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?
I’ve had good experiences with RyanAir too but wait until there is a problem. Then RyanAir becomes the worst possible airline.
A few years ago, I flew from Alicante to Amsterdam on RyanAir. They loaded the plane – lots of families with kids – then told us that the airspace of France was restricted due to strikes (France, a beautiful country, too bad the French live there) and we would have to wait 3 HOURS before moving. The loaded us, knowing that we would have to wait 3 hours in a hot plane with lots of kids. Unfathomable! I still feel horrible just thinking about it. Flying around France was probably too expensive (fuel) and letting us wait in the terminal too much hassle.
I haven’t flown RyanAir since
Ryanair is the only airline serving Beziers, in the Occitanie region of southern France. We own a home about an hour’s drive from the airport and use this budget airline a couple of times a year to fly to London Stansted.
Our Ryanair flights have all been on-time, with cabin crews comprised of young, enthusiastic, well-groomed and friendly men and women from all over Europe. They have never stopped working for a moment on our flights, which have all been completely full.
We have purchased roundtrip tickets to Stansted for as little as 38 euros per person, which has made it affordable to hop up to London for a night in order to see a play, or have dinner with friends. These are trips we would not take if the fares were not so ridiculously low.
I have read a fair number of Ryanair horror stories and I’ve no doubt they are true. LCC’s seem to do poorly when there’s an extended delay or a cancellation. Perhaps we’ve just been lucky, but (so far!) we have had absolutely no complaints with any of our flights.
Me and my wife ALWAYS fly with the Best budget airline all over Europe (Ryanair) at the start of each of our journeys the check in staff and all the other landside staff are very helpful and friendly then we get to airside the staff on this side although very busy are also wonderful, and now the latter (cabin crew and flight deck staff) given the stress thats involved in all of these capacities all the above mentioned do a fantastic and wonderful job and in sometimes very unfortunate and abusive times,given all of these facts some might say they should not have applied for their position if they cannot cope with it but they do because they are trained professionals and deserved to be treated like human beings .It is just unfortunate that there are some that don’t recognize the importance of Ryanair’s staff .to all of Ryanair KEEP UP THE GOOD HARD WORK.
Do you hold EU passport? Do you need to verify your boarding pass in the check in counter?
I travel with US passport and it was not verified at any point except briefly during boarding.
According to the Ryanair website, all non EU/EEA passengers need to verify their passport and boarding pass in the check in counter.
Well, I did not.
Great review! I used to avoid Ryanair like the plague, but they have undoubtedly matured to some degree and the value indeed often is remarkable.
FWIW, the Kiwi.com ‘Guarantee’ is complete BS. If you get to the fine print, they don’t really guarantee anything. They may try to re-book you on a different flight if you miss your connection, but that can actually be days after your original travel date, and only if the fare is equal or lower to the original ticket, else you’re basically paying for that second ticket. Even under the most favorable of circumstances, there is some co-pay.
With a ‘service’ like this, you may as well book directly through ryanair.com and usually get an even better fare with no commission tacked on top. Ryanair used to completely ban Kiwi, since they used web scrapers to book tickets on them. Not sure what the arrangement is now.
I fly quite frequently on Ryanair, not because I like it, just because it’s usually the cheapest option and I’m very price-sensitivite, especially on the Lisbon-London route which I fly 2-3 times per year on leisure, where I can get roundtrip flights for as little as 40€ on Ryanair (low season and flying in the middle of the week of course). I hate the service on board (it’s a giant sales fair and flight attendants could use a lesson in pretending not to hate their job; seats feel crammed even for me that I’m 4’11) but don’t hate it enough to stop flying it, the allure of the price is too strong. Plus, Ryanair is usually on time and pontuality is another thing to cherish – can’ t the say the same for TAP, our flag carrier which is known to be usually late.
So, as longs as they keep the cheap fares, Ryanair has a loyal customer in me.
EU261 really changes the math with taking an ultra low-cost carrier in Europe, because if they screw you over, you get hundreds of euros in cash and a hotel room and food — whereas, with Spirit, maybe you’ll get a $50 voucher and an apology via Twitter.