Ryanair slotting in between the Migs at Pula

Ryanair at Pula.jpg

I’ve been on holiday, so this is just an aviation travelogue (avialogue?), but it’s a bit offbeat, so here goes. We were in Croatia, one of the places in Europe where I still get a passport stamp, though when the Croatians negotiate their way into the EU I won’t anymore. We flew into Pula Airport with you know who and mixed it with the Carelesses, Cambers, and Fishbeds. A handy tip for travelling in Europe is that the word for ‘airport’ is sort-of the same everywhere. So if you ask a cab-driver for something with the syllables ‘air’ and ‘peurt’ in it then you’ll probably end up at the airport/aeroport/aeropuerto/etc – but not in Croatia where of course it’s the zračna luka.

At London Stansted, where we departed on one of the busiest days of the year, the various words used for ‘airport’ were pretty much unrepeatable. An utterly horrible experience.

Anyway, Croatia is popular with Russians and at Pula our arrival was just in time to watch the departure of an Atlant-Soyuz Il-86 (Camber), and a Rossiya Tu-154 (Crusty). I’d forgotten how noisy the beasts actually were, and that the 154 still leaves a faint smoke trail, but most of all, I’d forgotten just how shallow its climb angle is.

Later in the week we were looking at sculptures and, in my case, listening to what sounded suspiciously like two PT6As at full chat which were suddenly cut and predictably followed by half a dozen parachutes appearing in the air shortly afterwards. I think that was connected to nearby Vrsar – not sure what aircraft type, and might not have been PT6As, but something like that.

The rest of the time it was just the odd piston single beating up the beaches, until we got back to Pula for departure and the fun began. Two Mig-21 (Fishbeds) doing circuits – one in a snappy red and white chequered scheme (like a lot of things in Croatia) and one in camouflage. This and one of these I suppose.

Pula’s passenger terminal is, to put it at its gentlest, quiet. But in the Ryanair line the mood is one of cordial loathing as everyone swaps stories about the various irritants the airline heaps on you. Finally at the check-in a middle-aged couple is forced to swap a couple of articles of clothing from her suitcase to his in order to make them both come out at 15kg instead of 15.5kg and 14.5kg – at which point the mood switches to the usual outright hatred.

All the Croatians we met were friendly and helpful – but boy can they talk! Listening to Croatian is like immersing your ears in a warm, soothing river of nuts, bolts and occasional razor blades. On our 737 we sit behind a 30-something couple who literally do not stop for the entire two hours.

As usual, Ryanair arrives in London on time (despite being late into Pula, which it blames on the Croatian Air Force), and miraculously BAA delivers our bags a few minutes later. I’m completely baffled why this nearly very good airline insists on sabotaging its own product. Strange times .

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2 Responses to Ryanair slotting in between the Migs at Pula

  1. Layman August 12, 2008 at 1:05 pm #

    The carry-on bag story reminds of an Emirates flight from Istanbul where my wife and I shared one bag between us and it weighed 19kg. I explained that if we used two bags instead of one, the weight would be the same but to no avail – we had to reliquish it to have it stored in the hold. All our reading material and my wife’s medication were in there and we had to wait 6 hours before we were reunited with it. As you can imagine, mid-flight, she needed her medication and we had one utter miserable flight.
    Nice one… Emirates

  2. David August 15, 2008 at 1:44 pm #

    Forget about bag-weight, when are the airlines going to consider all-up weight (passenger plus baggage) and determine excess from that. How many of us have had to save a few kgs in baggage to avoid extra costs only to be plonked in a middle seat beside some whale who has to lift the armrest just to sit down?

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