An Open Letter to RyanAir, Who Are The Worst Airline In The World, Bar None

Dearest Ryanair,

Hello! Just a quick note to tell you that I will never, ever, be flying with you again. Never. That I will be seeking out any and all possible alternatives, and take whichever route to my destination that means I get to avoid setting foot on one of Ryanairs flying flea markets from now until you go into receivership. Not for lack of my custom, obviously: just because youre too dreadful to exist in any reasonable world.

I realise youre probably shrugging and making that corporate meh face that is intended to convey the very true fact that youve plenty of customers, that my custom (rare anyway, what with me living abroad) will not be missed, and that you couldnt give a shit whether I fly with you or not, and thats fine. I would expect nothing less from you.

I just needed to get this down on paper somewhere, because goodness knows it cant be said too often:
You suck, Ryanair. You suck, and I hate you, Ryanair.

Reasons I hate Ryanair
– I hate Ryanair because you seem to take pleasure in misleading passengers.
– I hate Ryanair because you pretend that your shitty attitude is excusable because it is no frills and compensated for by low prices, and then heap hidden charge upon hidden charge on your customers.
– I hate Ryanair because you seem to have no respect at all for the people who choose to use your service.
– I hate Ryanair, because in fact, you seem to believe that treating people like crap is the punishment they deserve for being stupid enough to fly with you in the first place.
– I hate Ryanair because you seem to have spent a long time working out, in detail, what it means to provide good customer service, and then made a conscious decision to do the polar opposite of that, in every single instance.

You might say that it is transparent to advertise the base price of your flight (whether it be £1 or £20, it bears no real relation to anything, lets face it) and then to detail the other costs as if they were somehow optional or reasonable, but youre fooling no one.

For anyone who hasnt had the pleasure – and I imagine that not a single person on the board at Ryanair would actually choose to ever fly on their shitty excuse for an airline – I can outline some of the more annoying things added to your fare when you purchase a no frills Ryanair flight online, outside of airport taxes and vat which are, of course, actual real things.
– Theres the fee for booking online.
– Theres a fee for checking in online, too, which you can do 15 days beforehand. Which is good, because if you turn up to the airport without printing out your boarding pass or somehow having lost it in the intervening days, you will be charged £40 to print out a new one. Yes. £40. Unless they have machines at the airport where you can print a replacement (and many of Ryanairs destination airports wont). £40 for a 6-inch piece of cardboard.
– There are the fees for every piece of checked baggage. It should be noted here that the only one carry-on bag rule is enforced more insanely by ryanair than any other airline. I was refused my second piece of carry on luggage (a 75cl bottle of water) at the gate unless I could fit it in my handbag. Worth noting too, that Ryanairs carry-on baggage allowance is smaller than anyone else, and a bag size around 1-inch smaller in all dimensions than standard luggage sizes. You can buy a special Ryanair-sized wheelie case that Ryanair have made in partnership with one particular bag company, but it costs £100 (and is too small to bother using as carry-on for any other airline).
– Theyll try and sell you priority boarding, and insurance, and all manner of other crap. Most of which is opt out rather than opt in during the booking process.
– About a billion other things that I cant be arsed to dredge from my memory, and am hoping never to see again. Theyd charge you for every yard of check-in terminal they made you shuffle along if they could. *Please god that doesnt give them any ideas.*

Once at the airport, any passenger can expect to be treated like cattle, shuffled into straggling, unruly lines that have no organisation whatsoever because putting queueing barriers up makes pulling passengers for closing flights into a new line impossible. Pulling customers from the main queue to one for closing flights is always necessary, however, as the lines are always long, and slow, because there are only ever about two check-in desks open per thousand customers or so. But thats the same for any budget airline.

For Ryanair, Check-in desks is the wrong term, though. These are bag drop desks. Strictly nothing else. Any customer who doesnt realise, or has brought an extra bag they suddenly need to check, or left any other part of the aforementioned ridiculous booking system out, will be turned away (generally after an hour or so of queueing) to go to a ticket sales desk, where they will be able to purchase the right to check a bag, and pay any other fees. They will, of course, also need a new boarding pass printed out with the amount of luggage amended, which will cost them another £40. The ticket sales desk – at least on the day we were at Stanstead – claims to only take cash. They will then need to join the back of the bag drop desk line again.

The choice of airports and location of such aside – my sister post I Hate You, Stanstead, More Than Words Can Say will be available at some point in the future – my main argument for the monumental suckage of Ryanair are the things that happen when you get on board.

On one 70 minute flight I took this last weekend, this is what happened:

– Before the doors closed, pompous classical pops were pumped through the onboard speakers. These were interrupted every minute or so by loud, aggressive adverts for J2O (Now that youve made your flight, what better refreshment than an overpriced mediocre juice drink from concentrate etc? ), Ryanairs partnership with a car rental company, and for the bar and bistro service we could look forward to, with several branded names of coffee, hot chocolate etc.
– As this was happening, cabin crew came round and handed out menus/price lists of the things mentioned on the advert and other available consumables. These were hilariously exorbitant. During the very short flight, the crew came round once for pre-orders, and the beverage trolley and bar came through the cabin three other times.
– Immediately after take-off, they played the J2O advert again, but REALLY LOUD.
I now hate j2O as well.
– We will now be coming through the cabin selling copies of the independent newspaper for your inflight reading pleasure. These are £1.50 each shouted the speakers above our heads, marking the moment the Independent sank lower in our estimation than ever before.
This is just an announcement shouted the speakers mere seconds after the paperboy had made his way down the aisle to remind customers that all Ryanair flights are now strictly NON SMOKING – which seemed fair and reasonable. All of everyones flights are non-smoking To that end, we would like to offer the opportunity to buy some of Ryanairs exclusive collection of smokeless cigarettes, which offer all the nicotine and experience of smoking that you want, but without the smoke, which you can use on any of or flights or airports, or anywhere else. We will now be passing through the cabin if you would like to purchase, or have any other questions.
– The bar came through, doling out their special offer of two spirit miniature bottles for the price of one, which is both irresponsible AND misleading, seeing as the price of one tiny miniature was already about eleventy billion pounds.
– After an announcement of several minutes and several dozen brand names length, a trolley came through offering perfumes and other duty-free type goods.
– After another announcement, the same trolley came through again, because there was a special offer this week on sports watches, and fuck knows wed’ve hated to miss out on that.
Ladies and Gentlemen, it is our special pleasure to announce that it could be your lucky day. We will now be coming through the cabin offering Ryanairs incredible scratchcards, offering incredible prizes and with some portion of the money that we wont elaborate on going to childrens charities. You could win a car, cash, or even vouchers for Ryanair flights in the future Oh what a treat. And theres a special offer meaning that these tickets are five for only ten pounds this week. We have a target of tickets to sell this flight, so please help us meet that as we pass through the cabin offering this remarkable opportunity. They continued, like we had ANY vested interest in helping them meet their sales targets. Or any interest at all.

Literally, as soon as one sales pitch and product march up and down the aisle had ended, the next begun. As the flight ended, a fanfare went off, announcing that Ta-da-ta-DAH! This Ryanair flight landed on time!, and we were supposed to hand them some kind of mental medal for managing to do the ONE AND ONLY THING we had paid them to do in the first place: get to the place they were going, at the time they said they were going there. Because if you cant charge people again, you might as well try and get a fucking round of applause out of them, right?

While I know that the cabin crew and staff of Ryanair are people doing their job, and that the decisions on policy and company personality are taken far above their heads, and that they are, at end of day, only following orders

And while I know that it is not easy to deal with people who are grumpy and tired and fractious because they have been pushed around like cattle all day, I cannot but hate the job it is that they do. I hate the game, not the player, but its hard to differentiate the two sometimes. Particularly when the players are sometimes as astoundingly surly, dismissive and smugly unhelpful as some of the ryanair staff Ive met. Still, poor lambs. It must be hard dreaming that one day youd have all the glamour and travel and opportunity and responsibility of an airline steward/hostess/whatever-were-calling it-this-week, and then you end up a cross between a cheap chain-pub bartender and a market trader, with just a touch of prison guard thrown in for good measure.

I cant fault your ability to tap into a market of travel industry glamour-seekers ready to have their souls crushed for a steady income and all the flights to third-rate regional airports they could dream of, Ryanair – but what you must do to source a steady stream of cut-price pilots, I shudder to imagine.

Theres just so much to hate about Ryanair.
Apart from the positive effect that after flying Ryanair, every other flight feels like a business class ticket on a luxury airline (even easyjet, who I flew with straight after ryanair yesterday. In comparison, it was like stepping into the rolls royce of air travel. seriously) theres just so much about you, Ryanair, that sucks, that its hard to put a finger on what it is about the Ryanair experience infinitely worse than any other carrier – including, yes, the US domestics, before anyone says it. Why it is that one Ryanair flight can undo almost all the relaxation and calm that a weeks holiday might have given you? What is, if youll excuse my American colloquialisms, the epitome of suckiness that ensures though I intend to fly every which where and every which who in the future, I will never, ever fly Ryanair again?

The thing that sums up how much you suck and/or should be hated, vilified, and ignored, Ryanair, is this:

I think I realised it when I was trying to work out what the weird thing was about the seating area. It wasnt legroom – heaven knows no airline has any of that anymore – it was the fact that the seat pockets have been completely removed. Presumably this is because it stops people trying to inconvenience the cabin crew by using them, then potentially leaving stuff in there, which would slow the cleaning process between the flights, and mean that the current practice of embarking the new passengers within ten minutes of disembarking the last lot would be subject to unthinkable holdups.

This means that the safety information about what to do if the plane crashes is given on a sticker, stuck to the back of the seat ahead at eye level for the whole flight, which is charming. But I realised another possible ramification of their taking the seat pockets away as we descended into London Stan sorry, Remote East-Anglia Stanstead, and it sums up everything I hate about Ryanair, and why I hate them so very much.
It is this:

– Taking the seat pockets away means that there are no small, discreet white bags tucked into easy reach for passengers who might feel ill.
– Sick bags might not be the most important or glamorous part of flying, but there are plenty of people who get very nauseous in aeroplanes, whether due to nerves, or air pressure, or over-indulgence, or any combination of the above.
– Generally, people seem to get the most sick on the final descent. I dont, generally, Im lucky, but Ive seen the change in pressure and usual turbulence at this point have some quite colourful effect on people around me on flights.
– Its not a point at which a steward could be called to give you a sick bag (or sell you one, most likely) as they too will be strapped in to their seats for landing. And its generally not a sensation people plan for in advance.
– So its the fact that in the eventuality that the process of being in a landing plane (or whatever) makes you ill, your Ryanair passenger has no alternative but to vomit on their own lap.

– And then almost certainly be charged for the clean-up fee.

Its this kind of thing that sums up for me all the most insidious, petty, mean things about the way Ryanair choose to treat their customers.

Bad service doesnt cover it. Its like an utter disdain, complete contempt for people who are fool enough to want to travel with them. It may be a great business model, but its a horrible attitude to have to your customers. And just a really unpleasant way to treat people.

And that, Dear Ryanair, is why, though a trip I took this weekend will remain beautiful in my memory regardless of the fact we stupidly decided that Ryanair was the most efficient travel solution, it is not a mistake I will make again. I will find any other mode of travel, any other route, anything at all that ensures I never have to set foot on a Ryanair plane again.

Because you suck, Ryanair. Really, REALLY hard.

Love anna