Monday, 16 March 2009

Ryanair in on-time arrival shock

For all my scorn poured on Ryanair recently (you might have noticed one or two comments in previous postings that indicate they may not be my most favoured of travel companied), I have to eat a small (and probably seriously overpriced) piece of humble pie.

For the first time that I can remember my flight landed at Stansted on-time (it was actually a couple of minutes early), and by the time I got to the baggage belt my bag was coming round (I’ve previously got to the belt speedily only to wait 45 minutes for the bags)

Because my bags were round so quickly I made the early train from the airport, which meant I made it to the bus stop outside Liverpool Street before the start of the evening rush, and onto a train at London Bridge before the service becomes less frequent.

From the wheels of the plane hitting the tarmac at Stansted to walking through the door at home took less than two and a half hours, half what it has taken on a bad flight (which if I remember rightly was with Ryanair...)

Still, on this occasion they came up trumps, so congratulations Ryanair...

But I still won’t fly with them out of choice!

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, 11 March 2009


After the lousy start to the day I didn’t expect the check-in process for a RyanAir flight to be much better, and I wasn’t disappointed.

Having used the checkin terminals (no desks, despite having paid for an airport check-in!) I wandered, as instructed to zone J for the fast bag drop, queued up, got to the front of the queue and was then told I should read the screen more clearly as it said Zone F. I mentioned that it had actually said Zone J but the person on bag drop insisted that I was an idiot who couldn’t read simple English, until the person at the next desk started saying the same thing to another Granada passenger, at which point both check-in staff shrugged their shoulders and said we had to go to F, no apology (though I’m sure I could probably get one if I paid the £7.99 apology fee!)

Over to zone F where there was an even longer queue, partly made up of people who hadn’t read the screen when they were at home and were disputing why for their 99p flight they now had to pay £9.99 to checkin and another £18 for the bags they had with them as they thought RyanAir would let them on if they just turned up.

I can sort of understand why the people in Zone J must have originally thought I had read the screen wrong, but an apology whouldn’t have hurt would it?

Labels: ,

Saturday, 28 February 2009

Perhaps I’ll keep quiet from now on

Back in September (27th September – shop till you drop) I jokingly suggested that as Ryanair were trying to squeeze more money out of the passengers perhaps they should try charging £1 to use the toilets.

Now Michael O’Leary, the Panto style villan of the airline industry (boo, hiss etc) has openly suggested charging £1 to use the toilets on his flights.

I won’t make any more suggestions on things the budget airlines could do to save even more money, they appear to be already coming true. Speedy Evac anyone?

Full story on the BBC News Website - Ryanair mulls charge for toilets

Labels: , ,

Monday, 23 February 2009

Burying bad news

With their usual level of contempt for their customers, Ryanair have managed to slide out one piece of troublesome news covered by a bigger and noisier, literally, story.

Whilst most people have been discussing the horrific plans to allow mobile phones to be used on Ryanair flights (can’t people be out of contact for just a couple of hours, can’t everyone else be spare their inane chatter for the length of the flight!), another piece of news was release.

By the end of 2009, Ryanair will do away with the checkin desks at all their airports. All passengers will have to checkin online prior to leaving their home, or their hotel for the return leg. Which begs the question, what happens if you don’t have access to a printer at your campsite. Do you have to find an internet café and pay there to checkin? Are Ryanair thinking of setting up rip-off priced internet stalls in place of their checkin desks at airports for those whose relaxing beach break doesn’t involve visiting an internet café?

This naturally leads to the question, what next – you can only print your boarding pass on special Ryanair branded paper which you have to buy in advance, perhaps a final and complete ban on luggage (which is the subtext of what they are trying to achieve) so that they can cut their costs even further?

Those cheap Ryanair flights really aren’t what they once were.

The following is from Reuters 21/02/2009:
LONDON, Feb 21 (Reuters)
- Europe's largest low-fare airline Ryanair said on Saturday it planned to save costs by closing all its airport check-in desks by the end of the year and have passengers check in online instead.

"All we will have is a bag drop where passengers can drop off their luggage, otherwise everything will be done online," Ryanair Chief Executive Michael O'Leary told the Daily Telegraph.

He said the savings would be passed on to passengers in the form of lower fares.

Ryanair spokesman Stephen McNamara told Reuters that 75 percent of the airline's passenger already used its online check-in services.

"We are trying to encourage the remaining 25 percent to do the same," he said.

"Hopefully by the end of the year we will have bag drop-in areas instead, which will be manned."

The airline would continue to have staff running ticket desks at airports, he said.

The change would lead to layoffs but the airline used many third-party staff at airports and would attempt to limit the effect of the reduction.

"We are hoping the job cuts will be minor," McNamara said.

(Additional reporting by Carmel Crimmins in Dublin)
(Reporting by Tim Castle; editing by Chris Pizzey)

Labels: , , , , ,

Friday, 23 January 2009

The (other) hidden costs of Ryanair

Flying Ryanair you always expect there to be hidden extras.

A fiver here to checkin at the airport rather than on-line, £10 for a bag, £20 for a decent meal (£25 if you want Oxygen in the event of an emergency – not yet, but they are probably considering it!)

However, I’ve just been stung by yet another hidden Ryanair cost, caused by their happiness to change the schedule at will.

I’m due to be going to Granada in March, and originally my flight would have been at a 5pm, meaning I could go into work in the morning, leave at lunch to be up at the airport before 3.

However, last week Ryanair e-mailed to say they had made a “minor” amendment to the flight times. A half hour, or maybe an hour I thought, oh No, I forgot this is Ryanair, the company that thinks that 100Km from the airport to the city you think you are flying to is a “short distance.”

The change was more brutal than any I’ve encountered before. Rather than leaving at 5pm the flight now goes at 8am. Checkin is a 6, and for someone living in South London, and who doesn’t drive, that’s the 3am night bus into town and the first train of the morning.

So, not only do I have to take an extra day’s leave, I now have to consider do I get up at 3am and get the night bus, or do I stay in a hotel and get up later. In the end my brain overruled my wallet and I decided to take the hit and pay for a night in a hotel, except there are no cheap hotels anywhere near Stansted, that aren’t a 20 minute expensive cab ride away, so I’ve ended up with a compromise. A night in the Travelodge at Liverpool Street station with two hours extra sleep on coming from home, and the first train of the morning to the Airport.

Thanks Ryanair, I’ve just doubled the cost of my flight!

Labels: , , , , ,

Saturday, 27 September 2008

Shop till you drop

A couple of days ago, it was announced, to the usual levels of self publicity, that Ryanair were about to offer the ability to use your mobile in flight, at vast expense. Michael O’Leary, the chief executive, and a man who knows how to bleed the public dry, was, for once, quite open and honest about his airlines philosophy. He stated that “if you want a quiet flight, go with someone else. We’re noisy full and we are always trying to sell you something”

Noisy and full are also words that could have been used to describe my easyJet flight. It’s not been that long since I last flew with them, but I’m pretty certain that they have got even more into the “sell sell sell” mode than they used to be.

They have even now introduced lottery style scratch cards, where you can win up to £25,000 (though I would suspect that this might just be in speedy boarding credits or a free luggage allowance for the year)

It’s led me on to think about what else the budgets can try selling.

Coming Soon…

  • Speedy Evac, pay £20 and guarantee to be one of the first people down the escape slide should the plane be involved in an accident.

  • £1 charge for using the toilets.

  • “In the event of a loss of cabin pressure, credit card machines will fall from the ceiling. Insert your card, enter your PIN number, and once a £5 charge has been debited from your account an oxygen mask will be released.”

  • £7.50 for the life jacket (perhaps a special deal could be arranged, £10 for a life jacket, and an oxygen mask.)

  • £35.95 for a seat, if you don’t pay this fee you have to stand all the way to your destination (not as daft as it sounds, some budgets have been investigating using harnesses similar to hanging roller coasters and perch seats, so that they can squeeze in double the number of passengers by having them all stand for the flight – it would prevent DVT!).

I would like to point out all these are my copyright, so if Stellios or Mr O’Leary decide to introduce them, then I accept all major world currencies, or lifetime free flights with a full-fares airline.

Labels: , , ,