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The Curmudgeon

The curmudgeon is a miserable sod. He likes to have a moan. He tackles subjects which many foreigners living in Spain agree with but are too polite to say anything.

Ryanair – good or bad?
Saturday, July 22, 2023 @ 10:19 AM

I’ve been flying with Ryanair, the Irish low-cost airline, almost since they started. We fly with them regularly, as they ply the routes we currently use or have used in the past, at the most convenient times, and usually at the best price.


Ryanair is a controversial airline, not least because of the oft ridiculous utterings of their chief executive, Michael O’Leary. They are leaders in the field; where they introduce changes most other airlines follow.

The company also expected not to pay landing charges at tiny airfields in Spain, France and elsewhere, where the airline promised them big business. When these airfields cottoned on and suggested Ryanair might pay them, the Irish company simply walked away. I can think of Granada, Jerez de la Frontera, Carcassonne, Frankfurt Hahn and Waterloo. There are many more. O’Leary and his mates are unscrupulous and uncompromising.

The routes I have used include Liverpool to Granada, Málaga, Jerez and Sevilla, to Cologne, Düsseldorf Weeze and Frankfurt Hahn. Since I moved to live in Spain 15 years ago, my routes have changed to Malaga, Sevilla or Jerez to airports like Baden-Baden, Hahn or Weeze and Bristol, Gatwick and Stansted.

Booking flights online these days is a nightmare. Offers and add-ons come at you thick and fast. And if you want to travel with more than a small bag, you pay extra; lots extra.

I flew from Malaga to London Stansted yesterday. I opted to fly with a carry-on bag, so I just paid for the flight. A 10kg small case would have cost me 40€ extra. I also refused to book a seat and pay a charge of anything between 10€ and 40€. I let them allocate me a random seat. I got 9D. Not bad, an aisle seat near the front of the aircraft.

So, I just paid 55€. A bargain for a 3000 km journey.

Normally I am quite happy to fly with Ryanair. I can put up with the non-reclinable seats and the tiny legroom for between two and three hours, their coffee (Lavazza) is drinkable, and their food offering has improved immensely over the years.         

More gripes about yesterday. The flight left 50 minutes late with no explanation given and no apology until we had landed and were about to disembark the plane.

More gripes, although these are not Ryanair’s fault.

At Stansted the automatic passport machines, as is often the case, were refusing scores of passengers, so we had to traipse to the manual desks, where the queue was immense. An hour to clear the airport is unacceptable. Then a 25-minute wait for a bus into London. Not my best ever flight day.

But, hey, I got here safely, albeit late for an appointment, and am now enjoying the company of my daughter and her two sons in Stratford, London. On Monday I head for Hastings to my son’s to meet my newly born grandson for the first time.

Unusually I fly back to Malaga next Wednesday with Vueling, the Spanish low-cost carrier. They’re just as much a rip-off as Ryanair. I need to book a small case to take some stuff back to Spain, which will cost me 40 pounds.







©  The Curmudgeon


Tags: Baden-Baden, Bristol, Carcassonne, Cologne, Curmudgeon, Dusseldorf Weeze, Frankfurt Hahn, Gatwick, Granada, Hastings, Jerez de la Frontera, Lavazza, Liverpool, low-cost airline, Malaga, Michael O’Leary, , Ryanair, Sevilla, Stansted, Stratford, Vueling, Waterloo

Like 5


Rosemary McCrindle said:
Sunday, July 23, 2023 @ 6:47 AM

I’m totally convinced that the airline carriers are all trying to reap back the fortune they lost during lockdown. I could see it coming and now it’s pretty expensive to fly long and short haul journeys anywhere. Many people are opting to travel by ferry and drive which would be my very last choice. The truth is, we’ve had it too good for too long and now the low cost game seems to have come to an end which is hard luck on all of us. I live in (NI) and occasionally use SEND MY BAG to ship a huge suitcase over to our holiday home in Torrevieja, Spain. It’s a marvellous service where you book online, provide a description of your bag giving size, colour and weight. Select a date for pick up and pay fir either a single journey or a return. DHL are their courier and the service is A1. We’re staying in London just now and chose to send our luggage ahead. I chose to pay extra for EXPRESS. The large bag was collected 2 days before we flew and arrived at our daughter’s home the next day. Flying home on Tuesday and our bag will be picked up tomorrow. We walk though the airport with a very small bag each which us marvellous as you get older.
It’s actually cheaper than putting a large bag in the hold ( I think)
The other thing we do is travel as EASYJET PLUS PASSENGERS. We’ve done thus for a few years and find it pays dividends if flying regularly and particularly since EasyJet are now charging for extra cabin bags .
All in all, low cost flying is almost a thing of the past.

PablodeRonda said:
Sunday, July 23, 2023 @ 8:02 AM

Hi Rosemary. Very intgeresting comments. I think you're right about the way low-cost travel is changing and is no longer low-cost. We have been "spoilt" for far too long, I guess.
But as an alternative, driving is out of the question financially, what with overnight accommodation en route and motorway tolls. It's also less attractive as one gets older.
The train? I've never done it but I know people who have. I fear that that option is also more expensive than flying.
EASYJET PLUS sounds interesting. I must investigate.

Colin Davies said:
Sunday, July 23, 2023 @ 8:21 AM

i had to bring my daughter and 2 year old son from Manchester to Oporto 3 weeks ago at very short notice on Ryanair. The cost for EACH of them - more than 350 pounds. Not exactly low.cost flying . .

Colin Davies said:
Sunday, July 23, 2023 @ 8:22 AM

By the way . . . That was just to come here, one-way. I wonder what it will be in late August when they go back to the UK.

jsevanbergen said:
Sunday, July 23, 2023 @ 8:48 AM

The cost to fly thousands of miles is still low. I’ve personally never used Ryanair, they don’t go where I need to be and I don’t like their customer support. I usually use EasyJet. I’m not in love with them, but they’re fairly reasonable, in their behaviour and prices.
What I hate is being herded around and ordered about like cattle. I’m a valued customer, yet I’m treated as a pain from the moment I arrive at the airport.
I have used Norwegian air a couple of times, they’re much more relaxed, friendlier and we still get there, but in a better frame of mind!

firstelement said:
Sunday, July 23, 2023 @ 9:07 AM

I much prefer the Ryanair way, where I can travel cheaply and just pay for the extras I need. That heavy suitcase burns a lot of extra fuel, so if you take one you should pay. The customer service is basic, but I don’t really care. I once paid 6p return for 3 return seats to Stockholm, including bags. Those prices are a thing of the past, but there’s a lot to thank Ryanair for. They made European travel way cheaper by taking on the national carriers.

macsco said:
Sunday, July 23, 2023 @ 12:18 PM

"I just paid 55€"
"They’re just as much a rip-off as Ryanair"
Two statements that do not fit the facts.
I want it cheap, but want all the extras. Ryanair basher.

David H said:
Sunday, July 23, 2023 @ 12:48 PM

Ryanair has a good business model: you get exactly what you pay for, it's efficient and you arrive on time, unless there is a problem that has nothing to do with them.
Every time I read and hear people griping about the airline I just think 'how unfair'. I choose them for their prices and sensible flight times.
Those who complain the loudest are generally the ones who take liberties by ignoring the rules they have signed up to. Who wants them on board anyway?
And the planes I'm on are always full - I wonder why!

teresaferris said:
Sunday, July 23, 2023 @ 2:47 PM

If only Ryanair could provide good customer service then there would be nothing to complain about.

Lagalesa said:
Sunday, July 23, 2023 @ 3:05 PM

I dislike Ryanair - they never give explanations about delays nor generally keep their passengers informed. I like Vueling but they do tend to be more expensive. But all the low price airlines charge scandalously for bags/ seats with more legroom etc.
This time I am travelling by train from Puente Genil/Herrera to Madrid, then onto Nimes, then Lille and Eurostar to St Pancras and finally Paddington to S Wales. It will take 3 days (although I could do it in 2) and will cost more than plane. I have discount cards for Renfe and SNCF which reduce the cost somewhat. I am hoping for a relaxed journey - I am fortunate in not having to rush. I am impressed by the high speed trains and general rail system in Spain from the few journeys already experienced.We shall see!

sdeleng said:
Sunday, July 23, 2023 @ 3:37 PM

Ryanair is good. The proof is many other airlines have copied it. Not a bag of laughs by any means but cheap! Yes, we are cattle, but also in the stair port which has nothing to do with them. Michael O’Leary is a one off and actually speaks a lot of sense. Complain all you want but it’s ridiculous. He changed air travel. Made it much more affordable. And calls a spade a spade. I like Vueling when the website works. But generally it is a disaster. BA? Totally terrible. The truth is in Europe we need to sort out high speed eco trains but until such time it is the low cost airlines.

Ricardo said:
Sunday, July 23, 2023 @ 4:49 PM

To be honest we travel Ryanair all the time simply because of the cost. They are a bit of a pain with the add-ons etc but we don't require most of them, its understandable really when we often pay less to fly to Spain than say London to Yorkshire on the train.

Marta said:
Wednesday, July 26, 2023 @ 11:20 AM

Travelled twice with them and was one of my worst experience .
My case has the correct size and weight and they charge me 50€ because we were carrying my husband medical bag . These bag travel free of charge .
They excuse was one hand luggage per person and we have 3 .

Every airline doesn’t matter we’re we travel , USA, Australia , South America , medical bags doesn’t count as extra luggage !!

I rather pay BA. and travel confortable and with no hassle.

Marta said:
Wednesday, July 26, 2023 @ 11:21 AM

Their customer service and staff leave a log to desire

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