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Ryan Air Review

By Friday, May 24, 2013 , , ,

Ryan Air is heavily discounted airline that flies through out Europe, although it's routes are limited and as it only flies each route a few times a week, it's very difficult to take multiple flights to expand your possible destinations.


For example, from Hamburg-Lubeck they fly to:
Girona Barcelona
Bergamo Milan
Palma
Pisa
Porto
Stockholm Skavsta
Trapani

You may notice that when flying to the bigger cities Ryan air doesn't actually fly into their local airports, and instead flies to one in a nearby city, like Lubeck for Hamburg or Girona for Barcelona. That's actually how we ended up visiting Bergamo which we enjoyed much more than Milan.

On the one hand flying into a smaller, less busy airport must help keep costs down. On the other, it means you have to find some way to get from your departing city to the airport of another city. The bus from Bergamo to Milan was only 5 euros, but from Hamburg central station to Lubeck it was 10 euros each way for each of us, so if you combine all the bus tickets it adds 60 euros to the cost, and a lot of travel time.

However, even with the additional 60 euros you'll be hard pressed to find cheaper flights (sometimes less than 15 euros each way).

Hamburg-Lubeck Airport is really tiny, and under going renovations so the whole place felt like it was being held together with duct tape. You're only allowed one carry on that has to be under 10kg (22lbs) and must fit a set of specific dimensions of 55cm x 40cm x 20cm ( (21.65 x 15.74 x 7.87 inches). In fact, they have a metal box-frame that the bag must fit into. My backpack was well below the weight limit, but I was a little worried that if they asked me to check its size it wouldn't fit because it doesn't have those exact dimensions. I'm not saying it was over in total volume, just that it might have been shorter and fatter than their specified size. Fortunately no one asked me either way, although returning someone in front of me was asked to make sure her purse fit inside her bag.

The flight there started with one of the flight attendants getting annoyed with a woman who boarded late and wouldn't sit down. You have to pay extra to reserve a seat, and I guess she wasn't happy with any of the ones left, and asked him to find her a  better seat. He walk down the aisle saying things like "Here is an excellent seat!", "This? This is an amazing seat!", "There is perfectly fantastic seat for you, ma'am", not bothering to hide his sarcasm.

At one point she told him she couldn't find anywhere to stick her bag and he replied: "Oh, I'll find somewhere for you to stick it." There weren't any flight attendants nearly as entertaining I mean, grouchy as he was on the way back.

The flight to Bergamo was filled with announcements and not just the typical safety information and turbulence updates. Because there is no free drink and snack service, you can buy food from them, which they announced over the PA system and as they push the cart down the aisle. They also offered a scratch off lottery card for charity that a surprisingly large number of people bought, and there were a few other announcements that I can't recall. Everything was made in English, German and Italian which made them seem to go on forever, and while flying is hardly relaxing constantly being talked at over loud speaker was very annoying.

Overall, it wasn't a horrible experience, but all the buses and luggage restrictions made flying worse than usual. The price might just too good not to take it, though. Vueling and German Wings are two other low cost airlines we're going to be flying on in the near future if Ryan Air sounds a little too spartan for you.

Things to keep in mind while flying Ryan air:
  • it costs extra to reserve seats, so if you want a particular one or to sit next to your friend, line up early
  • you can board and disembark from the front and the back of the plane, so a seat in the very back might mean you get off faster than one near the front
  • Flight attendants will rearrange your luggage in the overhead compartment to fit more bags in. Most of the coats got taken out and handed to their owners to put under the seat in front of them.
  • Checking a bag at the gate can cost as much as 60 euros! Even if you buy an extra seat, it doesn't come with an extra carry on. I was mentally going through what I could throw out if they didn't let me past (socks and underwear)
  • Small bags like purses must be able to fit into your carry on, otherwise they counts as two bags.
  • It costs extra to check in at the airport, so make sure you check in online and print out your boarding pass!
  • If you're not from a Schengen Country (countries with no passport or immegration requirement - basically the EU, minus the UK or Ireland and plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland ) you have to get your visa/passport checked before going through security.


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