Ryanair – Beware!
You know how Ryanair has got a really bad image. People joke around on how Ryanair flies well but lands a long way from the target, how Ryanair is going to charge for on board toilet usage, how you will be able to book third class – standing in the aisle during flights. Except that these aren’t jokes – they are Ryanair’s profit maximising strategies. Let’s start with the jokes.
“Ryanair have charged Jennifer’s family £65 in excess baggage fees to bring her remains back to the UK. – That’s what you get for not booking ahead.”
I am not absolutely certain that hasn’t actually happened. I hope this one never will:
“Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome on board this Ryanair flight. In the event of a sudden drop in cabin pressure, masks will drop down from above you. Please insert 5 Euros for oxygen.”
So Ryanair has got bad service and a thing for surcharges, we got it. Everyone knows that. But I thought that’s just bad PR. We have our ticket, we already paid extra online for our 20kg heavy bags. We did everything right.
Apparently not. After my first flight with Ryanair going from Oslo to Budapest, I know how bad service is and how much their money grabbing system sucks. We were catching a flight from Oslo to Budapest to experience Ryanair’s bad image come true first hand. When I write Oslo, I mean the alternative low cost airport ‘Rygge’, which is 60 km away from Oslo.
This is where the Ryanair-Beware! story starts. We were two hours early. No line up (yet). The check in counter. Here, the fun ends. Ryanair refuses to scan our boarding tickets from our mobile phone.
Ryanair seriously DEMANDS passengers to PRINT OUT THE BOARDING CARD prior to arrival at the airport. If passengers do not have a PRINTOUT, Ryanair’s scam strategy works as planned: passengers face abusive fines.
No other airline has demanded a A4 sheet of paper from us – it’s the digital age after all! – and we do fly A LOT. Scanners don’t differentiate between paper and display. If Ryanair wanted to scan, they would have. It really is crazy. We HAVE THE BOARDING TICKET in our hands at check in but Ryanair won’t acknowledge that.
The lady at the check in tells us to have the ticket printed at their service counter. I am not thinking bad, the worst that can happen is to line up at check in again. Well, I should have been thinking ‘Ryanair’ = the worst is about to happen.
Ryanair ‘service’ counter (ridiculous name) at ‘Oslo Rygge’ airport .
Ryanair should have just apologized, printed the ticket and we would have all left with a smile. Instead, we had to pay 120 Euros EXTRA, there wasn’t any printing, we got one A5 sheet of paper. That’s a 60 Euros fine per person.
There was no apology for obvious inconvenience but the overall agenda was something like: “120 Euros extra it is, or you are not boarding. And no picture taking of the service counter.” I couldn’t resist. I need to tell people: Ryanair does not know the meaning of SERVICE.
Because I seriously dislike Ryanair now, here is HOW TO AVOID Ryanair’s surcharge of 1104 Norwegian Kronen at ‘Oslo Rygge’ airport:
You can drive back 5 km and stop here. This hotel welcomes surcharge-escapees and ‘only’ takes 200 Norwegian Kronen for a printout but: you have to send them the ticket per e-mail. The lady at reception operating the computers has to be able to receive and open files, which in our case didn’t work. Some days Murphy’s law just checks on us. Not one gas station near the airport offers printout jobs. Someone must realise the business potential here.
I can see how Ryanair is the worst airline offender charging for optional and non-optional extras. Once on the plane, you must suffer through continuous announcements harassing you to buy everything Ryanair managed to get their hands on to make more money off of you – sandwiches, perfumes, cigarettes, bus or lottery tickets. They will not let you rest. Ryanair makes about one fourth of its revenue through sources other than ticket fares.
Before our plane took off, there was chaos. They were checking for the presence of one particular passenger and made continuous announcements. The crew was unnerved by this matter, which unprofessionally made its way into the announcements, the stewardess making faces and over-emphasizing on the name. This made my stomach turn. If my name was called out like that, I don’t think I had the guts to show myself. I was also thinking: So they have no clue who’s really on the plane? Is that how much they care about security?
Arguments and chaos on the plane. Where is Mr. X?
Rules on board. Fight for a seat. I didn’t know that seats were not given out at check in and was wondering about people running up to the plane. Luckily we got two seats next to each other but there was such a mess with changing, exchanging and searching for seats.
No frills. Ryanair planes have non-reclining seats, no seat-back pockets, the safety cards are stuck on the back of the seats, life jackets are stowed overhead and the overhead lockers are plastered with advertisements.
No seat-back pockets doesn’t mean more leg room. It means more seats.
Ryanair has got great ideas all the time. Redesigning the aircraft to allow standing passengers, paying to use the toilets, asking passengers to carry their checked-in luggage to the plane and my favourite:
The ‘fat tax’ for overweight passengers. It would probably work like the hand luggage size test. A chair with arms at the check-in, that passengers have to sit in. If the chair sticks to their arse, when getting up, they pay the tax. The rest of the queue can watch and cheer, adding some entertainment to the dreary check-in experience.
One last joke for the sake of catharsis:
Michael O’Leary of Ryanair goes into a Dublin pub and asks for a pint of Guinness.
“That will be one Euro, please,” says the barman.
“That’s a very fair price,” replies O’Leary.
“Would you like a glass with that, sir?” asks the barman.
And finally to Ryanair: It would’ve been easy for you to show good will. Being fair or an unscrupulous Scrooge is your choice. Not to fly Ryanair again is ours.