Rather than go through a whole report, I've decided to write a piece about Ryanair, mainly based on my last flight with them. If you love the airline it's probably best to leave the topic now
The Green light flashes on the screen that means the aircraft is boarding, or actually has just arrived for its 25 minute turnaround. It’s now a race; can the passengers in their new found animalistic ways form a stampede and hurl towards the poor gate agent before the chocks have been set on the aircraft? Yes, you’ve guessed it, another Ryanair 737-800 has arrived.
Ryanair, the European low cost airline that seems to be expanding scarily fast is supposed to have some form of organisation with its boarding but this seems to have been forgotten as a mass of passengers swamp the small gate area. Now there’s a slight problem, the aircraft hasn’t even opened its doors yet and it doesn’t take the smartest of people to figure there are cattle, sorry passengers to get off before they even think of opening the gates to set our lot free.
So, I have found myself swept along with the other passengers and we now stand there like lemons waiting for something to happen. Passengers look around and tap their feet whilst the gate agent looks anxious even though this is obviously a regular occurrence for her. It is at this point that I start to question what the aviation industry is coming to. Everyone is already stressed and that’s just trying to get onto the aircraft!
The gate is eventually opened and everyone finds new enthusiasm to help them get to the gate quicker. After a minute or so the airport opens two gates to cope, which is quite impressive considering that the airline is too cheap to open more than two check-in desks per flight at most departure points.
I eventually reach the door out to the apron and after having my boarding passed torn quickly I find myself in stage 2 of “let’s try and get on that aircraft quicker than everyone else” a game I figure Ryanair frequent flyers must have medals for. People are actually running, yes running to get on the plane. It isn’t raining, snowing or haling in fact it is a beautiful summer’s evening but some feel the need to actually run towards the steps as if it is some kind of odd destiny they hold.
I climb the rear steps; the front looked like it had the rest of the flight trying to squeeze up at once, and am greeted by the robot (F/A) in the cabin who barely glances at me before I enter the cabin. Yes, no checking there, isn’t that supposed to be done? In fact you will hear the result of this in my next paragraph. So I eventually find a seat, a window, I am lucky this time and squeeze in.
The first thing I’m greeted with is the safety instructions plastered over the seatback. I am lucky though as I have managed to get on an aircraft with the old interior meaning it has some reminders of being a plane. Just. This is like a bus service, a bad one at that.
Some awfully cheap shopping music plays amongst constant and frustrating recorded announcements about things Ryanair is trying to sell. Then comes the announcement asking all passengers going to Dublin to get off the plane. Hang on, did I hear that correctly? Yes, they have managed to miss all signs up and get through two different
people and onto our plane to London Stansted! We are delayed 40 minutes or so but Dublin is at a 1 hour 30 minute delay.
The doors are eventually shut and the engines start up. The robots take to their positions albeit late, as on the flight out, so they come running down the aisle trying to point out exits. The safety is a recorded announcement except Ryanair didn’t use a real person for the recording, oh no, a computer generated voice. Sometimes you just have to laugh.
We start to move and the robots run back to their seats as we start to taxi Ryanair style. This means speeds well above the limit; it really is no surprise flights have been charged for speeding by police in England. One of my travelling companions even asked on the flight out if we were taking off!
We make it to the threshold in record time and swing onto the runway for a rolling takeoff. No such thing as worrying about engine wear at this airline as we are once again treated to a powerful and steep departure. That was the only bit of the flight I actually enjoyed. Unfortunately it gets worse.
We hear constant sales announcements telling us to look in our magazines for the prices and what’s on offer but there is a slight problem. No magazine. Like on the flight out one of these fails to be seen, a move that baffles me, as even for duty free we don’t have a clue what they’re offering. Surely a small and light menu card should be placed somewhere.
The robots begin their service which they are so incredibly slow at I found it hard not to laugh. I decided to time them as there wasn’t much else to do and it took them an impressive 12 minutes to serve 3 rows, only 2 of which actually wanted anything. You see, while there are no pricelists for us it seems the ones for the crew are not easy to understand. One of them runs down the aisle shouting how much a cup of coffee is whilst the other tries to add up what’s owed. What’s the result? An absolute mess! They should take a leaf out of easyJet’s book.
As we start our approach and the seatbelt signs go on one robot flies along the whole cabin murmuring “Duty Free”. Unsurprisingly they sell nothing. The other robots, I call them this as they show no sign of life for the entire 2 hour period, come rushing through behind her checking the cabin for landing. “Seats for landing” is called out before they’ve finished so they rush through the last few rows, which my father is sat in. Little does he realise as he’s asleep that his seat belt is actually unfastened and will remain so until he is flung forward upon landing.
After we’ve touched down we taxi off to our stand, again at a record speed. And so we have reached our destination and the L1 door is opened for us to all get off and onto a bus to the terminal. This was the first flight I’ve ever had without any communication with the cabin crew; the goodbyes were not really bothered with.
Being an aviation enthusiast I like flying, most of us do, but the flights with Ryanair were different. It was flying, of course it was but it felt like some cheap attempt at a bus and left me feeling slightly saddened. There are also some issues that worry me.
In 2004 I flew Ryanair to get on the Boeing 737-200 and neither way had a lifejacket under my seat. People are getting on the wrong planes. Whilst boarding the outbound from STN
there were no representatives to tell you which plane to board, I could have got on the flight next door and almost did which was going to Porto before realising my mistake. The crew are not checking boarding passes correctly; I do however say this though from my flights as I cannot comment on every flight of Ryanair. Also on one of my flights as stated above the cabin crew did not properly do their checks of passengers for landing.
As an end-note, I am fully aware I didn’t have to fly this airline, but I didn’t book the tickets myself so it would have been very awkward to change. Since I held a fare paying ticket on Ryanair I do have the right to moan and have done so
before anyone starts saying all the usual. I mean no offence to any staff members personally here who work for the airline by calling the crew Robots, this is merely a term that has arisen from my flights.
Thankyou for reading,