Until recently, Ryanair has been like a mystical creature, urban legend. For years I’ve heard about incredible deals to exotic locations throughout Europe. I’d also heard unfavorable stories about long lines, luggage, and service (or lack of). After finding a deal too good to pass up to Spain, my husband and I decided to take a chance and book our flights!
My first job was a flight attendant. I learned many things, one of which was to pack light. This lesson proves valuable when traveling with the no frills airline. Your ticket price doesn't include checked luggage, just one carry-on (a purse/backpack is considered a carry-on). After six weeks of flight attendant training I learned enough to cause a lifetime of trouble for anyone traveling alongside me. My husband laughs every time we fly together. I not only subconsciously count the nearest exit row, but also read the cards in the seat back pockets. I know the inflight “ding” meanings and the color coded lights above the cockpit. And I would never consider talking through an emergency announcement. Note, this is where I first noticed a slight difference on-board Ryanair. This is a budget airline and they have clever ways of diffusing the low cost of your seat, like not having seat back pockets. No worries, all the information you need is glued onto the plastic seat-back in front of you. The flight attendants also do the usual safety announcements and demonstrations, but in less tailored uniforms.
You won’t find the comforts of complimentary pillows or blankets being offered or reclining seat-backs. In addition you won’t find freebies like soda, coffee, or peanuts. Ryanair does offer an inflight cabin service, but anything that whets your appetite will cost you. On our return flight, feeling generous and a bit confused (boarded before my morning coffee) I bought our family a round of drinks: Two coffees and four juice bottles. It set me back 18 Euros! There is also a meal service ranging from crackers with cheese, Oreo cookies, to fresh out of the microwave Chicken Marsala (food items ranged from 3-6 Euros). The airline also makes money by selling things like scratch off instant win lotto tickets, perfume, and phone credits. It was truly entertaining watching the flight attendants juggle all their various hats with a smile.
My biggest concern with an airline is safety. Without a doubt I felt the flight attendants, pilots, and condition of the airplane were safe. The on-board experience wasn’t glitzy or glamorous, but I wasn’t looking for a plush seat. I wanted reliable, safe transportation to take me from point A to point B without blowing our budget or crashing into the Mediterranean. Mission accomplished.
Ryanair is no longer a mystical creature or urban legend. It’s real and isn’t looking to be anything other than what it is…safe, reliable, and cheap! Off to search for my next flight destination...