Thursday, February 21, 2008

Ryan Air

I mentioned earlier this week about our airline to Malta. Ryan Air is a low cost airline but it has some features that are pretty common over here in Europe and I wanted to share them with the US folks so they know how 'lucky' we are and also what is coming our way (particularly, since I just recently heard that United is starting to charge for a second suitcase now).

So, you get this incredibly cheap flight (30 euro roundtrip to Malta) but then you are nickled and dimes to death for everything else. First, you have to pay 2-3 euros per person because you booked online (even though there isnt an office or counter where you could actually buy a ticket at the airport). You are allowed one carry on luggage but there is a weight and size limit! They require you to check in online unless you want to pay a fee for in person check in. The catch is that US Citizens cant check in online because they only accept that from EU folks. So, when you get to the airport, you have to pay the in person fee (3 euro per person per way) to check in and then send a fax with your passport and flight info to the airline so they can refund you that fee for not offering you the online option in the first place. (Dont ask because I have thought endlessly about why this is standard operating procedure and have yet to come up with a decent reason.).

But lets assume you can check in online. When doing so, you have to swear on your mothers life that your carry on is below the weight limit of 10kg (22 pounds). If you get to the airport and they weigh your carryon and its over that limit, you have to pay the fee for checked luggage (9-12 euro per bag with a size and weight limit--there are no freebies in check luggage either) PLUS an additional 4 euro fee for what I like to call, 'you lied about the weight and so we are going to penalize you' fee!

There are no seat assignments but if you want to pick a seat, you can pay an additional 3 euros per person to do so. And you can also dish out an additional 7 euros per person to have priority boarding. This means you get to go through the line first but only by a few scant minutes before the rest of the riff raff is let go...and in Venice where they are genetically incapable of forming a line, this is truly a waste of money.

Once on board, there are no freebies at all...water costs money as does that disgustingly old sandwich they offer. They even ask you for 2 euro for a scratch off ticket to try to win a car. They try to play on your heartstrings by telling you its for a childrens charity, but if you read the fine print, only a portion of the 2 euros is going to the charity.

The only thing they arent yet charging for is a fee to get off the plane once you land. I dont think this will be far behind. So, next time you board a plane in the US and complain, just remember how good you have it--at least for a short while still!

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