Ruth and Peter Jaffe said they were “horrified” at the huge bill slapped on them when they tried to check in at London’s Stansted Airport.
The couple thought they had downloaded their outward tickets to Bergerac, France, where they were meeting friends for a break.
But after they arrived to check in, Ryanair staff pointed out that they had printed the return tickets by mistake.
They told Ruth, 79, and Peter, 80, that they needed a boarding card from the airline sales desk at a cost of £55 per person.
More than 13 million have viewed their outraged daughter’s social media post about their ordeal last Friday.
Ruth told BBC Radio 4’s the Today Programme yesterday: “I was quite flustered and upset.”
“I was then told that I had to go to the Ryanair desk to get a boarding card, and there they charged me £55 per person.”
She said the Ryanair website was confusing and her husband has a disability which made it difficult for him to walk further than they had planned.
“People hate Ryanair, I think. If you’re elderly and haven’t been brought up using computers from day one, it can be very difficult.”
The couple from Ealing, West London, have complained to the company but do not expect to receive compensation.
Ruth said: ”I think they’ll say it’s in the small print and it was our fault. Which it was, but it was a genuine mistake.”
Her husband added: ”It’s also the money-making aspect, like the fact we had to pay extra to sit together.”
Consumer expert Martyn James said the couple’s ordeal “touched a nerve” about unexpected charges.
“It’s deeply unfair to penalise people who made an innocent mistake,” he said.
“For years, airlines have been stripping out things that used to be free, and charging for them.”
“This story resonates with people because they’re angry they’ve been hit with these prices too – whether it’s luggage charges, paying to sit next to your family, or something else.”
“If more people complained about a lack of transparency, more airlines start to reconsider these fees.”
Ryanair said in a statement: “All passengers travelling with Ryanair agree to check-in online before arriving at their departure airport and all passengers are sent an email/SMS, reminding them to do so 24hrs before departure.”
“We regret that these passengers ignored their email reminder and failed to check-in online.”
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