Ryan air review

First of all, Ryan air have made the journey to Galicia an affordable break, especially if you just want a weekend away. Previously, direct flights from the UK to Galicia have been priced right up to the thousand pound (sterling) mark for late bookings with Iberia - but the arrival of Ryan air to this route has changed all that.

What's good

Price

Prices are extremely cheap. Our returns cost just over 140 pounds (for both of us) and one third of that figure was made up of airport taxes etc. I was also unaware (prior to flying Ryan air) that they have the best punctuality record of any major airline, with over 90% of flights arriving within 15 minutes of the scheduled arrival time. (By comparison, British Airways are in the 70%'s.)

As an example our outbound journey was 15 minutes early and our return, although delayed by around quarter of an hour, still arrived over 10 minutes before schedule.

Turn around time

Ryan air have the fastest turn-around of any large scale operator and this is one of the reasons why their costs are so low. The elapsed time, from a plane touching down to taking off again, is just 25 minutes and this has some good and bad features. The positive one is that you are off the plane within minutes of it landing. Personally I always find the (what seems like a lengthy) wait from touch down to aircraft departure slightly anoying - so this is good news.

The aircraft

Both planes (they were different) we flew on were new and clean.

What's bad

This is a longer list, but it needs to be put in to context with the prices you are paying and the fact that overall flying time is only just over two hours.

Baggage allowance

Starting with the biggest criticisms first, Ryan air have a diiferent baggage allowance to almost every oyther carrier and it is hard to believe that the reason for this is anything other than to make money from excess baggage charges. So, here is what you need to be aware of.

Seat allocation

Seat allocation is by numbered call out. This means that you don't get a seat reservation at check-in, but simply a number that will be called out within a batch for boarding. e.g. numbers 1 to 65. At this point passengers holding boarding passes with numbers within the prescribed range board the plane and select the seat of their choice (in theory). The system sounds OK, but it does not work, mainly because turn round time is so tight. What actually happens is that passengers ignore the information on the ticket and make a que at the departure gate. The staff call out the numbers, but simply let people through based on the que. In effect the benifit of arriving promptly and having some kind of input in to your seat selection is removed. It is a system designed by idiots for idiots, but several airlines are now using it.

Getting to the plane

In order to speed up the all important turn around time, the tube like connectors that you normally walk through to get to the aircraft are a miss (it takes time to tow the plane in to a bording bay). Instead you walk from boarding gate to plane and in our case watch the arriving passengers leave the same plane while you stand on the tarmac in torrential rain - everyone was still drenched when the plane arrived!

Staff and Safety

The air crew (hostesses) on the outbound journey were worse than useless and spent over one and a quarter hours sat on the floor eating slices of brown bread - really. I was on the front row of seats and could see them the whole time. They also made no seat belt checks on take off or landing - I thought this was a regulation! (All were Spanish speaking).

On the return flight the staff were considerably better (British and Irish), but on this occasion I was sat adjacent to an emmergency exit and no one asked me about my mobility/health or ran through the door opening proceedure. Agian I was under the impression that this was regulatory.

Conclusion

Ultimately, any criticism that is not safety related can be dismissed because Ryan air's prices are so low. You do however have an option. Iberia have now dropped their prices in-line with Ryan air's, but whether they have removed other services associted with the flight to offer a similar style service I do not know.

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