Ryanair passenger escorted off plane by police over leg room row

Helen Coffey
A passenger was moved from his assigned seat: Getty

A Ryanair passenger who was denied the extra legroom seat he’d paid a £20 fee to book was escorted off his flight by police after refusing to pay his bar bill.

Bob Hamilton, 64, asked cabin crew to waive his £17 drinks tab to make up for the fact that he was not able to sit in his assigned seat.

The 6ft 2in retired oil broker from Peterborough told The Daily Mailhe always pays extra for a seat with more legroom because of his height, but when he boarded a recent flight from London Stansted to Malaga he found someone in his seat.

Cabin crew told Hamilton the man in his seat was a Ryanair employee who had to remain there for safety reasons, and that he needed to sit elsewhere.

He found a seat towards the back of the plane and ordered two cans of beer and two plastic bottles of wine, costing £17 in total, just after take-off.

Hamilton refused to settle his bar tab, saying he shouldn’t have to pay as he wasn’t allowed to sit in the seat he’d paid extra for.

Crew insisted and explained he should claim a refund for the £20 online.

Upon landing at Malaga, two Spanish police officers escorted Hamilton off the plane.

“The police officers were very pleasant and were laughing about it,” he said. “In the end, one of the crew came out to the air bridge with a card machine and I was forced to pay up.”

A Ryanair spokesperson described Hamilton’s behaviour as “disruptive”:

“This customer (in seat 17F) was asked to move to seat 16A (an over wing exit seat of equivalent value) as there was a minor technical issue with the over wing seat which was occupied by an additional cabin crew staff member in line with procedures. This customer refused and took a different available seat (22A).

“He subsequently became disruptive during the flight and refused to follow cabin crew instructions so was met by police on arrival.”

They added: “Ryanair will not tolerate unruly, disruptive or unlawful behaviour at any time and the safety and comfort of our customers, crew and aircraft is our number one priority. This customer was refunded the cost of his reserved seat.”

Hamilton claims he was only refunded his £20 on the third attempt to get his money back.

In 2016, when a doctor aboard an easyJet flight to Athens provided emergency treatment for a fellow passenger and avoided a diversion, cabin crew rewarded him with a complimentary coffee – but insisted he paid for the accompanying KitKat.