Wow: Ryanair Crew Forced To Sleep On Office Floor Due To Delays

Ryanair got caught out a few months ago charging their cabin crew to drink water on board their planes, and now it seems they have done it again.

This PR nightmare is hot on the heels from a Ryanair recent strike, as aircrews for the Irish low-cost carrier face worsening conditions.

Ryanair B737
Ryanair operates a fleet of 444 B737 aircraft, with 150 more on order. Photo: Ryanair

What happened?

A few Ryanair flights were diverted due to a storm to land overnight in Malaga, Spain.

The passengers were shuttled away and presumably booked into one of the many 400+ hotels around the Spanish holiday destination.

What about the crew?

The group of eight pilots and sixteen cabin crew were lead to a random unlocked office room with no windows. They were told to stay here overnight as there were no hotels available. The room contained only eight chairs, and no food or water.

The group elected one of the captains to get in touch with Ryanair. Upon asking if they could open up one of the airline’s bars, head up some sandwiches and have some drinks, they were told no by the airline’s operations center in Dublin.

Ryanair crew
The photo of the crew sleeping on the floor in the office. This photo is staged, but created in protest by the crew showing what they had to go through.

They were then found the next morning at 5.15 am sleeping on the hard floor by cleaning crews. Fortunately, the cleaning team opened up a VIP lounge so the group could stretch out.

*Update* Ryanair has reported that the image of the crew ‘sleeping’ was actually staged: 


It gets worse.

At 8.30 am, they were told they had a Boeing 737 ready to take them home..unfortunately, none of them could fly it as they had not had the required rest under EU law. Thus a replacement pilot had to be flown in from London and a first officer found in Malaga.

This took three hours.

“In the end, they were informed it was impossible to find any hotels. Friday was a bank holiday in Spain and the duty manager said all hotels were full. Finally, at 11.30, the crews flew back to Porto on a 737 ferry flight. Without having proper rest, without sleeping at all.” – Fernando Gandra, a Malaga-based delegate for SITCPLA [Airline Employee’s Union]

The crew was returned tired and exhausted to their homes in Porto.

Ryanair faces harsh criticism

This event has led to a big uproar from aircrew unions in the EU.

‘Maybe all hotels around Málaga airport and the city were full, but for sure it would have been possible to accommodate these crews in different hotels, even ones far away from the airport. And to provide a taxi service for all of them. From SITCPLA we certainly believe that this disrespectful situation towards the crew could have been avoided.’ – Fernando Gandra

Others have mentioned that it seems a bit odd that no hotels could be found when it is off-season in Malaga and there are plenty of hotels around the tourist town.

Ryanair said in a statement: ‘This picture is clearly staged and no crew “slept on the floor”. Due to storms in Porto (13 October) a number of flights diverted to Malaga and as this was a Spanish national holiday, hotels were fully booked. The crew spent a short period of time in the crew room before being moved to a VIP lounge, and returned to Porto the next day (none of the crew operated flights).

It has been confirmed that the crew did not reach the lounge until 6 am, so ‘short’ means 10 hours or so.

Stay tuned for more updates to this story.