Monday, July 14, 2008

You get what you pay for

I am not a fan of “no frills” flying. Low cost airlines just don’t do it for me. Give me frills, please. In the states I try to fly Southwest only when absolutely necessary. I will gladly pay more for a seat assignment and added peace of mind that I don’t have to be involved in a cattle call. I know that they have upgraded their boarding process a bit and I am grateful. But I hate that uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach when I’ve realized that I have forgotten to print my boarding pass 24 hours ahead of time. Please don’t be group C; please don’t be group C…UGHH! I’m group C. Great, now I will have to take the middle seat in the very last row of the plane that doesn’t recline and is right in front of the bathroom! This is surely cause for an anxiety attack from the girl who checks seatguru.com for nearly every flight to pick the right seat according to the layout of the particular plane she is flying. Flying is a huge part of my life and I leave the least bit possible up to chance. And why, for the love of God, do people STILL insist on lining up 30 min before it’s time for them to board when it is unnecessary given that we are divided up into 5 number increments?! It is the curse of the Southwest mind warp I tell you. It gets me jittery just looking at them and then I'm annoyed that they can't just sit down and at least wait for the incoming plane to get off! I'm afraid people will never be the same.

But Southwest is a private 747 with your own personal butler, chef, and stewardess compared to what you experience in Europe when you decide to go the discounted route. I have one word for you…

RYANAIR.

I would rather take a bus with 7 different connections in 4 different countries than fly RyanAir, that’s how much I despise this airline. But unfortunately when I opened up my itinerary yesterday to check my flight from Ireland to Belgium, I was greeted with my worst nightmare. I guess there are no bus routes that go over water so I was screwed. I admit that I started out with a negative attitude but it was based on empirical data that I had personally gathered and I just knew this time would be no different. I am intuitive like that.

I had voiced my displeasure the night before to my agent upon seeing my itinerary. My first concern was baggage. It is a known fact that RyanAir offers deeply discounted flights but charges ridiculous amounts for anything and everything else you could possibly think of to make up the difference—namely baggage. First you pay to just check a bag. And you pay more if you don’t do so over the internet and wait until you get to the airport. Then comes overweight baggage. In most cases, airlines across Europe allow for 20 kg. This happens to be less than the 50 pounds you are allowed in the States, which causes most people some problems the first time they make their way over here. But RyanAir, being the lovely airline that it is, has a 15 kg limit. I have never in life had a bag that weighed that little in Europe so I already knew I was in for trouble. The plan was to see how much my bag weighed and then try to transfer whatever I could to my hand luggage. So I get up to the counter (paying extra to check in at the airport) and weigh my bag—21 kg. And then once I inform the lady that I will take some stuff out she says she will weigh my hand luggage as well. Because that has a weight limit too. And wouldn’t you know, my hand luggage is already 2 kg. over the allowable. So I’m stuck. 8 kg of extra weight that I must pay 15 EUROS PER KILO. For those of you who aren’t aware of just how much our dollar sucks right now compared to the Euro and also aren’t interested in doing the math that is involved I will tell you that 120 Euros is equal to roughly $200 buckaroos. I think. I haven’t had math in a while either.

I was HOT. And the thing is, they know they are pissing people off and they just don’t care. You can see it in their faces and the way they respond without even looking at you. They seem to have a sense of satisfaction about ruining people's day. Ha. Here you are thinking you are getting a great deal on an airline ticket and paying only 150 euros but we tricked you! By the time we're finished that is barely half the cost. They hire these rude employees who failed customer service class who could really care less and the line to pay all your extra fees is three times as long as the line to check in. They are soooo aware of what they are doing.

So then I board the plane…priority boarding that I also paid extra for to make sure I got an aisle seat, a seat with a yellow head rest which is really no different from the red head rest. But at least I can find room to store my carry-on without having a nervous breakdown. And then I remember another reason how they make life miserable for no apparent reason. The seats don’t recline. None of them. And I will go out on a limb and say that the sole purpose of that is to keep you unhappy. You are then able to spend your flight paying more money for a drink if you’d like (because there is no way you are getting that for free), a lotto ticket (which I assume does NOT help underpriviliged kids but probably goes straight into their pocket), or some perfume and other goodies (because obviously money is no object). Heck, I think they might even charge for using the restroom. One way or another they are going to get their money!

So next time you’re in Europe and are lured by the low price of an airline ticket that seems to good to be true, remember my advice and stay far away from any airline Ryan started…unless of course you don’t mind traveling with only the clothes on your back. Just have a magnifying glass ready to read all the small print.

11 comments:

Breanne said...

True statements all. I flew RyanAir many times while I was living in Europe and it definitely has its perks of cheapness, if you can manage the baggage fees.

But they are not the least bit helpful... I once missed a flight (long story including airport confusion and traffic) because I didn't get there with enough time before the flight was scheduled to leave. My 11 pound ticket to Ireland turned into a 11 pound ticket, plus an extra 40 pounds for changing my flight, plus the 60 pounds to the cab driver who guaranteed that he'd have us there on time. It was a great trip, but an awful flight.

Jasmine said...

Ahhh, back to the good 'ole chipper Bri I know and love! ;)

Zzz said...

Glad to see you are back. Hope you got my last donation, not giving up on you. Here is a tip, FedEx your bags ahead. They use to lose your stuff for free now they charge you to lose it.

t.v. said...

LOL @ this post. I see you are having a grand old time in Europe as usual. :)
I'm sure the exotic foods and friendliness of us Europeans will make up for your "travel nightmares".

"Welcome back!", to Europe that is.. ;)

jameil1922 said...

WOW!! i need frills, too! man i can't deal w/crappy airlines and crappy service!!!

ktizzle said...

this post had me dyin' cause i came across the same thing the first time i went to Europe a couple years ago. luckily i only had to fly with them once while i was there.

Los Angelista said...

LOL, clearly we don't need to complain here in the States. Ryan air sound like hell!

brit_brat said...

she's baaaaaaaaaaack

melanie said...

hahaha. i love it how all your peeps wait for a salty blog post and then welcome back the b!tch they know and love. too bad they don't know the lovely, patient, grateful, homie-for-life i met for breakfast in the south bay last week ;o)
but i want to ask you something: what do you expect those ryanair workers to do? you WERE way over the limit, right? they can't just wave you--and everyone else who's over--right through the gate, can they? aren't you sort of shooting the messenger, there? i mean, they probably ought to be polite and friendly, but i'm sure they'd been dealing with loads of disgruntled messanger-shooters long before you showed up. they're probably as sick of you and your kind as you are of them and theirs. just something to think about.
i'd say cut em some slack...they work at the airport, for goodness' sake!

Brianna said...

mel...learn to be on the right side ok. for starters, i am mad at the company as a whole and the very fact that they exist. second, their workers find pleasure in making people miserable. my travelling partner was 2 kilos over and they wouldn't let her take stuff out. they wanted her to pay for it. not to mention her bag had weighed less earlier that morning at a different airport and had mysteriously gone up in weight once on ryanair's scales. hmmm. sounds fishy. third, if you are going to screw people, at least do it with a smile.

melanie said...

i always smile when i'm screwing.

...wait...what?