We like to poke fun at Ryanair on here every once in a while. After all, looking at how Ryanair operates gives us a welcome break away from being upset about how United, Delta and American are constantly one upping each other with customer unfriendly policies.
I’ve shared the time when the CEO called the customers a bunch of whiners because they didn’t pay for seat assignments. Sharon found what might be the funniest customer complaint letter ever written by a passenger after their experience with Ryanair agents at the airport when they were running late for a flight.
The airline has recently been in the news over their decision to cut over 2,000 flights from the schedule over a six week time period. The airline said the cancellations were to increase on-time performance of the airline but it was quickly figured out the cancellations were because they didn’t properly schedule for pilots’ vacations. Even the company CEO has said this situation was handled poorly, while at the same time saying that it was the correct decision to make.
For us, we’d made a decision to not take Ryanair even before they were in the news for canceling 2,000 flights. There was one time when we could have taken a Ryanair flight. Here’s why we considered it (for a second) and why we still didn’t fly with them.
We don’t often take short flights around Europe
This is just a fact of the way we travel. Because of limited vacation time, when we take a trip to Europe we try to stay and just see one area. If traveling around a section of Europe, train travel is often more convenient and economical than flying. If we are making a connection in Europe, our flight is part of a TATL (TransATLantic) ticket so we would be connecting to an alliance partner (American+British Airways or United+Lufthansa) and not to a Ryanair flight. Since most of Ryanair’s flights are point to point jaunts, they aren’t even a consideration for us.
For this trip however, we were going to be visiting London (to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child) and Salzburg (because Sound of Music). These were originally going to be two separate trips but to save vacation time and airline miles, we decided to join the two trips together. I had the airfare to London and home from Salzburg booked but we still needed to get between the two cities.
I knew British Airways flew between the two cities so I planned to buy a cheap ticket or to burn some of my Avios miles. One problem – they didn’t fly the route on the ONE DAY OF THE WEEK that we needed to go. AARRRRRGGGGGHHHH!!!!!
So I looked for options. British Airways did offer us a flight from London to Berlin and then onto Salzburg. It doubled the travel time but it worked. Problem was since Avios prices for the flight (2 flights = double the miles), the cost just went up. I looked at trains but it was like 12 hours of travel time, nope. So I searched some more. Ryanair flies from London to Salzburg. Non stop. I know we said we’d never fly them but lets see…
When traveling in Europe, we’d have luggage (lots of it)
For being seasoned travelers, packing light just isn’t something we’ve learned how to do very well. Oh, we’re getting better at it. This still means for a 7-10 day trip we’d each have a suitcase, roll-aboard bag, small carry-on or computer bag each. If we flew on Ryanair, we’d have to pay for those bags. That takes the low-price advantage away for us and makes it the same or cheaper to take a full-service airline (*cough* I just referred to British Airways inter-Europe flights as “full service” *cough*).
So I checked the prices for us to bring just 1 suitcase each. £25 for each bag. On top of that, I’d have to make sure our suitcases weighed the correct amount, which is less than we’re used to. Our cabin bags also had to be the correct sizes. All things I could manage knowing in advance, but more things to worry about.
Now I remembered why we said we weren’t going to fly on Ryanair but onward I searched (not telling Sharon, as I’d have to work pretty hard to convince her to fly Ryanair) (Note from Sharon: You’re darn tootin’.).
Ryanair usually flies from the furthest airport from major cities
I checked and the Ryanair flight to Salzburg leaves from London Stansted airport. While this may be convenient if you live in the area and would be driving to the airport, it would mean that from London, we’d need to take a 45 minute train ride to the airport. That’s on top of the Underground ride to the train station from our hotel. Not a deal killer but still another logistical challenge.
The flight schedules on Ryanair are limited
Did I mention the flight to Salzburg from Stansted airport left at 7:25 AM. So there would be no way possible (besides getting an taxi or private car) for us to get to the airport in the morning in time for our flight. This was the only flight on the schedule (one flight a day, first thing in the morning). So we would have needed to get there the night before and stay somewhere near Stansted airport just to get this flight with Ryanair.
That was the final stumble. I stopped wasting time and started looking for the flights with connections. We flew from Heathrow and ended up on a combination of British Airways and Airberlin flights (this was before they declared bankruptcy).
Just as we didn’t fly on Allegiant and have no intentions of flying Spirit, I don’t think we’ll ever fly on Ryanair. I don’t want to say never (Note from Sharon: I would) because if the price and the schedule and the type of trip fit perfectly, I’d possibly, maybe, questionably consider flying with them (Note from Sharon: If you ever do, I’ll meet you there. I’m not flying on Ryanair. Ever.). Hey, if The Points Guy can do it then so can I. Its just that I value my vacation time too much and traveling is part of my vacation. If the airport process and the in flight experience is horrible, it has a chance of ruining my vacation. That’s something I don’t want to risk.
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