A Ryanair passenger claims he was told he faced being arrested after rowing with cabin crew over a pot of Pringles following a four-and-a-half hour delay.
Johnny McMenamin, 36, from County Tyrone, in Northern Ireland, and his five year-old daughter were delayed at Reus airport in Spain for two hours last Monday, before spending nearly three hours on board the plane while it sat on the runway.
The argument began when he discovered he had missed an offer of vouchers for refreshments that were distributed in the departure lounge because of the delays.
He claimed flight attendants on board then refused to give him the vouchers that had been given to other passengers for water and snacks.
He told the : “I couldn‘t believe they were trying to charge me for a snack for a child when we had been delayed for 4 hours 39 minutes. It was the early hours of the morning, my daughter was hungry and exhausted.
“I told them it was a welfare package I was looking for at that stage, not a menu.
“I asked for a bottle of water and Pringles for my daughter and they insisted I needed to pay £5.50 ($10.60), which I refused out of principal.”
The father said he was even accused of “stealing from the bar” in an announcement from the pilot.
He said: “After eventually boarding two hours late we didn‘t go anywhere for another two hours 45 minutes. Staff were rude and people were having to ask for water.
“By the time we took off my daughter was distressed and tired.”
Mr McMenamin said he finally paid for the items after the pilot made two announcements warning that a passenger was “stealing from the bar” and would be met by police on arrival if payment was not made.
He said: “I did pay because I did not want to cause my daughter any more stress but I cannot believe the flight attendants would not give a five year-old a free bottle of water and packet of Pringles after the huge delay.”
A Ryanair spokesman said, in an editor‘s note, that a passenger had become disruptive shortly before takeoff and agreed to follow cabin crew instructions after being warned about their behaviour.
He said the airline would “not tolerate unruly, disruptive or unlawful behaviour”.
He added: “This flight from Barcelona Reus to East Midlands (13 August) was regrettably delayed ahead of take-off due to ongoing air traffic control restrictions and air traffic control staff shortages across Europe.
“‘Customers were provided with refreshment vouchers and boarded the aircraft, but the flight was further delayed due to continued slot delays.”
“The crew opened the bars and served refreshments, before the aircraft departed to East Midlands later that night. Ryanair sincerely apologised to customers affected by this delay.”