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5 Countries, 5 Flights, 5 Days, With Ryanair (FR)  
User currently offlinegabrielchew From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 3311 posts, RR: 12
Posted (3 years 3 months 3 weeks 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 22280 times:

5 Countries, 5 Flights, 5 Days, with Ryanair (FR)



Ryanair is normally not my airline of choice. It’s true, I’ve never been fined for not checking in online, or having a bag a cm too big. I’ve never been delayed for hours (with FR), or left abandoned in the middle of a rural airfield. The truth is, I like the included benefits of ‘proper’ airlines like BA . I like not having to worry about being penalised for not played FRs ridiculous game. However, at the same time, if you DO play the FR game, you can definitely get excellent value for money.

So, fully knowing the challenge that faced me when flying the airline the World loves to hate/love, I spent a frustrating afternoon coming up with a sensible itinerary, incorporating a couple of necessities:
- All new airports
- Less than GBP25/flight
- Places that I actually want to go
- Enough time between flights to see a bit of what the cities have on offer
- Decent, affordable accommodation
- At least one route crossing the Mediterranean, as this is a ‘black hole’ in my Flight Memory map.

With these conditions in mind, I came up with the following itinerary:
London – Fez (Morocco) – Pisa – Malta – Bologna ….. Rimini – London



Stansted is not my preferred airport. In fact, of the main five London Airports, STN is the worst positioned. However, STN is FRs main London base, so it was to STN I was headed. I caught the train to Kings Cross, then took the Victoria Line to Tottenham Hale, before getting the Stansted Express up to STN. The journey was reasonable value, and fairly quick.

STN station
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7173.jpg

Surviving Ryanair, Lesson 1: Check in online, and print out your boarding pass

With my five boarding passes in hand, I was able to bypass the queues at the checkin desks, and head to security. I did notice quite a number of machines, resembling SSCI machines. Closer inspection revealed these to be “self service payment machines” for those that hadn’t printed their boarding passes etc.

Departures
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7175.jpg

Despite STN being a BAA airport (owners of LHR amongst others), bags for liquids at security were on sale (4 for a pound?). Stupidly, the machines selling them were located behind the security area, not before. Despite the small number of people waiting, security was slow. The guy in front of my had a tube of lip moisturiser (very small, and not really a liquid). The BAA woman bad a big deal about letting him through without using a bag. She went over and specially told the guy operating the x-ray that this was going through the machines….. seemed a bit odd.

Views after security
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7176.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7180.jpg

Surviving Ryanair, Lesson 2: Make sure your bag fits in the bag sizing thing, and weighs less than 10kg

Before this trip, I had specifically looked for a suitable carry on bag. I bought a ‘cabin max’ bag from Amazon, which seemed perfect at first. It fit the sizing thing perfectly, and weighed less than 1kg. the quality turned out to be terrible, and it was returned after the trip, but that has nothing to do with FR!

The pier that the Fez flight would be leaving from was characteristically no-frills.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7181.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7182.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7186.jpg

I managed to get to the gate area just as the queue started to form, and so I managed to get near the front of the queue. There was one FR check in woman speaking VERY patronisingly to a Moroccan lady who hadn’t checked in online, and had three carry on bags, and was struggling to come up with GBP 120 for the bags. This was the FR that we all love to hate! Before long our boarding passes were checked, and we were sent out onto the tarmac to queue. It was nice in this sunny weather, but being made to wait (we were there for about 10 minutes) can’t be nice in the winter.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7187.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7188.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7189.jpg

A US aircraft landing ahead of Obamas visit (I presume that was the reason)
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7190.jpg

May 2011
London Stansted (STN) – Fez ‘Sais’ (FEZ)
Ryanair FR 2772
Scheduled: 1515-1855 (3h40m)
Actual: 1519-1820 (3h01m)
B737-800 EI-DPW

Boarding. I was lucky enough to get a row to myself. The load was about 60%.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7193.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7194.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7195.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7196.jpg


Views from the plane
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7198.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7199.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7200.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7201.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7202.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7204.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7208.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7213.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7215.jpg

5* catering and IFE, FR style


I decided to bring along my own lunch


Nice, clean and yellow cabin. In contrast to the nasty FR staff on the ground, the cabin crew (on all my flights) were great. Friendly and approachable. The crew did two rounds of the trolley, although I didn’t participate. There was some excellent value duty free (1 litre vodka or gin for GBP12) – I couldn’t buy any though, as I was travelling with hand luggage only for the next 5 days.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7230.jpg


Views enroute
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7220.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7226.jpg


Approach into FEZ was dark, wet and stormy. Seems like there were a lot of thunderstorms in the area
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7229.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7232.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7234.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7235.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7239.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7241.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7242.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7243.jpg

We arrived at Fez airport a good half an hour ahead of schedule. Excellent timekeeping! Of course, padding your schedules helps. There was another FR and a RAM B737 on the tarmac.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7247.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7249.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7250.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7251.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7253.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7254.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7256.jpg

Immigration was fairly quick, and before long, I was in my pre-arranged taxi to my hotel (Dar Houdou, which I would thoroughly recommend) in Fez.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7350.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7257.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7262.jpg

A few photos from Fez
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7263.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7293.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7304.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7328.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7346.jpg

After a pleasant 24 hours in Fez, it was time to head onto my next destination, Pisa. When I was organising these flights, I was a bit concerned that I only had 12-odd hours in Pisa, most of which would be at night. After a bit of investigation, I decided that I’d just have enough time to fit in Pisa’s most famous sight, before heading back to the airport.

The drive back to Fez airport
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7352.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7353.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7355.jpg

The terminal buidling
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7356.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7358.jpg

It’s good to see someone encouraging the next generation!


An FR arriving
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7362.jpg

Fuzzy photo showing tonight’s departures to Madrid, Düsseldorf and Pisa.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7363.jpg

Departure lounge
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7364.jpg

I luckily ended up at the front of the queue for this flight as well. Unfortunately, the heavens had opened, and it was absolutely bucketing with rain outside, as well as strong winds.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7365.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7366.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7367.jpg

I made it onboard without drowning, and managed to get a window wing exit seat.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7368.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7370.jpg

May 2011
Fez ‘Sais’ (FEZ) – Pisa ‘Galileo Galilei’ (PSA)
Ryanair FR 9746
Scheduled: 1930-2330 (3h00m)
Actual: 1938-2256 (2h18m)
B737-800 EI-EML

The cabin filled up slowly, and we eventually left with a load of around 70%, mostly concentrated at the back. We took off into a stormy sky, and not long after leaving experienced some pretty rough turbulence.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7371.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7372.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7373.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7374.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7375.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7376.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7377.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7378.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7379.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7382.jpg

Not long after the seatbelt sign went off, I went to use the toilet at the front. Bizarrely, the first six or seen rows were completely empty. I asked the crew if I could moved to row one, and they said it wasn’t a problem. I decided that seat 2F is the best seat on FR. Great legroom, good view, seat back (well, wall mounted) pocket, and not viewable by the cabin crew. Perfect!
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7383.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7391.jpg


Againt my usual protocol whislt on no-frills flights, I decided to buy a beer (Euro 4.50!), pretty pricey for a can of not very cold beer, but I thought a beer would be nice.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7388.jpg

As we begun our approach to Pisa, a couple of people moved to the front for easier disembarkation. Annoyingly, an Italian couple decided to squish themselves next to me, even though there were plenty of open seats nearby. The guy in the middle then spend the whole approach leaning over me to see out. Get a window next time!
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7393.jpg

Once again, we arrived early, over 30 minutes early in fact. We were bussed to the terminal. I was the first person through immigration. Given the late time, I decided to take a taxi to my hotel. Pisa Airport is very close to the city. I was in my hotel lobby 17 minutes BEFORE the scheduled arrival time. Not bad!
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7397.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7399.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7401.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7402.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7403.jpg

A few shots of Pisa. I managed to be the first tourist of the day to climb the famous tower. It was a beautiful day – Pisa seemed like a great city.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7404.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7414.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7434.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7438.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7447.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7448.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7451.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7484.jpg

I took one of the frequent red busses back to the airport, where I arrived just over an hour before the flight. With no bags to check, and no boarding pass to print, I headed through security, and had a browse of the shops. I bought a mini bottle of limoncello for Euro 2.50.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7486.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7487.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7488.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7489.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7490.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7491.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7492.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7493.jpg

There was quite a large crowd gathering around the gate, and seating was very limited. Once the gate opened, everyone surged forward. I didn’t get on the first bus, but made the second.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7494.jpg

I was very disappointed to see that I’d be flying on the same aircraft that brought me over from Fez last night.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7495.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7496.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7497.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7498.jpg

May 2011
Pisa ‘Galileo Galilei’ (PSA) - Malta (MLA)
Ryanair FR 9992
Scheduled: 1200-1340 (1h40m)
Actual: 1213-1330 (1h17m)
B737-800 EI-EML

Most people were sat towards the front, and once again, I managed to get an empty row at the back. I was trying to work out which side would offer the best views of the city, and ended up moving from an F seat of an A. Good choice!
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7499.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7500.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7501.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7502.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7503.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7504.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7505.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7506.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7507.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7509.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7510.jpg

My move was rewarded with some great views of the city and tower.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7513.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7517.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7522.jpg


The Italian, Sicilian and Maltese coasts
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7527.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7531.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7532.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7534.jpg


Unfortunately, being on the “correct” side for departure mean that I was on the “wrong” side for arrival. No views of Malta for me!
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7537.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7538.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7539.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7540.jpg

Malta’s Luqa airport wasn’t terribly busy. There was an AZ Airbus, and a couple of other FRs around, but otherwise deserted.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7543.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7546.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7547.jpg


I had prebooked a shuttle to take me to my hotel in Sliema. Malta was very nice, hot and sunny, but with a plesant sea breeze. Costs were low, and the place was quite charming.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7556.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7563.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7572.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7580.jpg


Traffic coming out of MLA
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7588.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7589.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7590.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7599.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7608.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7640.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7644.jpg

I decided to save my Euros and took a public bus back to the Airport from Valetta. It took a while, but was cheap. It was interesting to see the backwaters of the Malta. I arrived 55 minutes before the flight, allowing me time to get through security, and join the back of an enormous queue.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7645.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7646.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7647.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7648.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7649.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7650.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7651.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7652.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7653.jpg
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7654.jpg

This would be a full flight. Once again, I missed the first bus, and got the second. I managed to get a window seat though, so all was not lost.

The interesting EK flight routing DXB-LCA-MLA
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7656.jpg

May 2011
Malta (MLA) – Bologna ‘Marconi di Bologna’ (BLQ)
Ryanair FR 9992
Scheduled: 1425-1615 (1h50m)
Actual: 1443-1618 (1h35m)
B737-800 EI-ENM

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http://my.flightmemory.com/shefgab Upcoming flights:LCY-ARN-AMS-LGW,STN-OTP-AMS-YUL,YQB-JFK-LAX-DUS-STN,LGW-DXB-BKK-HKG-
18 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlinegabrielchew From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 3311 posts, RR: 12
Reply 1, posted (3 years 3 months 3 weeks 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 22275 times:

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Gozo
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I was a bit worried that the weather in Bologna might be awful when I saw this
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Thankfully, we popped out the other side. The weather was wonderful! This would be the only one of the 5 FR flight was was behind schedule, but even then, only by 3 minutes.
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Bologna Airport was a bit of a mess. Not too busy (thankfully). There was a long walk from the arrivals gate to the airport bus. I managed to squeeze onto a very full bus just leaving for the station.
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I loved my short time in Bologna. By the time I arrived, most of the attractions were shut, but I had a great time wondering aroud the beautiful city centre. I had some great food as well.
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From Bologna I took a train over to Rimini on the Adriatic coast.
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The main reason to go to Rimini was as a jumping off point to visit San Marino, the world’s oldest republic. The place was packed with Russians, but was plesant nevertheless. San Marino is set in the most amazing mountains, with great sea views.
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After my short excursion to San Marino, I caught the bus back to Rimini, and headed to the long beach. after a short walk, I decided that I might try walking to the airport. I had around 5 hours, and the airport was around 7km away. On the way I stopped for a dew drinks, a snack, and dinner. Lovely evening!
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I arrived at Rimini Airport at 2045, so with enough time to get through security and to the gate. RMI has a wonderful outdoor viewing area with some great views of the tarmac. Interestingly, at the entrance of the security queue, once they saw my FR boarding pass, I was asked to weigh my carry on. I’d broken rule no 2, my bag was 11kg. I explained that my jeans and jumper were in the bag, and that if I took them out, it’d be under. The lady accepted my reasoning (although of course it lacked any logic to the eventual weighting of the aircraft) and let me through.
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My aircraft arriving, along with the HHN flight.
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There was an enormous queue for immigration, but eventually I made it to the gate.
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May 2011
Rimini ‘Federico Fellini’ (RMI) – London Stansted (STN)
Ryanair FR 8009
Scheduled: 2200-2315 (2h15m)
Actual: 2207-2302 (1h55m)
B737-800 EI-DPW


Someone had already sat in my favoured 2F, so I sat in 2A
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I managed to snooze through most of the flight. The woman sitting on the aisle asked the price of a G&T – I can’t remember the exact cost, but it was around GBP9 – crazyily high! I noticed that whenever the crew wanted a drink, the crew would announce turbulence, and turn on the seatbelt sign. All four cabin crew, along with a trolley would then barricade the cockpit door, whilst the flight crew were handed their drinks. It’s a shame that such paranoia of flight safety is now reflected in this sort of SOP. Only a few years ago, they let anyone come into the cockpit, now they need a whole elaborate scheme to give the pilot a cup of tea.

We arrived nearly 15 minutes ahead of schedule into STN. Only the front door was opened, so note, if you are arriving on the last flight of the day into STN (and maybe other hubs), that you’ll have a long wait if you’re at the back.
http://i129.photobucket.com/albums/p207/shefgab/FR%20Eurotrip/CIMG7850.jpg

I managed to just get a transit train to the main terminal, where I was confronted with an enormous queue for immigration. There was no queue at all for the biometric chip lanes, so I became a trailblazer and used them, saving a 15+ minute wait. Why are people so afraid to try these lanes? Same thing happened to me in FRA last week. Big queue for normal immigration, and no one else at the biometric lane. With immigration sorted, I managed to catch the last train into London that connected with the last Victoria Line train of the evening.

So, what did I think of Ryanair? Normally, FR is my last choice of airline, and until this trip, I’d only used them to Dublin and back. However, this trip showed that through padding of schedules, and the use of small rural airfields, you can get some great value on time fares. Cabin crew were nearly always friendly, despite the very tiring and demanding work they do.


Comments and questions welcome!



http://my.flightmemory.com/shefgab Upcoming flights:LCY-ARN-AMS-LGW,STN-OTP-AMS-YUL,YQB-JFK-LAX-DUS-STN,LGW-DXB-BKK-HKG-
User currently offlinejlbmedia From United States of America, joined Jun 2002, 622 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (3 years 3 months 3 weeks 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 22086 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

I really enjoyed your report. Thanks for sharing it with us!


JLB54061
User currently offlinejoffie From Australia, joined Mar 2006, 812 posts, RR: 2
Reply 3, posted (3 years 3 months 3 weeks 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 22050 times:

Fun to read. I am very suprized that they have the in flight magazine, and let you keep it if you want.

User currently offlinegabrielchew From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 3311 posts, RR: 12
Reply 4, posted (3 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 21875 times:

Quoting jlbmedia (Reply 2):
I really enjoyed your report. Thanks for sharing it with us!

No problem, glad you liked it

Quoting joffie (Reply 3):
Fun to read. I am very suprized that they have the in flight magazine, and let you keep it if you want.

Well, they try and collect them afterwards. If you want to keep it, you have to hide it!



http://my.flightmemory.com/shefgab Upcoming flights:LCY-ARN-AMS-LGW,STN-OTP-AMS-YUL,YQB-JFK-LAX-DUS-STN,LGW-DXB-BKK-HKG-
User currently offlineMSS658 From Belgium, joined Oct 2010, 2474 posts, RR: 16
Reply 5, posted (3 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 21832 times:

Nice report, thanks for sharing. Tough being not a FR fan at all, I do like the non-aviation pics.  


Next trip report: Well worn A330s and Hassle free MUC transfer
User currently offlineSPLTA From Poland, joined Jun 2011, 121 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (3 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 21781 times:

Hello gabrielchew,

I enjoyed your TR a lot. Nice pictures of the places you visited during the trip!

Thanks for sharing.

Regards,
SPLTA


User currently offlineba724 From Australia, joined Nov 2010, 44 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (3 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 21752 times:

A good read,you certainly covered a fair bit of territory travelling light! Couldn't believe how steep that street was in Malta,and how narrow too! almost expected to see washing strung out from one side to the other.Being from the other side of the world I am unfamiliar with the way Ryanair works as far as seating goes,so is it a first on board best dressed system or can you reseve a seat of your choice(at a price of course).??..Best from Dave

User currently offlineSultanils From Belgium, joined Mar 2010, 1746 posts, RR: 30
Reply 8, posted (3 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 21679 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Hello Gabriel,

Thanks for this nice FR report. In fact your conclusion is found right at the start:

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
if you DO play the FR game, you can definitely get excellent value for money.

It hits the nail on the head. Having had only a few FR flights (CRL-DUB-CRL and CRL-FAO-CRL), I cannot fault them on anything either. Flights were on time, cheap (even with all costs & fees) and I got there and back safe so no complaints here.

I like the pic of STN with all the row dividers and 'row 57, 58, 59' above: looks just like queuing in an amusement park or something, very funny.

  

Sultanils



In thrust we trust.
User currently offlineFlyingFinn76 From Finland, joined Jun 2009, 1706 posts, RR: 30
Reply 9, posted (3 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 21578 times:

Hi Gab,

That's what I call a very nice way to spend five days! Looks like you even managed to stick to a suitably frugal budget while doing so! Very nice images from around the region, well done.

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
)The truth is, I like the included benefits of ‘proper’ airlines like BA . I like not having to worry about being penalised for not played FRs ridiculous game. However, at the same time, if you DO play the FR game, you can definitely get excellent value for money.

My sentiments exactly. I don't really understand why people keep complaining about them - they should know that they are nasty and have strict rules. Play by them and things will usually work out just fine. Don't play by them by trying to sneak in three pieces of luggage and you pay the price (quite literally!).

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
With these conditions in mind, I came up with the following itinerary:
London – Fez (Morocco) – Pisa – Malta – Bologna ….. Rimini – London

That's a classy routing! Love it. Quite long flights there as well, so good value for money.

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
The pier that the Fez flight would be leaving from was characteristically no-frills.

Hey, the other No. 1 Traveler Stansted lounge is there, over at gate 49. Will be spending some three hours there next weekend!

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
Approach into FEZ was dark, wet and stormy. Seems like there were a lot of thunderstorms in the area

Some very pretty scenery on approach, though.

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
Againt my usual protocol whislt on no-frills flights, I decided to buy a beer (Euro 4.50!), pretty pricey for a can of not very cold beer, but I thought a beer would be nice.

That's one of my pet peeves with FR - the beer seems to always be lukewarm.

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
. I was in my hotel lobby 17 minutes BEFORE the scheduled arrival time. Not bad!

Now that's a very good achievement. Considering how close PSA is to the city you could've probably walked it and still been there at the actual arrival time  .

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
. It was a beautiful day – Pisa seemed like a great city.

Yeah, it is nice all right, but there really isn't that much to it. You can cover the sights in less than a day. Luckily Florence is just a short train ride away...

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
There was quite a large crowd gathering around the gate, and seating was very limited. Once the gate opened, everyone surged forward.

PSA airport is quite a dump - the departure area is just too small and full of shops. The lounge was quite okay, though.

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
The interesting EK flight routing DXB-LCA-MLA

The good thing is that since MLA-LCA is nowadays an intra-EU flight they sell tickets for just that stretch as well. Markus wrote a report about it some years ago.

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
I had some great food as well.

Yes, Bologna is THE place for that!

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
I had around 5 hours, and the airport was around 7km away. On the way I stopped for a dew drinks, a snack, and dinner. Lovely evening!

Well done. I've walked to airports in various places a few times - it is always a nice, different experience when arriving on foot.

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
asked the price of a G&T – I can’t remember the exact cost, but it was around GBP9 – crazyily high!

I actually had one (with lukewarm Tonic of course) on a FR flight this spring, I think it was around 8-9 EUR!

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
Why are people so afraid to try these lanes?

For the same reason they are afraid to try self service checkin kiosks. They are no good for me since I travel around the EU using my ID card, though.


User currently offlineCaptainRed From Germany, joined Oct 2010, 698 posts, RR: 21
Reply 10, posted (3 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 21409 times:

Hi gabrielchew,

interesting trip report with some great pictures. Certainly a great way to spend a few days.

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
However, at the same time, if you DO play the FR game, you can definitely get excellent value for money.

I agree completely with you here. Their rules are all known, just stick to them and you will be fine. I also never had any bigger problems with FR. Although I would add another survival lesson: Nr. 3: Always buy priority, makes the boarding process a lot easier...

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
With these conditions in mind, I came up with the following itinerary:
London – Fez (Morocco) – Pisa – Malta – Bologna ….. Rimini – London

Excellent routing, long flights, interesting cities, different countries, so a lot of diversity, sounds like fun... and gives me some ideas for future flying.

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
Despite STN being a BAA airport (owners of LHR amongst others), bags for liquids at security were on sale (4 for a pound?).

That's bad, they must have changed that just recently, last time I was at STN they distributed the bags free of charge.

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
Approach into FEZ was dark, wet and stormy. Seems like there were a lot of thunderstorms in the area

But looks like an interesting approach, amazing how green the landscape is there, certainly not what one would expect in Morocco.

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
I decided to buy a beer (Euro 4.50!), pretty pricey for a can of not very cold beer, but I thought a beer would be nice.

Now that's indeed expensive, and Peroni isn't exactly the best beer around.

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
Malta was very nice, hot and sunny, but with a plesant sea breeze. Costs were low, and the place was quite charming.

Yes, your pictures look great. Malta is also very high on my to-travel-list.

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 1):
The main reason to go to Rimini was as a jumping off point to visit San Marino, the world’s oldest republic.

Good idea to visit San Marino, indeed an amazing place. I have been there a few times when I was still a child and was on holidays with my parents in Rimini. The trip to San Marino was always a highlight during the holidays back then.

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
Cabin crew were nearly always friendly

Yes, can also agree with that. With only a few exceptions most of the crew members I have encountered so far on FR were very nice and friendly.

Thanks again for this nice report and greetings
CaptainRed


User currently offlinegabrielchew From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 3311 posts, RR: 12
Reply 11, posted (3 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 21367 times:

Quoting MSS658 (Reply 5):
Nice report, thanks for sharing. Tough being not a FR fan at all, I do like the non-aviation pics.
Quoting SPLTA (Reply 6):

I enjoyed your TR a lot. Nice pictures of the places you visited during the trip!

Gald you liked the photos!

Quoting ba724 (Reply 7):
Being from the other side of the world I am unfamiliar with the way Ryanair works as far as seating goes,so is it a first on board best dressed system or can you reseve a seat of your choice(at a price of course).??

You can buy priority boarding for a few euros, but it's all free seating, so you can end up with a god seat even if you don't buy priority boarding.

Quoting Sultanils (Reply 8):
I like the pic of STN with all the row dividers and 'row 57, 58, 59' above: looks just like queuing in an amusement park or something, very funny.

Except STN isn't very fun at all!

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 9):
u even managed to stick to a suitably frugal budget while doing so! Very nice images from around the region, well done.

Yes, the emphasis was on cheap and cheerful.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 9):

That's a classy routing! Love it. Quite long flights there as well, so good value for money.

Well the cheapest flights were also the longers. STN-FEZ was only GBP12 all in!

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 9):

The good thing is that since MLA-LCA is nowadays an intra-EU flight they sell tickets for just that stretch as well. Markus wrote a report about it some years ago.

I'd quite like to fly that route some day.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 9):

I actually had one (with lukewarm Tonic of course) on a FR flight this spring, I think it was around 8-9 EUR!

Yikes! I can manage at least 3 G&Ts on an average European flight, so flying with BA definately is a good choice!

Quoting CaptainRed (Reply 10):

interesting trip report with some great pictures. Certainly a great way to spend a few days.

Thanks. It was a nice trip. I've never been on a holiday before with an international flight everyday!

Quoting CaptainRed (Reply 10):

Excellent routing, long flights, interesting cities, different countries, so a lot of diversity, sounds like fun... and gives me some ideas for future flying.

Yes, the routing was good, although I'm a little dissapointed that I ended up going to Italy twice.



http://my.flightmemory.com/shefgab Upcoming flights:LCY-ARN-AMS-LGW,STN-OTP-AMS-YUL,YQB-JFK-LAX-DUS-STN,LGW-DXB-BKK-HKG-
User currently offlineBAW076 From UK - Scotland, joined Aug 2006, 750 posts, RR: 26
Reply 12, posted (3 years 3 months 3 weeks 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 21115 times:

Excellent trip report and superb pics!

Looked like a great trip!

Interesting how you seem to get the same aircraft!

EI-DPW STN-FEZ and RMI-STN
EI-EML FEZ-PSA and PSA-MLA

Cheers,

Chris.



N754AN (x2), G-CPEL, G-MIDE, G-BPEC, G-BZHC, EI-DCH, LN-KKN, G-VIIW, G-BNLT, G-DBCA, G-MEDE, G-DBCE, G-MIDP.
User currently offlinegabrielchew From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 3311 posts, RR: 12
Reply 13, posted (3 years 3 months 3 weeks 15 hours ago) and read 20978 times:

Quoting BAW076 (Reply 12):
Excellent trip report and superb pics!

Thanks!

Quoting BAW076 (Reply 12):
Interesting how you seem to get the same aircraft!

EI-DPW STN-FEZ and RMI-STN
EI-EML FEZ-PSA and PSA-MLA

Sorry, that was a typo. RMI-STN was actually EI-EKR. I copy and pasted the flight info, but forgot to change the reg! But yes, the FEZ-PSA-MLA was all the same aircraft - kind of annoying!



http://my.flightmemory.com/shefgab Upcoming flights:LCY-ARN-AMS-LGW,STN-OTP-AMS-YUL,YQB-JFK-LAX-DUS-STN,LGW-DXB-BKK-HKG-
User currently offlineeicvd From Ireland, joined Mar 2008, 2174 posts, RR: 5
Reply 14, posted (3 years 3 months 3 weeks 14 hours ago) and read 20934 times:

Hi gabrielchew
Thanks for posting another excellent trip report, some really nice non-aviation pics too.

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 1):
Only the front door was opened, so note, if you are arriving on the last flight of the day into STN (and maybe other hubs), that you’ll have a long wait if you’re at the back.

I flew home on the last LGW-DUB flight on tuesday & I noticed this too. Did your flight have the mobile airstairs brought over or did the a/c use its own stairs?


User currently offlinePlymSpotter From Spain, joined Jun 2004, 11672 posts, RR: 60
Reply 15, posted (3 years 3 months 3 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 20882 times:

Hi Gabriel,

A very nice report with some excellent pictures, some of which have made me rather hungry now   Ryanair offer amazing value if you follow those simple rules.

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
I was in my hotel lobby 17 minutes BEFORE the scheduled arrival time. Not bad!

I love it when that happens, most of my Ryanair flights have been pretty early. Did they play that little 'on time' fanfare?

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
I noticed that whenever the crew wanted a drink, the crew would announce turbulence, and turn on the seatbelt sign. All four cabin crew, along with a trolley would then barricade the cockpit door, whilst the flight crew were handed their drinks. It’s a shame that such paranoia of flight safety is now reflected in this sort of SOP. Only a few years ago, they let anyone come into the cockpit, now they need a whole elaborate scheme to give the pilot a cup of tea.

To me this is not just paranoia, but foolish and counterproductive. Think how many people have seen them do this and in the future may ignore the seat-belt signs and turbulence warnings when they actually need to be heeded.

Quoting gabrielchew (Thread starter):
There was no queue at all for the biometric chip lanes, so I became a trailblazer and used them, saving a 15+ minute wait. Why are people so afraid to try these lanes?

A lot of people still have the old style passports; my old one didn't expire until 2015 but was not compatible. I filled it up and my new one does, which makes getting back into the UK a breeze as you found.

Thanks for putting this together, a pleasure to read.


Dan  



...love is just a camouflage for what resembles rage again...
User currently offlinelychemsa From United States of America, joined Oct 2009, 1221 posts, RR: 3
Reply 16, posted (3 years 3 months 3 weeks 6 hours ago) and read 20766 times:

Wow. Fantastic. Makes me want to do the same one day. Except I hate the yellow cabin.

User currently offlinePalmjet From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2001, 1223 posts, RR: 17
Reply 17, posted (3 years 3 months 3 weeks 6 hours ago) and read 20746 times:

Hi Gabrielchew - very nice report and what a great set of flights. Fez looked very interesting. Thanks also for the destination snaps. I am glad you enjoyed Pisa. I went there in 2005 and apart from the area around the leaning tower, I found a lot of Pisa to be quite average in most respects - perhaps because I had just come from nearby Florence, which I found much more stunning and interesting. Thanks for all the interesting pics as well.


Eastern - Number One To The Sun
User currently offlinegabrielchew From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 3311 posts, RR: 12
Reply 18, posted (3 years 3 months 2 weeks 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 20652 times:

Quoting eicvd (Reply 14):

Thanks for posting another excellent trip report, some really nice non-aviation pics too.

No problem!

Quoting eicvd (Reply 14):

I flew home on the last LGW-DUB flight on tuesday & I noticed this too. Did your flight have the mobile airstairs brought over or did the a/c use its own stairs?

It used the inbuilt stairs

Quoting PlymSpotter (Reply 15):

A very nice report with some excellent pictures, some of which have made me rather hungry now

I did have some very nice food

Quoting PlymSpotter (Reply 15):
Did they play that little 'on time' fanfare?

Groan, yes!

Quoting PlymSpotter (Reply 15):

Thanks for putting this together, a pleasure to read.

No problem!

Quoting lychemsa (Reply 16):
Wow. Fantastic. Makes me want to do the same one day. Except I hate the yellow cabin.

The yelloe cabin takes a bit of getting used to, but the low fares are worth it!

Quoting Palmjet (Reply 17):
very nice report

Thanks

Quoting Palmjet (Reply 17):
Fez looked very interesting.

It was, a facinating place



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