Europe’s favourite airline?



December 18, 2015


Dear Sir

I’m a frequent flyer and I often use Ryanair because of their prices and the availability of certain destinations.

However, I did feel the need to put pen to paper (well, finger to ipad) while waiting for my last delayed flight from Birmingham (December 18). And to point the following things out, I will also base my comments on the fact that I have had to fly (I mean HAD to fly, meaning no other option available) with Ryanair seven times in the past two months for both pleasure and business reasons.

When I use Ryanair I do so knowing perfectly well what I’m in for. The airline has made a few minor improvements in recent months, but still falls short of making it an enjoyable experience. So my first comment is scrap the ‘Sit back, relax and enjoy your flight’ at the end of the safety drill – I know damn well you won’t let me relax because there are more annoying speaker announcements during you flights (hot meal, cold meal, drinks, fantastic Duty Free discounts, scratch cards, use our website, use our recommended car rental, etc….) than during an England match at Wembley.

Despite the new allocated seating system, there is still a fight to be the first in the queue so you can get your hand luggage in one of the overhead compartments. Add this to the fact that Ryanair operates on a ‘time on the ground is money lost’ motto, then you practically crossover with passengers leaving the plane when you’re boarding. The boarding time is reduced to practically 20 minutes – which in practice in unachievable when you have over 150 people finding their seats, passengers who have special needs, children and the elderly.

Regardless of what time you land, look at your watch next time you fly Ryanair, the take-off time in almost consistently 10 minutes late while they ‘make-up for’ as I’ll explain later.

I won’t even go into the luggage allowance policy which aggravates the situation as everyone is trying to get away with cabin luggage only – and now you’re allowed a second bag two (whoopee).

But you get what you pay for and what is available – I know, and if I dare to forget I’d have the small print to look at (another pastime during my latest Ryanair delay).

Which brings me to Mr O’Leary’s nerve-wrecking publicity machine. I cannot name a single person who regards Ryanair as their ‘favorite’ airline – the cheapest, at times the most convenient, but never the favorite.

Ryanair inundates you with facts (see their magazine and listen to the irritating trumpet-blowing adverts during the flights) claiming their punctuality is practically perfect – well over 90%. Well that’s certainly not my experience.

Out of the past seven Ryanair flights I have HAD to take, three were delayed (two hours in Birmingham as pointed out earlier, three hours in Paris-Beauvais and one hour in Rome Ciampino). Now three delays out of seven flights put Ryanair’s record with me more in the region of 60%, so please drop the horrible trumpet celebrations every time you land! After all you’ve only done what an airline is obliged to do – get you somewhere on time.

Ryanair cheat a lot on this too. Haven’t you noticed that your flight times are around 15 to 30 minutes longer than with other companies? That allows them for the delays that accumulate during the day, meaning evening flights (my case in Birmingham) have all the cards to end up delayed.

And I cannot finish my little rant without mentioning some of the ‘airports’ Ryanair use. I fully understand many of them are revamped WWII hangars, but surely safety is real issue nowadays regardless of the airport’s budget.

Birmingham is decent, so is Alicante, but my little ordeal in Rome Ciampino was just plain dangerous. A departure lounge the size of a two tennis courts had to cope with eight flights boarding at once (including my delayed flight). This means approximately 1,200 people crammed into a small space allowing for departure desks too. Oh, and only 20 seats in sight!

I’ve felt more comfortable on the tube in a rush hour. Heaven forbid if anyone decided to shout fire! It would have been a massacre of trampled-over bodies.

Can you imagine what happened when suddenly two flights swapped gates? Mamma Mia! as they say in Rome.

Not Ryanair’s fault? We’ll it’s the airport they use in Rome and seven of the flights were theirs’- so you tell me.

But I know I should expect this from Ryanair, I don’t complain about the service, I got what I paid for, but please, please don’t keep trying to fool us into thinking your brilliant at this. I won’t venture to compare with the beautiful service onboard Emirates, but you even fall well back in your own league – Easyjet, Monarch, Vueling and Norwegian well ahead of you.

And why do I write all this to a newspaper and not Ryanair complaints? Anyone who has ever attempted to do so will soon understand me. Oh, by the way, while I’m writing this my flight’s just been delayed another 30 minutes, but I won’t carry on, I’m off to get a pair of sunglasses to protect my eyesight from the vile yellow cabin decor!

John Hopkins

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  1. Maybe next time you want to fly somewhere and it involves Ryanair, you should just drive instead ? or take an Iberia flight via Madrid !! For someone who “I don’t complain about the service” you really do complain a lot ! and trying to compare Ryanair to Emirates is just ridiculous, most people who fly Ryanair know what they are getting for their money and understand that it is basically just a “bus service” for short haul passengers.


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