I briefly offered my thoughts on Ryanair just after the flight, but I’ve never actually published a full review of Ryanair before. You might think there is not much to say about a budget carrier in economy class, but that is not quite correct.
Let’s rewind for a moment. I had to travel from Amman to Milan and not only did Ryanair offer the best schedule, it was also (by far) the cheapest price. I paid less than 60EUR for both tickets. Note I say both tickets. Ryanair does not technically offer “connecting” flights (though you can book multi-segment itineraries over the phone).
Not wanting to deal with the Ryanair call center, I booked both segments in a single reservation with kiwi.com, which allegedly offers “connection protection” on these sorts of tickets. There were still two tickets issued and these tickets were unlinked on Ryanair’s end. Had I checked baggage, I would have had to collect it in Bucharest and re-check it.
I arrived in Amman from Bangkok on Royal Jordanian and proceeded directly through transit security and to the RJ Crown Lounge, which is part of the Priority Pass network. I had checked in online so there was no need to see an agent.
Boarding was scheduled to begin 30 minutes before departure and it did, but there was one problem…our aircraft still had not arrived.
Thus, I found myself trapped in a sweltering and confined passageway connecting the jetbridge to the terminal for several minutes while we waited for the jet to pull up. Finally, it did…and we had to wait even longer for the aircraft to deplane. 20 minutes later, it was finally time to board.
Boarding commenced via air stairs.
Amman (AMM) – Bucharest (OTP)
Monday, July 08
Depart: 12:55 PM
Arrive: 03:50 PM
Duration: 02hr, 55min
Distance: 1,035 miles
Aircraft: Boeing 737-800
Seat: 12C (Single Cabin)
I wrote about the antics of the passengers onboard my flight here, which makes for a more humorous read than this review. But I’ll stick to technical details about the flight in this review.
My 737-800 had 189 seats onboard. Seat pitch is 30 inches in rows 6-33 and 32-24 inches in rows 1-5, dubbed “Premium”.
Seat pitch did feel tight (I’m 6′ 1″), but better than British Airways in economy class. The flight was not quite full, but unfortunately the middle seats in my row were not left open.
> Read More: My Last Flight In British Airways Economy Class…
Flight attendants are incentivized to hawk buy-on-board food, drinks, lotto scratchers, and duty free items in exchange for commission. The touts began shortly after takeoff.
While I had eaten in the lounge prior the flight, the buy-on-board menu (.pdf) actually looked pretty decent. You can even pre-order entree choices in advance.
On Ryanair, there is no IFE, there are no power ports, and there is no wi-fi. It’s a budget carrier, after all. I ensured my laptop was fully charged before takeoff and had a back-up battery just in case. It was kind of nice to somewhat disconnect…I even took a few moments to read an actual newspaper.
As we approached Bucharest, I used the lavatory, which was fairly clean.
We landed a bit late and parked at a remote stand, but I had plenty of time before my connection. A bus transported us to the terminal, where I ran into a traffic jam in the transit area from several incoming flights simultaneously arriving.
After having some lunch and looking (in vain) for a power outlet, it was time to board my connection to Milan.
Bucharest (OTP) – Milan (MXP)
Monday, July 08
Depart: 06:00 PM
Arrive: 07:25 PM
Duration: 02hr, 25min
Distance: 851 miles
Aircraft: Boeing 737-800
Seat: 14C (Single Cabin)
We again boarded via bus and air stairs. This time, the flight was only about 60% full. After boarding was complete, I asked for permission to move to an open exit row aisle several rows back and was my request was granted by a friendly flight attendant.
Even before all the hawking began after takeoff, I fell asleep and managed to sleep…in a seat that does not recline…all the way to Milan Malpensa.
I really appreciated that we landed in Terminal 1, not the (more) decrepit Terminal 2 used by other budget carriers. From there, it was just a quick walk to the Sheraton, where I would spend the night.
I had an extended conversation with one of the flight attendants in the rear galley about Ryanair. For all the jokes and all the strikes, when it runs on time it represents a remarkable value proposition. While I certainly appreciate a full-service airline and extra legroom, my opinion of Ryanair grew more favorable after this trip, not less.
What is your opinion of Ryanair?