• Spain's news in English

Ryanair fights post-train crash price hike claims

George Mills · 13 Aug 2013, 15:34

Published: 13 Aug 2013 15:34 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The brawl between the two travel heavyweights started with a July 29th article in Spain's El Mundo newspaper. 

The piece recounted how the son of one of the victims — the paper gave his only name as Ángel — had tried to book Ryanair flights from Madrid to the northern city of Santiago de Compostela using the flight search engine Rumbo on the morning after the June 24th train accident. 

At 6am he booked two flights for a total of €471 ($627). He was then told to wait for an email confirming for the reservation.

Two hours then passed without the email arriving.

El Mundo then reported that when Ángel's partner Elisa called Rumbo, the company said they had been unable to confirm the booking because Ryanair had bumped prices up to a total of €800 for the two passengers.

The couple then decided to drive 600km (373 miles) to Santiago de Compostela because they didn't "want don't anyone to make money" out of their "misfortune".

But now Ryanair and Rumbo are engaged in a public relations battle with both sides asserting they didn't raise the prices of the tickets.

On August 8th, lawyers acting for Ryanair contacted Rumbo asking for the matter to be cleared up.

In a fax sent to the Madrid-based company, lawyers for the Irish airline said internal investigations had revealed no record of  bookings for two customers called Ángel and Elisa.

Ryanair also said it could demonstrate that none of the three Madrid—Santiago flights on July 25th had individual seat prices of €400.

In their fax, the carrier asked Rumbo to confirm that they had never made bookings for Ángel and Elisa.

They also asked the Spanish firm to state that the couple's flight reservation had not been cancelled because Ryanair had increased prices.  

The airline asked for this confirmation to be provided by August 12th or legal action would be taken. That date has now passed.

Travel search engine Rumbo, meanwhile, issued a statement in which they said they have no influence over airline prices.

"Rumbo, as a travel agency, acts as an intermediary between airline companies and the client , providing comparison and booking services," said the company.

"Availability and flight prices are published by the airline carriers," Rumbo added in its statement.

Story continues below…

On Monday, Spain's Confederation of Housewives' Organizations, Consumers and Users (CEACCU) entered the fray, but going after both parties rather than taking sides.

Acting on behalf of families of victims of the train crash, the CEACCU has taken the issue to authorities in Galicia, where the accident happened.

They are claiming the sudden increase in ticket prices forced some families to take alternative transport in the wake of the crash.

The rise in prices was "unfair and liable to administrative sanctions", the association said.

The CEACCU wants believes Rumbo and Ryanair could be liable for fines ranging from €15,000 to €16,000.  

George Mills (george.mills@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Balearic Islands choose to keep summertime forever
The islands will have longer evenings during winter. Photo: AFP

The Balearic Islands want to keep summertime when the rest of Spain turns the clocks back on Sunday.

  Brazilian had 'uncontrollable desire to kill': Spain police
Francois Patrick Nogueira Gouveia has been charged with murdering his uncle, his wife and their two children. Photo: Guardia Civil.

A Brazilian teenager accused of dismembering his uncle and aunt and killing their two young sons in a grisly crime that shocked Spain had an "uncontrollable desire to kill", police said on Monday.

Man rescued from bin after climbing in to find old clothes
Photo: Policía Local Murcia

Police were called after passersby reported hearing a man calling for help from within a rubbish bin in the Vistabella neighbourhood of Murcia, southern Spain.

Spain faces crucial week as conservatives re-take power
Mariano Rajoy hopes to form a government this week. Photo: AFP

Spain entered a crucial week as acting conservative PM Mariano Rajoy prepared to re-take power, ending ten rollercoaster months without government marked by hope and disillusion.

Eight very creepy Halloween costumes ideas from Spain
Photo: Pan's Labyrinth

Forget flamenco dancers and bullfighters, The Local counts down the freakiest alternative costume ideas to dress up in this Halloween.

Man attacked by racist thug in UK street for talking Spanish

Tomas Gil, 27, from Valencia in eastern Spain was talking to his girlfriend in their native language after a night out in the British seaside town of Poole when he was set upon by a racist thug.

Malaga: Police probe bizarre 'sex death' of homeless Brit
The man was found near Malaga airport. Photo: Dennis Howlett / Flickr

A British homeless man was found dead tied to a bench near Malaga airport with his trousers down and his genitals in a can of tuna.

Clock ticking as Spain races to avoid third elections
Third elections could now be avoided. Photo: AFP

Spain's Socialists voted on Sunday to allow the conservatives to take power, likely averting a third election for Spaniards tired of going to the polls.

Spain worries about tourism future
Photo: Josep Lago / AFP file picture

After basking in its best tourist summer season in 15 years, Spain now sees dark clouds on the horizon as popular destinations reach saturation point and holidaymakers are more thrifty, industry experts say.

Spain's Socialists lift veto on Rajoy to break deadlock
The Socialists have decided to lift their veto on the minority conservative government or not. Photo: Gerard Julien/ AFP

Spain's embattled Socialists on Sunday voted to lift a long-standing veto that has prevented the conservatives from forming a minority government, in what should finally end a ten-month political impasse.

Analysis & Opinion
Out of the dark: Five years on from Eta ceasefire
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Spanish 'La Mafia' restaurants banned after Italian complaint
Spain's top court overturns bullfighting ban in Catalonia
Hunt launched for ten most wanted Brit fugitives hiding out in Spain
Napflix: Spaniards launch very boring TV channel for siestas
Madrid parish church faces fine over 'too noisy' bells
Celebrate expat life at Madrid’s THRIVE convention
Fury after kids told to bring their own loo roll to school
Disney announces plans for Don Quixote action movie
Activist tells 8-yr-old matador wannabe with cancer 'just die'
King to make last minute push to avoid third vote in Spain
Amazing photos of Catalonia's 'human tower' contest
What's on in Spain: October 2016
'No way, Jose! You'll never get your hands on our Rock'
Recipe: How to make a classic Spanish tortilla de patatas
Chorizo in paella? Go back to cooking school Jamie Oliver
Spain in eye of a perfect storm after 10 months without govt
Thousands share clips of life for 'Spain in a Day' film
Ten incredible Spain locations for Game of Thrones season 7
Analysis & Opinion
Why moving to Spain could be the best decision of your life
Seven reasons why autumn is the very best season in Spain
Spanish study finds four types of personality. Which are you?
New search underway for civil war grave of poet Lorca
jobs available