With all the recent hullabaloo about Ryanair, following a UK television programme in mid-February about safety lapses, there can only be one way to find out the real truth behind what really goes on during a flight with the Irish low-fares giant – try it yourself.
That’s what I have just done for the first time as I travelled over to Dublin this afternoon to attend the Airline Business/UATP Airline Distribution conference. I must say I am disappointed, for Ryanair’s product and service did just about exactly what it claims on the tin (to paraphrase a UK commercial for Do-It-Yourself products).
It was cheap: the London Gatwick-Dublin return cost a mere ｣57.10, with only ｣23 of that attributable to the actual airfare. Some ｣30 of taxes gobbled up most of my money.
It was on-time to the minute. In fact, I timed the turnaround at Gatwick, which was an impressive 31 minutes from the Boeing 737 stopping at the gate to the departure for Dublin. It only took this long because of refuelling, we passengers were all settled and ready well before.
There were no-frills, but that is to be expected with Ryanair.
And on the safety and security side it all seemed to go like clockwork. All passports were checked properly, all procedures were followed to the letter.
My only gripe is that it was almost a non-experience. The staff could have been robots they were so disinterested and perfunctory about their task. This is the one area that Ryanair could do better – some simple warmth, a smile, some interest in the customer costs nothing and generates plenty of brand loyalty.
But I did get value for money didn’t I, so I can hardly complain. Which is just what a Ryanair executive would say.
I’ve got another flight on thursday with Ryanair when I go home. I suspect the truth will be much the same. We’ll see.