AIRLINE – RYANAIR
CLASS OF TRAVEL – ECONOMY CLASS
AIRCRAFT – 737-800
ROUTE – LEEDS/BRADFORD TO IBIZA
I’m not a stranger to traveling on low cost carriers. With so many budget airlines continuing to pop up and offer such competitively priced fares, it’s getting more difficult to turn them down. Most recently, I have had the pleasure of traveling with low cost and regional carriers in Asia, including Hong Kong Express, Dragonair, Cebu Pacific and Scoot, all of whom have offered a product and service not completely unlike some of the larger, well-renowned airlines.
During a recent trip to the UK, I decided to book a last minute trip to Ibiza to visit my sister. I found a ticket with Ryanair that was half the price of other carriers and subsequently booked it. I expected nothing more than a simple, no frills flight that would get me from A to B.
I documented my experience of the relatively short Ryanair flight from Leeds/Bradford to Ibiza, as a reminder of why I should never be tempted to fly with them again in the future.
THE CHECK IN
When you book a flight via the Ryanair website, it is advised to check in and print your boarding pass online, or be faced with a hefty charge at the airport (£45). With most reputable airlines, checking in online actually saves a great deal of time, with the added advantage of utilising the Bag Drop area at the airport and subsequently enjoying the extra time browsing Duty Free.
However, after checking in online with Ryanair, I was surprised to be greeted at the airport by a long, slow moving, unorganized queue of passengers. You see with Ryanair, even though most organised passengers have already printed out their boarding card, any luggage must still be meticulously weighed by Ryanair staff. It is a well-known fact that low cost carriers sting their passengers by charging large fees for overweight bags, and Ryanair is no different. Just one kilo over and you can expect to pay a minimum of £30 extra at the airport.
Spending time in the queue gave me a rather unpleasant taste of what was to come during my impending Ryanair flight. An alarming amount of intoxicated, potty-mouthed passengers had already lined up, including two groups of half-dressed, oversized-inflatable-penis-wielding hen parties, who continued to cause chaos all the way to security. A group of equally rowdy boys, brandishing multiple cans of Strongbow cider also decided to barge their way past, attempting to convince fellow passengers that they were joining their mates at the front of the queue.
To my amazement, neither the airline staff nor the nearby security guards even raised an eyebrow. Was this the type of regular clientele they had become accustomed to?
An hour passed and I had managed to move less than two metres down from my original queue position. All of a sudden, a voice bellowed from the direction of the front desk, instructing any passengers traveling to Ibiza to immediately approach the counter, much to the annoyance of everyone who had been patiently waiting for hours.
I had already paid £15 to check in one piece of luggage, and despite weighing my case more than four times at home, the staff insisted that my case was still carrying extra weight. After opening my bag up, I was instructed to remove my hair straighteners which apparently were causing the excess weight issue. I didn’t argue and was relieved that I was finally on my way towards airport security, dangling a pair of hair straighteners in one hand.
At the gate, I was ill-fatedly reunited with the boisterous hen parties and together, we commenced our long walk to the aircraft, across the tarmac and in the driving North of England rain. At this point, one booze-fuelled partygoer decided to make the already unpleasant journey on her hands and knees. Yet again, ground staff uneasily turned a blind eye.
Surely order would be restored once we boarded the plane? Perhaps once the captain or flight attendants encountered the intoxicated individuals, they would all be escorted off, or at the very least tranquilised like wild animals until being released into the streets of Ibiza. Unfortunately, this was not the case, and it became apparent that I would have to spend the next two hours in a confined space surrounded by these creatures.
As I reached the main entrance of the aircraft, there was no smile accompanied warm welcome, or an offer to help locate my allocated seat by Ryanair cabin crew. I found my window seat moments before a bustle of boisterous boys caused a huge commotion by sitting in the wrong seats and subsequently refusing to budge. The entire aircraft had a fragrant likeness to the inside of a Weatherspoon’s public house during happy hour, and it was at this low point that I regretted not paying the extra £60 to fly with a more reputable airline.
The seats were adequately sized for a short haul journey but offered no recline. There was ample under seat storage space for my hair straighteners, but as I lowered my plastic tray table, I was greeted by a sticky residue that indicated a severe lack of cleanliness, probably due to the extremely tight turnaround of each Ryanair flight.
My heart sank for the Ryanair cabin crew as they were forced to stop the safety demonstration twice in order to, as politely as possible, ask passengers to take their seats and stop talking, all of which fell on deaf ears. They proceeded with the demonstration regardless, although it was clear that most of my fellow travellers would be of little or no use in the case of an emergency.
Ten minutes after take-off, a huge queue formed at both ends of the aircraft for the restrooms, and it took the crew around an hour and a half to complete their food and beverage service as they negotiated the constant flow of loitering passenger in the aisles. Travelers continued to shout their beer orders down the full length of the aircraft, including requests for sick bags in almost the same breath.
A symphony of small children screaming and hen parties loudly singing pursued for the entire journey. I closed my eyes and prayed in silence that that none of these passengers would be staying within close proximity to me in Ibiza.
As we approached The Island, I glanced out of the window just in time to see the magnificent burning sun setting behind the Old Town and Port of Ibiza. For the first time during the whole journey, my heart fluttered with excitement and I was glad to have made it to my destination.
It’s sad to say that budget airlines like Ryanair really have taken the fun and glamour out of air travel.
I believe the name ‘RyanScare’ accompanied by the tagline ‘Always Lowering your Expectations’ would be far more accurate.
Pay the extra money, fly with a reputable airline and start your holiday as you mean to go on. My plan to sleep for two hours and arrive at my destination fresh-faced was a complete failure due to nothing more than my unfortunate choice of airline.
If you have absolutely no choice but to fly with Ryanair, it is highly advisable to first lower your expectations, and then lower them again. Expect to spend the duration of your time in the air praying to disembark, but not before profusely apologising to each dishevelled flight attendant for the poor behaviour of your fellow passengers.
SCRUBYSNACKS RATING: 1/5 (for delivering both myself and my luggage from A to B and for the perfectly timed arrival at my destination to witness one of the most spectacular of sunsets).
Check out and compare ScrubySnacks’ other airline reviews:
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American Airlines Review – Business Class (Long haul)
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Hong Kong Airlines Review – Business Class
British Airways Review – World Traveller (Economy Class)
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