The Long Lens blog: Photography with added snaps

The photography site for sore eyes. With extra writing because I'm also a writer.

Budget flights with Ryanair, where you can’t paint over the craics.

If you like misery stress and despair with your holidays, there’s only one airline for you.

I’ve made around 20 return trips over the past two years with various airlines. How would I rate the flights? Some good, some bad, but the flight’s from hell are always with Ryanair.

The experience with Irish company Ryanair actually makes travelling with British Rail on a Bank Holiday Monday seem like bliss. From start to finish you are made to feel like you ruining their business by using their airline.

Yes they are a budget airline, so no-one is expecting a silver service. But am I wrong to expect any kind of service at all?

A complicated online booking service is followed by an online checking in service which doesn’t actually serve any purpose. The stress of checking in, with the worries of missing your flight, could brake the weak-hearted.

Then there’s the laughably low baggage weight limit – 20kg for a suitcase which is only 5kg more than hand luggage weight, yet comes at an extra cost of £20.

At Edinburgh airport I found myself amongst a sea of other passengers crouching on the floor over an open suitcase trying to stuff heavy items into hand luggage to dip below their suitcase’s 20kg limit. This was after queuing for almost an hour because the company employs for too few check-in staff for their flights.

When I began the booking process for two people from Edinburgh to Berlin, the flights were around under £50 each for return flights. Do the maths yourself. Flights, for two people, should have cost under a £100. The total I paid out was £244.22.

This included a £5 debit card transaction fee per flight, per person – £20 in total. And £10 for a web check in – useless as you have to physically check in anyway if you’ve got a suitcase or not, plus £94.26 in ‘taxes, fees & charges’.

But it’s the physical process of checking in that turns a weekend break into a dreaded nightmare. No one smiles in Ryanair’s queues. No one laughs in the stampede to board the flights and get the best seats. Sadly, no-one even bothers to feel sorry for his overworked and probably underpaid staff.

After several journies with Michael O’Leary’s famous airline I feel so bitter that I even find myself hoping that his staff are as miserable as they make me feel. It’s not a good thought to takeaway for my onward journey.

NOTE: For complaints about this article, please contact Ryanair’s Customer Service helpline on… oh, er, hang on, Ryanair doesn’t do customer service.

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This entry was posted on December 1, 2009 by in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , .
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