My Thoughts on RyanAir

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If you're asked to think of a travel brand that everyone hates, I'm pretty sure RyanAir will be the first to come to mind. RyanAir is the airline that everyone loves to hate - be that complaints about strikes, baggage, rude staff, delays or cancelled flights - you can pretty much guarantee you're going to see them making headlines for the wrong reasons. 

Having never flown before I tried everything to book with a different airline; I was nervous enough about flying without it being on one of the UK's most hated airlines. Unfortunately RyanAir's cheap flights tempted me just like they do most people so I gritted my teeth, booked the ticket and prepared myself for three hours of hell on board the dreaded blue and yellow planes - what I experienced instead has left me a little confused.

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Check in

We arrived at Stansted two hours before our flight to a chaotic self-check-in with a few staff to help in case the kiosks went wrong (they did, multiple times). I was flying with my friend, Laura, and we booked our tickets together. When it came to check-in Laura weighed her bag first which was over but it said it didn't ask her to pay extra; when I weighed mine I was told I had to pay even though it was underweight. I'm sure it says somewhere in the small print but we didn't see it so I'll warn you before you go. If you book tickets together then you get a total allowance rather than 20kg per bag which is fine if you're travelling with your family, but if you're travelling with friends and one of you needs to pay extra but it's taken off of someone else's allowance it all gets a bit complicated.

Laura had already put a tag on her bag by the time I'd weighed mine, which caused more issues as it was technically checked-in at this point. We were told to go over to the desk where we were told to repack our bags to we both had 20kg. Having done that we returned back to the desk where a different member of staff told us that there was no need. In the end we'd been trying to sort out our bags for so long that they checked them in and told us not to worry about paying the excess. If you're flying with RyanAir I'd definitely recommend leaving extra time if you have a bag to check-in.

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Boarding

Boarding was much less stressful, which is saying something considering I was a nervous wreck at this point. We were told what gate to go to an hour before and when the plane was 10 minutes late arriving they kept us informed and told us what they had to do before we could board, which I really appreciated. If you pay to bring a bag you are automatically given priority boarding which means nothing because there were more people in the priority line than standard, and by the time you walk or get on a bus to the plane everyone is mixed up anyway. 

We walked outside, waited in line and slowly shuffled onto the plane. It didn't take long to get on board but it took a while for everyone to get settled so I'd say about 20 minutes total.

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The Cabin

RyanAir cabins are incredibly basic - there are no seat pockets, the seats are quite close together and everything is plastic but for a short flight you don't really need anything. When you've paid sometimes as little as £10 for a plane ticket all you can really expect is a safe transfer from A to B.

As a plus size traveller one of the things I was particularly worried about was the seat belt - I've heard horror stories of them being really short and if you need an extender the crew can be really rude about it. However, at a size 22 on the outbound flight the seat was comfortable and the seatbelt did up with no issues, although by the time I flew back I'd lost so much weight that I had to hold my skirt up with a hair tie and the seat belt still did up with no spare, which makes me think the rumours of different length seat belts on different planes is true. If you're the same size as me or smaller it definitely won't be an issue so I wouldn't worry. 

In general it was fine - the cabin wasn't sparkling clean but it was clean enough, the seats weren't that comfortable but it was fine for a short flight- in general it was just "good enough".

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The Crew

One of the most common complaints I've heard is about the crew being rude, unfriendly and reluctant to help so of course that's something I was conscious of, however this wasn't the case at all. 

When we were checking in our bags I found that the staff weren't entirely clear on what the rules were as one made us repack our bags to even out the weight and the other said we didn't need to, but it was an irritating inconvenience more than anything else. If anything I felt a little sorry for the check-in staff for having to try to fix the kiosks as well as check in everyone who's lost the battle with the machines.

As we got to our gate we were greeted by a man checking that we were in the right line who was friendly but efficient. When they scanned our boarding pass I didn't have my passport ready so apologised and told the member of staff that I'd not flown before, to which they responded by taking the time to wish me luck and reassure me that it'd be fine (I guess I probably looked as on edge as I felt!).

On board the staff were friendly but to be honest I didn't have much to do with them so I can't really comment. When we got on board and they needed to check our passports and boarding passes again (I swear I must have shown 10 different people my passport - it's definitely a step up from cruise ships!) and I had to apologise *again* the man was lovely and reassured me as I was yet again hunting for my passport. 

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Overall Thoughts

Obviously I have only flown with RyanAir once so can't comment on service on more than just this occasion, but I genuinely don't understand what the fuss is about. I think people will always want to shout and blame the big corporation when things go wrong, and yes it is their fault sometimes, but a lot of things that have happened have been outside of RyanAir's control. Strikes cause chaos to every airline - as I write this British Airways are being dragged through the mud for not handling cancellations due to strikes well enough. At the end of the day if you are happy to pay so little for a flight you need to be happy to accept that you're not going to get a luxury service or any kind of perks or freebies. As long as it's safe and clean enough then for a short haul flight all that matters is getting from A to B.

Have you flown with RyanAir? How was your experience with them?

Love and Feathers, 
 The Owlet 💜 
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