Earlier this week I had a few days away in Milan. It was an impulsive trip, booked on a whim via an offer before Christmas. While I was aware that the holiday would be budget due to the cheapness of it, nothing could quite prepare me for the experience of Ryanair.
Michael O’Leary is operating a horrendous service. I understand that he is very open in his aim to provide affordable, cheap and basic air travel. That’s great, a brilliant idea even. But while Ryanair is certainly basic, I would argue that is far from cheap and at times the way it operates is downright unsafe.
I’ll try and lay out my numerous complaints as succinctly and clearly as possible. Firstly the cost, the initial ticket may be cheap, but once you start to look closer there are a ludicrous amount of add-on fees. This complaint may not actually be Ryanair’s fault, but rather the people that frequent the cut-price planes. By the time I’d paid to pick a seat so that I was sat next to my girlfriend, chosen the legroom that wouldn’t mean I would loose all feeling in my feet, taken one piece of hold luggage and sorted out transport to Milan city centre, I was paying over double the cost of the initial ticket. I fail to understand how anybody except a single person on business, who has no hold luggage, can find Ryanair any cheaper than EasyJet or Flybe. Both of whom I’ve flown with before, and found them both cheaper and far more comfortable.
Not only do Ryanair charge you the earth to just get on the plane, they also then proceed to dump you somewhere vaguely near your intended destination. Their hub at Stansted is actually well-connected as far as Ryanair goes, the trip from Bergamo airport to central Milan was approaching an hour.
But my real issue with Ryanair lie with their policy to cabin baggage and the attitude of their staff. As we queued to board the plane home, staff were attaching yellow labels to hand luggage. I was unsure what this was for, but eventually found out that larger pieces of hand luggage were being taken away as you boarded the plane to be put in the hold. There are so many seats squeezed onto the plane, that there isn’t enough room for everyone’s luggage if the plane is anywhere near full! This is ridiculous, but I could have overlooked it, if it wasn’t for the response of the staff.
As many passengers simply ignored the yellow label on their luggage and stowed it away inside the cabin, the staff were entirely oblivious to this. This meant that by the time I’d battled by way through the throng of people boarding the plane, there was no room left in the overhead lockers to store my one small rucksack. As my girlfriend asked the cabin attendant if there was any alternative place to store the luggage, she was met with a simple ‘No’ and slight smirk. No help, no alternative, no concern. Simply no.
We were left with no choice but squeeze our way into our seats and put our hand luggage at our feet. I’m not a short man, but nor am I abnormally tall, and my feet had nowhere to go, and I ended up with my knees resting on the chair in front of me. If that was bad, the people across the aisle from me had to place their luggage on their lap for the entire two-hour flight. At no point did the disinterested staff appear at all concerned that people were stuffing luggage in to all parts of the plane.
On other airlines, I’ve been told on many occasions that hand luggage must be in the overhead lockers or right under the seat in front. Ryanair can’t be safe. If there was an emergency, and we were required to leave the plane quickly, it would be impossible. The foot wells were full of luggage and many people would have to heave their luggage off their laps before they could get up.
Customers are just as much to blame as Ryanair, if people stopped travelling with them, they would soon go out of business. Here’s hoping!
Michael O’Leary is running a shoddy business. Obviously I’ll never be flying with Ryanair ever again. And I fail to see why anybody ever would. It is not convenient, it is not cheap, it is not comfortable, and it is not safe.