Swedish name blocked by Ryanair

A Swedish woman was obliged to buy a new ticket when travelling home on Ryanair after a weekend with her daughter in London. The problem - her name was too long and contained the Swedish letters of ö and ä.

Swedish name blocked by Ryanair

When Ulrika Örtegren-Kärjenmäki tried to pass security controls at London Stansted airport on Sunday the bar-code on her boarding pass failed to register and she was told to go the Ryanair customer service desk, according to the newspaper Dagens Nyheter (DN).

“The security guard did not want to help us and after a few phone calls told us to go to Ryanair’s information desk. We did not receive any explanation of the problem,” Örtegen-Kärjenmäki told DN.

The queue was so long at the information desk that Örtegren-Kärjenmäki and her daughter missed her flight, had to buy new tickets and spend an extra night in a hotel in London.

When the pair returned to the airport the following day the same thing occurred and Ryanair’s information desk was again unable to help.

Luckily for the despairing travellers a security guard at the airport approached the desk and enquired as to the problem.

“He said that he recognised the problem, accompanied me to the information desk and instructed the woman that had just refused to help me to print out a new boarding card,” she told DN.

It turned out that the problem was with the woman’s name – it was, at more than 16 characters, too long. Furthermore it contained the Swedish letters of ö and ä which were scrambled by the Ryanair booking system making the bar-code invalid.

Ulrika Östergren-Kärjenmäki’s experience cost her the equivalent of 5,000 kronor ($756) and when safely home in Sweden she set about trying to reclaim the money from Ryanair.

Östergren-Kärjenmäki was given a fax number and email address from Ryanair with which to lodge her complaint. However, the fax number did not work when she attempted to send her documents to the airline.

Daniel de Carvalho, Ryanair’s European Communication Director, recommended to DN that Örtegren-Kärjenmäki get in contact with the airline’s customer service but could not promise that she would be refunded for her outlay.