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety, and receiving her calls to me crying on the phone from Greece, whilst at work, was extremely distressing to hear.”
Since the incident, Ryanair has not apologised or offered compensation. Instead, the airline blamed the couple.
An email from Ryanair to the couple read:
“All of the Ryanair bag drop desks in the departure area are clearly identified.
“The screens above them display the flight number and destination.
“Each customer’s boarding card clearly states their flight number and destination. Customers are also advised to check the airport information screens for the boarding gate number.
“It is the responsibility of every passenger to ensure that they follow the correct procedures and take note of the information available to them.”
A Ryanair spokesperson said: “It is each customer’s responsibility to ensure they board the correct aircraft.
“As these passengers passed through security control pre-boarding there was no security risk.
“We are working with our handling agents in London Stansted to ensure that this error doesn’t reoccur.”