Council leader rows with Ryanair after Brussels terror attack

Picture taken with permission from the Twitter feed of @jfbxl showing Maelbeek Metro station after an explosion on a train in Brussels
Picture taken with permission from the Twitter feed of @jfbxl showing Maelbeek Metro station after an explosion on a train in Brussels
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Council leader Barrie Grunewald has branded a discount airline as “money grabbers” after claiming they are charging Britons stranded in Brussels exorbitant fees to fly home.

Coun Grunewald, who landed in Brussels this morning shortly before the airport attack, said the airline was asking for £6,000 from a group of 28 people stuck at Brussels airport.

Council leader 
Barrie Grunewald

Council leader Barrie Grunewald

However, Ryanair said the increased fare was offered to the group because of limited space on the requested flight.

The councillor was visiting the Belgium city with other Labour politicians to meet EU representatives.

But he says attempts to return home have been hampered by over-the-top airline fees.

He tweeted: “Disgusting @Ryanair group of 28 people here at airport and you won’t sort our flight back to UK unless pay £6k and won’t answer UK phone.

“Vile money grabbing company @Ryanair is trying to make profit out of #Brussels tragedy - should be totally ashamed of yourself!”

The council leader tweeted from the Belgium capital this morning.

He tweeted: “Landed in #Brussels today to terrible events, thoughts & prayers with those injured & killed - complete Lockdown, going nowhere but safe.”

He is believed to be with another St Helens councillor, John Fulham.

A spokesman for Ryanair said: “This group of 28 passengers were travelling from Brussels Charleroi to Manchester tomorrow (Wednesday) at a fare of £20 each.

They arrived at the ticket desk in Brussels Charleroi this morning requesting to change their flight from Brussels Charleroi to today (Tuesday) and in common with all other passengers were offered this change at our change fee (£60) plus the upgrade to the available fare (£154) on this evening’s flight.

The reason for the upgrade is that there were only 28 seats remaining on this evening’s flight.

This group, declined to accept this change offer as is their right and we look forward to welcoming them on their scheduled flight from Brussels Charleroi tomorrow.

As of 1.30pm today, there only 12 seats remaining on this evening’s flight from Brussels Charleroi to Manchester as Ryanair has been prioritising free changes and transfers for passengers travelling on flights to and from Brussels Zaventem today and tomorrow.

We regret any inconvenience caused to this group but our priority today remains re-accommodating our disrupted Brussels Zaventem passengers, and all other passengers are free to avail of our change facility in the normal manner.”