Airdolomiti From Italy, joined May 2003, 682 posts, RR: 10 Posted (10 years 5 months 4 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 6600 times:
this is my first trip report
I decided a few months ago that I had to go to this year's Paris Air Show, I went to the ILA in Berlin last year and knew that any air show is great for an airliner buff.
Since I was going with a friend who lives in Brescia, near Bergamo, I figured I'd go with Ryanair, who have a base at Bergamo Orio al Serio (BGY) and fly to Paris/Beauvais (BVA) from there. Found a great fare, €10 + taxes return, for a grand total of €39! Not too bad...
So on June 14th the two of us went to BGY very early since there were no trains from Brescia to Bergamo that day, and we could only get a lift at about 8am. We did get over the 2 hours of waiting and even got some decent photos of aircraft to be seen there, including 2 HLX 737-700s, an MNG pax 737-400, and the usual mix of Gandalf Do328's and Volare A320s.
Before accessing the check in area I had to get my checked luggage through an X-ray machine. They probably didn't have those machines in the luggage sorting system. Check-in was smooth, after about 15 minutes in the queue I got my boarding pass in a couple of minutes. Waited for another half hour before going through the security check (they could use a couple more bars in Bergamo, there was only one) and got up into the departures area. From there I had a nice view of the apron and saw my aircraft landing.
Boarding began a few minutes late, and so we were driven to the aircraft (parked at a remote of stand of course), EI-CSS. We just missed the first bus so we were among the last people to get onboard, which means that all window seats were taken. I managed to get 26D and my friend sat across the aisle in 26C. The flight was full.
Many passengers were families with one or two kids, probably first timers After a lengthy wait before taxiing, we finally took off into the clear blue sky. I found the service to be pleasant, for a no-frills airline. Even though they made you pay for everything, the flight attendants were very friendly and I got a good impression. The aircraft was very very clean and the seats quite comfortable, certainly more than I expected. For such a low fare I really didn't expect such a pleasant experience
In spite of the late departure, we arrived a few minutes ahead of schedule. Just when the aircraft touched down, 99% of the passengers clapped their hands to the pilots (I resisted to that).
The arrival airport, however, was an entirely different story. Beauvais is a really tiny airport, even smaller than I expected, with barely enough apron space for 3 737s...Parked next to us was EI-CJD, the FR 737-200 in the special Eircell markings.
The baggage claim area at Beauvais has two conveyor belts. Even though we were the only arriving flight at that time, it still took about 20 minutes before I got my luggage. Outside the baggage claim, I bought two tickets for the bus to and from Paris, €10 each, €20 total - that's double the price of my flights (w/out tax)!
The bus ride to Porte Maillot took about 1h 10 minutes, nothing to say about that.
The airshow was nice, though the flight displays were a bit of a repeat of what I saw in Berlin last year (A340-600, A318, Eurofighter...), but I saw some interesting stuff anyway. I was really pleased to see the 777-300ER, Concorde F-BTSD (sad to see it parked for good, but it still looked magnificent), the Embraer 170, plus all the other aircraft that were there, especially a couple of helis from the Italian Navy, the MB339 and 346, and the ATR42MP of the Guardia di Finanza.
Overall a nice show, I'm sure I'll go to the 2005 one (should have the A380 by then!), and to the ILA and Farnborough 2004.
The flight back to Bergamo was much the same as the outbound one, with a few differences though.
Check-in at Beauvais took an eternity, due to there being only 2 desks and loads of people. I had to wait about 40 minutes before my turn, but then the operation was a breeze. Got a funny generic boarding pass, with only the flight #, destination and passenger name hand-written by the agent. The only other time I got something similar was in Queenstown airport (NZ) for my Origin Pacific flight to CHC...
I managed to get robbed of €7,50 at the airport bar, for a sandwich and a 1/2 liter of water. After finishing the cold sandwich, I passed through security and got into the departure greenhouse, I mean area. Well, to be more precise, one part was actually air conditioned, but full to the brim with people without a single seat available. Everyone else was in an extension of the building, essentially a tent, which was quite hot.
Parked on the apron was EI-CJD (again!), and at about 13:30 our aircraft came in. It was EI-CSV, wearing a special "Nyköping" sticker (can't find a photo of it on a.net ). Standing in the crowd before Gate B (one of THREE gates), was some sort of religious group, probably on a pilgrimage to somewhere in Italy, who started singing a song and went on for several minutes. Quite fun to hear, really Anyway, this time around I was one of the first to board and got me seat 20A, while my friend got 21A (we both wanted window seats), which gave me a good view of the wing whilst still being able to see the ground below me. Sitting next to me were two people from that group I saw before, luckily none of them felt like singing during the flight.
The flight left 20 minutes late, and after leveling off, inflight service started. I bought a chocolate bar and a Heineken for about €5.50, not really a bargain admittedly, but I was hungry and thirsty. The F/A's were again friendly and confirmed my positive impression. The chief purser had a lovely Irish accent
Shortly before starting our descent into Bergamo, we passed over Zurich, and I managed to see ZRH airport from above, pretty cool! We landed at BGY bang on time, this time only a few people clapped, and we quickly deplaned. Baggage claim took a little longer than at BVA, and then I got to the train station to catch my train back home to Venice.
Overall I was pleasantly surprised with Ryanair, after hearing mixed comments about them I was really curious to find out just how good or bad they really are. I got a general impression of professionalism, and found the crew and ground agents to be friendly.
I will certainly fly them again if I find a low fare such as this one, and if the departure/arrival airports are convenient!
Hope you enjoyed my report, and watch out for my next one, which will be about the "other extreme" of flight, BA001
Teva From France, joined Jan 2001, 1869 posts, RR: 17 Reply 1, posted (10 years 5 months 4 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 6494 times:
This report is very interesting.
About Ryanair, most of the complaints are not about the flight itself (I enjoyed a flt to Prestwick a few years ago). They are about what they promise and what you get.
For me, Beauvais is not Paris.
Carcassonne is not Toulouse.
And the list is long.
As you said, the price of you bus to Paris was more than your flight. Plus the time you lose. Plus the cost of food and drink on board.
As a result, sometimes, AF or BA can be cheaper than Ryanair.
And of course, forget about connecting flights.
Another complaint about Ryanair is that they racket the airports. There are several investigations, including by the European administration, to verify if it is legal or not. They call the money they get from the airports "Marketing fees" . But it is seen as an illegal subsidy.
Ecoute les orgues, Elles jouent pour toi...C'est le requiem pour un con
TriStar500 From Germany, joined Nov 1999, 4690 posts, RR: 45 Reply 2, posted (10 years 5 months 4 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 6477 times:
Thank you for a very interesting trip report!
I have to agree with Teva, one should always take into account that travelling by low cost carriers - and FR in particular - bears a lot of hidden cost, which may not be so evident upon booking.
With a lot of good fares with "full frills" carriers available right now, I always check them first before I decide to go out of my wy to fly from tertiary airports to tertiary airports. I rather pay a little more and spend less time with ground transportation.
But sometimes you can't beat low cost prices - 39 Euros for a return flight from Bergamo to somewhere north of Paris is a pretty sweet deal.
Homer: Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!
Airdolomiti From Italy, joined May 2003, 682 posts, RR: 10 Reply 4, posted (10 years 5 months 3 weeks 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 6386 times:
Yes the fact that FR flies to secondary airports is a disadvantage most of the time but in this case I found it to be convenient enough for my needs (airport and fare, since my friend and I didn't want to spend much), and I found no better fare with regular airlines.
The seats surprised me, I am not exactly short (6' 1'') but they were pretty good for a 1h flight. I have memories of much worse seats flying with world-class airlines (BA just to name one)!
I prefer flying with all-frills carriers, indeed this was my first time ever on a no-frills airline...
Airblue From San Marino, joined May 2001, 1825 posts, RR: 12 Reply 5, posted (10 years 5 months 3 weeks 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 6353 times:
Your back flight was scheduled with EI-CST but due to a tech fault the plane was replaced with EI-CSV from STN where it was scheduled as bank-up plane for that day.
honestly FR is not as bad as people said or as good as you wrote.
They try to offer you the lower fares of Europe with the n.1 on time performance and a friendly service. No more, no less