To Ryanair or Not to Ryanair?
Ryanair can be a backpacker’s dream. Off season deals, 10 euro fares, and if you do your research, some of the flights actually land at the major airport of a destination. In Ryanair’s hometown of Dublin, the flights land at Dublin International, in the same spot as any other more expensive airline.
And yet EVERY traveler I know has a Ryanair horror story. Many people here in Dublin take short trips over to London, for work, to visit friends, often traveling there and back in the same day. This is just asking for trouble. The times Ryanair employees have told me to ‘read the fine print’ are endless.
Example # 1: Flying from Nice to Dublin. In preparation of shopping over an Easter trip to the South of France, I booked 2 bags for my flight back to Dublin. I paid for each bag separately, very assured with myself that I wouldn’t be over the 15 kilo limit for either bag, and that for once, a Ryanair check-in could be (somewhat) pleasant.
Upon checking in, after a sunny day in the south of France, my vacation was immediately put to an end. The rude staff informed me, without even a touch of sympathy in their voices (as if enforcing the regulations of Ryanair gives them some strange pleasure..) that even though I had paid for 2 bags, each a separate fee, my weight limit was still only 15 kilos. Spread over 2 bags. This time, I thought I had read the fine print, and with a ridiculous cost per kilo for overweight items, I condensed my new purchases into a carry on and stormed away from the check in counter.
Example #2: A couple weeks ago I was heading to Mallorca, Spain for a wedding. I was traveling with a large group of friends, and as the Ryanair flight was significantly cheaper during the peak summer travel period, we booked it. At the Ryanair website you can check in days in advance, and up to 4 hours before the flight. The morning of my flight, when I went online to check in, it turned out to be only 3 hours and 49 minutes until my flight, and I was blocked out.
Luckily, my room mate is a handsome guy and he smiled at the girl at the check in counter who didn’t make me pay the regular 40 euro check in fee. FORTY EURO CHECK IN FEE. And yet, another friend on the same flight wasn’t so lucky, when the same exact staff member apparently didn’t fancy him, and charged him the 40 euro.
This prompted a debate among the large group of us traveling to Mallorca. Was Ryanair EVER worth it? On the return from Mallorca, I had booked an AerLingus flight. Due to depart at 10pm, I lingered on the beach in the afternoon, sat down for a nice dinner, had one last long shower before heading to the airport. Friends on the Ryanair flight, due to leave at 7pm, walked into baggage claim in Dublin precisely at the same time as I did. With no explanation or apology from Ryanair.
If it is the only way to go, sometimes Ryanair can be a lifesaver. And yet, standing in the queue as people line up for ages before the doors open, squinting your eyes to ward off the blaring yellow signs, trying to ignore the incessant advertisements, it is difficult to tell yourself you wouldn’t rather have spent another 50 euro for a full service flight.
One friend said lack of a seat front pocket is what did it for her. Goodbye, Ryanair. Never again.
Share your thoughts / horror stories / praises / unbelievable anecdotes about the controversial airline by posting below.