This one was a freebie - well sort of. I did notice my free ticket included quite a few non government charges, - like a £4 fee to change my free ticket from pounds to euros. Hum..... Anyway still fantastic value.
Checkin was completed in around five minutes, one desk open - which was more than adequet. Sadly the agent didn't really want to be there at 5am, nor did I - but she wanted to work there.
Security was much tighter than the usual very half hearted attempts at STN. I was given a very thorough frisk and for PR purposes the soles of my shoes checked.
The new Satalite 3 effectively is the Ryanair Pier, much along the lines of a US Airport. Although it is linked by the automatic train, that system is not used and passengers have to walk. It's not a great hike, maybe 5 minutes. The only down side is Stansted used to be quite nice because there were no long great corridors, everything was compact and long distances were covered by train. Still it's no hardship.
The new satalite is similar to the old ones, except all the services are in the middle not the sides and there is a low rise annex at the end which houses a number of gates. It seems not even a third extention is big enough to house the growth.
Ryanair have improved the boarding process. Quite simply they now have cattle grids you have to walk round before you can reach the gate. It means people are forced to queue and not all push and shuve their way to the front en-masse. It was just like boarding a normal airline, not anything like Ryanair!
The crew were actually standing at the door welcoming passengers aboard quite warmly - again not very budget airline!
We left at 0650 exactly, quite unusual for STN at that time of day. Unfortunately the aircraft was not very clean. The wall was all dirty as was my tray. It seemed somebody had spilt a drink and nobody had cleaned it. There were also sweet wrappers on the floor.
The crew came round and distributed menus. It was as follows:
Warm Bacon Baguette £4
BLT Roll £4
Cheese and Ham Sub £4
Chicken, Sweetcorn, Mayo, Green Leaf and Black Pepper Sub £4
Mozzarella, Tomato and Basil Sub £4
Roasted Breat of Chicken Salad £6
Poached Salmon Salard £6
They took orders for the Hot Food waitress style, then came round with the drinks trolley. They had a deal on whisky, ay 7am there weren't too many takers. £1.50 for a tea is a rip off, even though it's a big tea.
The crew were infact very good, much like to Ryanair of old. They were actually 'serving' the passengers, even if there was a certain "Mrs Doyle" undertone.
They came round with bin liners frequently to take rubbish, before coming round with the duty free trolly, but there's no brosure anymore.
Although a bit dirty, the cabin was well kept if not a bit dated by look. The Ryanair blue and yellow polyester uniforms are right from the 1970's and look daft. There was about a 1/3 load.
There was very little cloud - which gave great views of the alps. Still very green, with snow caps. Landing was smooth and roll surprisingly long. Noticed the Austrian Airline DC3 parted and an old warbird in a hanger.
The piped musak played as we left. Overall Ryanair were surprisingly good, it seems an awful lot of attention has been paid to improving cabin service - which traditionally Ryanair were excellent at - but lost big time with their expansion.
The return was much the same, but busier. Shockingly for an evening flight, we actually arrived early! The rego for that flight was EI-CSR for anyone interested.
Hope you enjoy!