Review of "Ryanair - RYR"
The signs in Dublin airport which are displayed in all the airports Ryanair fly from.... they're not on time in my experience!
This year we were planning on having a nice family holiday but as things turned out, we couldn't go when we wanted to and we also decided to do a lot of work on the house so just couldn't afford to do both. The kids were really disappointed that we weren't going on a plane as my daughter has only been abroad once (to Euro Disney, which we travelled to on the Euro Tunnel) and my 4 year old son has never travelled abroad. Two years ago me and my husband went to Majorca and we really wanted to take the kids over there but in the end, we just couldn't do it this year.I was laid in bed one night a couple of months ago, wondering what to do instead. I can't stand to see my children disappointed and wanted to come up with something that would take the edge off of it when an idea came to me.... I went to Dublin last year on a hen weekend, we could take them there for the day. The plane journey is under an hour so if I could get the right flights, we could do it.
Booking the flightsI got up the next morning and started searching for flights. I found out that the morning flights went at 6.55am and the evening flights returned at 9.55pm. It would be a long day but it would be worth it. I booked flights for the 27th August 2008 for 2 adults and 2 children and it came to just short of £112 return, which included airport check-in (but no luggage) as my daughter's passport had expired and my son doesn't have one, so we weren't able to check-in online (a saving of £8 per person). I wont go into detail about the website other than to say it was slow, and will do a review on this separately when I have the time. At the end of the booking process I got a confirmation page which we had to print and take to the airport with us.
The morning of the flightI got up at 3am, ready to leave the house at 4.15am. I checked online that the flights weren't delayed and everything looked fine. We got ready and got the kids up as late as possible and set off for our local airport, East Midlands in Nottingham.
We arrived at the airport at around 5am and checked the screen in arrivals. I looked twice, then turned to my husband and said "can you please tell me that doesn't say flight delayed until 15.20 because I don't have my contacts in!". He looked and said "Hmmmmmmm" or words to that effect. We wandered off to find the airport helpdesk and asked them if it was correct. They confirmed that it was and advised us to go to the Ryanair helpdesk in the next section of the airport.When we walked through to where all the Ryanair check-in desks are, and also their helpdesk, we saw a massive group of people who looked like they were queing for the help desk. I wasn't suprised though because I knew it was a full flight, having checked if the prices of the tickets had gone up in the last couple of days, I found that there were none left for that particular flight.
My husband went over to the check-in desk for our flight to see what the screen said, while I got in the queue for the helpdesk. He came back shaking his head and saying that it said "delayed indefinitely". The couple in front of me in the queue asked what our problem was and told us that they were on a different flight and had problems with their baggage as they were told they had no baggage allowance (had booked through a travel agents to fly to Gerona with a piece of luggage each). I'm not sure this was Ryanairs fault though. Eventually someone came and split the queue into two. One for the Dublin flight and one for the other flights. We had been waiting about half an hour, so I went back over to the check-in desk to ask a member of staff there what was happening. She informed me that the flight was delayed until 15.30 (10 minutes later than the screen said) and we could transfer to a lunch time flight if we wanted to for free or get a refund. I told her that I had checked online and it said the flight was on time and she replied "yes I know". I went back to my husband and we tried to decide what to do.After a long wait, we eventually got to the front of the queue. The member of staff that dealt with us seemed to be extremely busy, trying to sort everyone out and answering the phone to other members of staff throughout the airport. One question she was asked while we were there was whether the boarding cards could be used for the flights the people had been transfered to, so I'm not sure if this was because people had booked in online or if they hadn't realised the flight was delayed until some people had already been checked in. All in all though, it was a complete mess, with no one knowing what to do.
We were asked if we wanted to transfer to the lunchtime flight but there were only 2 seats left (and a massive queue still remaining behind us!) so that was no good. She offered us a flight from Birmingham, but it was around a 2 hour drive and the flight left in 55 minutes so I don't think we would have made it! Some people were transfering to Belfast, but again that was no good for us. I asked if we could do the trip the next day instead but there were no return flights available. Eventually we managed to transfer to a flight on Friday 29th August. Before we left the airport I did ask why the flight was delayed and was told that the plane was in Spain with technical problems and they didn't know when it would be fixed. I would rather wait then... We were told to speak to the parking attendant so we didn't have to pay for the hour we'd been at the airport and we left for home. I wondered how impressed the people in the queue behind us would be seen as there seemed to be a shortage of flights to transfer onto by now. The 2 final seats for the lunchtime flight were taken by 2 business men behind us.Second time lucky?
The Friday morning was much as Wednesday had been, up until arriving at the airport. We arrived at the same time we had 2 days earlier, but thankfully the screen said the flight was ontime. There was a short queue for the helpdesk but it looked like there were fewer problems today. Fingers crossed? We went to the check-in desk and got seen within minutes. Both me and my husband checked in with no problems. My children didn't have passports so I was a bit worried, even though I had done lots of research and ryanair itself says that you can fly to the Republic of Ireland with current photo ID, and children flying with adults do not require ID. We had taken my sons birth certificate, just in case, but couldn't find my daughters so took her out of date passport instead. The person at the check-in desk asked if we had birth certificates for the children, so I explained what we had brought and she accepted them with no problems (although for adults DO NOT take out of date photo ID as this WILL NOT be accepted), just asking us their date of births for confirmation, then handed us the boarding tickets.We went through to a cafe for a strong drink (and a couple of pro plus!) then headed up to the departure gate. We were asked at security about the childrens passports and learnt to say "2 adults with passports and 2 children without" which seemed to stop confusion.
The flight arrived on time, and we boarded with no problems. We had got to the gate in plenty of time as unless you purchase a priority boarding card (£4 each way in advance or £8 each way at the airport), it is a first come, first served basis. We didn't buy the cards as we had no problems last year and there were only about 10 people who boarded the plane in front of us. Useful if you want to arrive late but a waste of money if you're going to be there early! I think now is probably about the right time to tell you about my previous experience of Ryanair....Dublin 2007
9 woman off to Dublin for a hen weekend, flying out on the Friday and returning on the Sunday. Flights did go up dramatically in price between us deciding to go and booking (under a week) but this does happen, so be aware that if you want to go cheap you either have to be quick or flexible. We paid around £70 each return, which had gone up from about £35. We all checked in and boarded with no problems (first come first served basis). Take off was fine and we all ordered a drink. The staff were ok, not overly polite, but served us with our wine quickly. We poured a glass and the next thing you know, an air hostess is shouting down our ears "SUP UP!". How rude! If we didn't have time to drink it, they shouldn't have took our money! Also I ended up with chewing gum stuck to my foot from under the seat. Hmmmmmmm.The return flight was delayed for 1 hour from Dublin to Nottingham and we all had a good laugh as Ryanair signs all over the airport stated in big letters "the on time airline". No other problems apart from the rudeness we had now come to expect from the onboard staff.
Back to the presentSo we've boarded the flight and took off on time, which was a lot further than we'd got 2 days before. We didn't really experience any of the rudeness that I had encountered the year before but I did notice that the overall appearance of the onboard staff is not on par with other airlines. This doesn't bother me because I hate feeling like I have to look pristine to fly because all the cabin crew do! Don't expect a high standard though of either the staff or the plane. We flew out on a 737-300 which was basic but fine for such a short flight. It didn't seem to have been cleaned and there were dirty finger prints everywhere but it wasn't really bad. The seats seemed to have been recovered compared to the year before with a leather type material and weren't too uncomfortable. We landed fine and there were no real problems to report.
The return flightAfter last years delay and the farce that was Wednesday, I didn't know what to expect when we arrived back at Dublin airport at around 6.30pm on the same Friday. We'd had a lovely day but were tired and ready to get home so had our fingers crossed that things would go to plan.
The screens all looked fine, no delays reported for our flight and we were a little early for check-in, so went upstairs for a sandwich and a toilet stop for the kids, before returning back downstairs around half an hour later. We checked in with absolutely no problems, in fact easier than at East Midlands using the "2 adults with passports, 2 children without" line which was accepted and our boarding cards were printed.The plane arrived about 15 minutes before we boarded, with people getting off so obviously there was no time for a thorough clean, just a quick check over and refuel. We boarded with no problems again, this time about 20 people in front of us with the priority boarding cards (some familiar faces from the flight out earlier too, so it wasn't only us that were mad!). My daughter chose our seats and we all got to sit together again with plenty of seats still remaining. Again we had a 737-300 and again it wasn't pristine. The cabin crew were different from the earlier ones but the standard seemed pretty much the same.
Before takeoff, someone close by was asked to turn off his Ipod, which I hadn't known to happen before. We took off and everything was fine until I asked for a plane toy from the catalogue. The air hostess answered "2 minutes!" in quite a snappy voice, then nothing. About 10 minutes later, it was too late and my son would have to go without his toy. My daughter was shouted at for having her camera turned on, as she was obsessed with the lights below but couldn't get a good picture. I was getting extremely angry with the airline staff but trying to keep my temper. They were so rude and there was no politeness whatsoever in their requests. The final straw for me was when an air hostess ordered my husband to wake my son up for landing. We did try but I wasn't aware that you HAD to be awake for landing. There were loads of adults that I could see taking a nap and have also experienced this on other flights and never seen them being woke up! In the end we gave up and I told my husband who was sat with with my son that if she told him again, to tell her if she would like to try to wake him up she was more than welcome, but we just couldn't do it and what was the reason for him having to be awake? He was sat upright which I thought was the only required thing.When we landed I couldn't wait to get off the plane. The staff thanked us for flying with them as we got off, to which I bit my tongue and thought it's ok, I'll get my say later when I email customer services and complain, which is what I intend to do.
Would I recommend flying with them? No, not really. They are cheap but then again you get what you pay for, don't you? I personally would rather pay that little bit more and fly with a decent airline. As for them being the on time airline, I've flew with them twice (4 flights) and have been delayed twice. Maybe I'm just unlucky? Then again someone I know has just had a flight for February cancelled....Other information
If you are still interested in flying with Ryanair, you can find their site at http://www.ryanair.com/site/EN/ which also shows the wide range of airports that they fly from and to. They are a budget airline for shorter journeys and you can find them flying to France, Spain, Italy, Poland etc. For more indepth details, I would recommend having a look at the website.Customer service is awful. If you require any information you have to phone a premium rate telephone number and I cannot find any other contact details for them. As for my complaint, I think I may have to send it by post!!!
I will update this review if and when I get a response from customer services.Only recommended if you need a cheap flight and aren't bothered about the service.
Also on dooyoo (as a paid review unlike Ciao) under my username lil_missgiggles
Product Information : Ryanair - RYR
Manufacturer's product description
Country: Ireland; United Kingdom
Listed on Ciao since: 23/06/2000