I enjoy flying, I enjoy being in airports and I could basically live in an aircraft. I just get a kick when I am in one and a huge smile.
Since I take every opportunity I can to be on an aircraft it took me by surprise when I actually realized I had never flown Ryanair. During class, the famous low cost carrier always came up – good or bad – but everyone always laughed at their experience with the airline and also the myths that came with the airline. For example, that Ryanair flies with the minimum fuel it needs to get from A to B. Or that it will be soon replacing its toilets with extra seats so more passengers can fly… To name a few.
But now I could experience Ryanair myself.
The booking process
If there is one thing that drove me crazy, it was the booking process. It started of by the captcha page that wouldn’t load, I had to refresh it for almost 10 times (just to let you know, I needed to get to my destination ASAP, so this ticket needed to be booked ASAP). Finally I got through the captacha, with the nice words or sentences like ‘lowest fares’ or ‘cheap tickets.’ Funny. Then, came a whole questionaire about my booking. The usual, who are you, where are you going questions were there, but also: Would you like to buy a suitcase? No. Are you sure? Yes. Are you really, really, really sure? Yes! Would you like to rent a car? No. Are you sure? Yes. We have really nice cars. No. Are you sure? Yes. This took about 10 minutes, which I think would confuse and worry any new traveler. I bet someone out there booked every extra service Ryanair offered just in case. However, my biggest problem with the booking process came when I had to pay. You’d think this is the easiest part, businesses should make this the easiest part, I would think. I needed a credit card, or a debit card. I had none. There was no other way – and I mean zero other options – to book your ticket. I called Ryanair, nada. Social Media? Nope, Ryanair doesn’t do Social Media. There was absolutely no other way to book that ticket. So what did I do? I took a walk. A long walk.
Finally, since I had to (this ticket was a on a ‘need’ basis, not ‘want’ basis), I found a friend who booked my ticket with his credit card. This booking process literally took up half my day. Why does Ryanair not offer the payment gateway iDeal?
Tip to get your ticket at an even cheaper price
While booking my ticket with a friend, he noticed some funny ‘extra’ costs, in my case an extra €7 euros of travel insurance (just incase Ryanair goes bankrupt, then you get your purchased ticket back). But, the chances of Ryanair going bankrupt that weekend, I think, were pretty small. Moreover, most people already have a travel insurance.
In small letters it said you can ‘uncheck’ the option for travel insurance in the menu if you wanted to – in the 5 page menu I just took 10 minutes filling in. Very sneaky, it’s hidden in a trick question, here a few pictures…
In the first picture, when you click on the drop down menu, you get the question to: Please select the country of residence. So naturally, you think you should select your country of residence, but, here, is the option to not have travel insurance, see picture 2…. and Voila, you just down priced your own ticket, flying at an even cheaper price!
Boarding was done smooth, no hassle, the specifications about handbaggage were bombarded at you through the site, e-mail and another extra e-mail, so you pretty well knew what type of handbaggage you could have and how much it could weigh. Also, everyone who flew with Ryanair before warned me about their strict rules and once I saw people weighing their handbaggage for the 4th time, I thought they were paranoid. A tip I got from a friend: Wear EVERYTHING possible on you, 2 pants? no problem, 3 sweaters, yep, check!
Simple, you could sit, no particular extra comfort but for an hour and a half, it was fine. Couldn’t complain. The flight safety folder was also pasted on the back of the seat in front of you, so pretty clear to see and I didn’t see anyone panicking to look for it.
No magazines. Instead, they handed out one small pocket size magazine during the flight (which they took back at the end of the flight) with information about hotels, lodges and other places you could visit or book at Ryanair’s various destinations.
Duty shopping wasn’t skipped on this short flight and what more, they walked by the aisle and made the announcement more than two times. Also, lottery tickets and bingo were also handed out, I don’t know if this is done on every Ryanair flight or because our destination was in France, where lottery tickets and bingo are still very famous.
I was talking to a passenger next to me while we taxied and suddenly this loud trumpet noise interrupted us, at first I thought it was the bingo game, but it was an announcement that we had arrived at our destination on time. Some people said that Ryanair always adds extra time to its flights to make sure they arrive on time and thus, if ‘late,’ still manage to be on time. I found it a funny touch, the trumpet.
The overall experience
Put me on an aircraft – any aircraft, and I am happy. I hadn’t been on an aircraft for quite a while before my Ryanair flight, and during the take-off, I couldn’t stop smiling – wow. Same wow during the landing. I love flying, and Ryanair took me to France and back to Holland, when arriving, the warm sweet air greeted me and when I got back to Holland, the rain and cold breeze welcomed me back home. Thanks Ryanair, for the great flights! PS: Can you implement iDeal as a payment gateway?