Friday, April 10, 2009

Ryanair: the costly low-cost airline

This day in age, flying is everything but easy. I can still remember the days when security was minimal, you could check your bags without maxing out your credit cards, and you could walk to the gate. And now that airlines have minimized their luggage allowances, taken away in-flight snacks, and implemented rules that nearly require nudity to pass through security, I didn’t think it could get anymore complicated; that was until I became acquainted with Ryanair.

Ryanair: the Irish airline that boasts Europe’s lowest fares and highest percentage of on-time flights. Even after taxes a lot of the flights still cost under є30…not bad, right? Well budget travelers, be warned. There’s a catch: try є20 to check a 15 kilo bag (plus є12 for every kilo over the weight limit) and є7 in check-in fees. And on top of that, you get cramped planes that don’t pull up to the gate, flights that arrive at obscure airports hours outside of the destination cities (which are rarely main tourist destinations), flight attendants who talk over the intercom for the entire duration of the flight, snacks and drinks for absurd prices, and rocky landings that make you wonder where the pilot got his license. (Although, it was hard not to laugh at an entire airplane full of people sprinting across the tarmac in pouring rain on more than one occasion…the absurdity of this sight managed to make up for some of the discomfort and inconvenience.)

Luckily I was able to sneak my lone (yet bulky) backpack (below) through without checking it and I brought an umbrella for the trans-tarmac treks, making my experience a little less wet and pricey. And though 6 of my flights cost less than my one flight from Paris back to Copenhagen on a non-budget airline, I don’t foresee myself jumping at the opportunity to fly on Ryanair anytime soon. I guess it all comes with the territory of being a poor college student traveling through Europe.

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