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FUELLED BY RIOJA

After two long years in England, when Spain was an itch that had to be scratched, a golden opportunity came along, which couldn't be ignored. So here I am back in Spain ~ again, just me and my dog on the sunny Costa Blanca, ready for another adventure!

EXPATS BEWARE ~ MORE TOMFOOLERY!
10 July 2014 @ 13:28

Even though my heart is undoubtedly in Spain, it would have been churlish to turn down the offer of a trip to the South of France for some sun, sea and St.Tropez tan.  So I was forced to venture, once again, with some trepidation, onto the dark side of airline websites, Ryanair.

You may remember a few weeks back, I rambled on about my flying OCD, and so I wasn't looking forward to the journey, but I braced myself, and booked my flight to Toulon.

 

As some of you will know, the Ryanair website has perked up, and it's a bit quicker and easier to get to the flight confirmation 'gate'.

I circumnavigated the 'allocated seat' option, as my own particular 'flight plan' ritual means that I always buy a priority boarding ticket at Stansted, so I can nip in the back door, and claim my usual seat before anyone else get's their bum on it.

A few days before leaving home, I did the compulsory check in, and guess what, it seems, that unless you've coughed up £10.00 each way for allocated seats, you can't seem to check in for your homeward flight until a week before your journey, which means you either HAVE to pay £20.00 for a round trip, or you have to be certain you'll be able to print off your homeward boarding pass, 'somewhere' during your trip.

So the winnner of this particular challenge is inevitably going to be.....Ryanair

At Stansted, the usual sweet smiling ground hostess touting the little yellow priority boarding stickers was nowhere to be seen.  It wasn't a great start, but despite all this, I stuck to all my other in flight rituals, survived the flight and had a damn good time in France!

Fast forward to the return trip from Toulon back to Stansted, and more Ryanair tomfoolery was to come.

The new 2 small hand baggage allowance meant that I didn't need to 'go large' with my suitcase, so I stupidly thought I'd be able to avoid the carousel, and fast track through baggage reclaim.  I'd be out of Stansted quicker than quick.  Silly me.

Toulon is a lovely airport, small but efficient.  Because I only had hand luggage I was into the departure lounge with no queueing at all, but then I came across the first barrier to my fuss free journey.

A lovely little Madamoiselle stood blocking my path and told me that my flight was VERY full. (note the emphasis) So one of my bags MUST go in the hold, at no cost, to make more room for everyone's smaller hand luggage within the cabin.

Before I could protest about my case not being locked and it contained valuables, a yellow sticker was slapped on it and I was told to leave it at the bottom of the steps to the plane!

 

Rather strangely, I thought, virtually every passenger with two bags received the same instructions and the same sticker on the largest of their bags.  It was chaos for everyone, with lots of heavy sighing and disgruntled muttering going on.

Like myself, other passengers were not happy putting their hand cases in the hold. We all had to stand and repack valuables, such as lap tops and camera's into the bags that were allowed in the cabin. As I approached the plane, the luggage cage was groaning under the weight of all the bags to go in the hold.

Despite my lack of priority boarding, I scooted round to the back of the plane, and took ownershiip of my favorite seat, and suprise surprise the plane was not VERY full at all.

There were at least 25 empty seats that I could count, so Madamoiselle Ryanair was telling porkies when she told me otherwise.

So my hoped for quick 'transfer' through baggage reclaim at Stansted was thwarted.  Firstly it took an age for the correct carousel to show on the information screen, then a further age for the said carousel to actually crank up and start turning, and of course isn't it always the way that 'your' bag is always one of the last to show up.

So what was Ryanair's little game all about do you think?

Is there any benefit to them in using the ground baggage services at Stansted, or was it simply about weight distribution on the plane. Either way, I would prefer to keep my valuables close to me on a flight, surely that's the whole point of hand luggage.   

I don't mind my knickers going missing, but how would I write this blog if my laptop got lost en route!

Would you be happy to put your possibly unlocked small case into the hold if you had been expecting to keep it near you throughout your flight.

Or am I just suffering from Ryanair paranoia!

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1 Comments


SandrainAlgorfa said:
12 July 2014 @ 10:06

No, I'd expect to keep the valuable stuff with me. It does seem a bit pointless, but at least you got your favourite seat, so it was mission accomplished as far as the flying OCD went. Glad you had a good time - France's sun is just as good as Spain's for a tan!

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