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3:24pm on Thursday, 3rd August, 2017:
I'm flying to Glasgow tomorrow to examine a PhD, so I thought I should check in today and get my boarding passes.
Normally, to check in all you need is your name and your six-digit reservation number. They may ask you a ton of information after that, but they can recall your booking with just that information.
Ryanair wanted something else, though. They wanted the email address of whoevber booked the ticket. My ticket was booked by whatever agency whatever admin person in Glasgow used. That isn't information I had.
Oh, what's this? A button for live chat! I'll click on this and get to speak to
an AI masquerading as a real human being!
I did get to have such a chat. Here's a transcript:
THEM: Hello Richard Bartle. How may I help you?
ME: Hi I'd like to check in for a flight tomorrow that was booked for me by someone else. I have the reservation ID but it needs an email address that I don't know
ME: Hello? Anyone there?
THEM: When you make a booking through a travel agency, one of the travel agents made the reservation on www.ryanair.com. It means that she/he used the travel agency's card to purchase the ticket and also created a new email address. If you do not have these details, you will not have access to your Ryanair booking. Since you do not have that information may I suggest you contact them directly to get the information and come back to us?
ME: OK, but I can check in at the check-in desk at Stansted?
THEM: You can simply go to the airport and ask the help desk to complete the check in for you, for the cost of 50 €/£ per person per flight.
ME: Ye gods!
ME: There's no way I can check in using just my name and my booking reference like most other airlines let me do?
THEM: I am afraid not.
THEM: You will need the correct email address what was used at the time of the booking.
THEM: I cannot give that information out without passing our security check unfortunately.
THEM: Is there anything else I can help you with today?
ME: It doesn't sound like it...
THEM: Please contact them to find out the email they have used please.
THEM: Thank you for using our Live Chat Service. If you would like to receive a transcript of this conversation, please click on the little envelope on top left corner. Goodbye.
So for £50 they'll check me in to a flight that only cost £50 in the first place?
I'm not a big fan of Ryanair, to be honest.
I found an email address CCed in an email I'd been sent in May and tried that. Luckily, it worked. If it hadn't, I'd have missed the flight and the PhD candidate would have had a much easier time of it tomorrow.
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