ryanair review | this city life
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Ryanair review: My first Ryanair flight

As the flight comparison website finally decided what would be our fate, jumbling airline after airline, we were met with doom. Ryanair. The only available flight to Kos on the day we needed. Our hands were tied. I’d never flown Ryanair before. I’d never even been on their website. But since our dates were not, for the first time, flexible at all we had no choice. Ryanair it was. I immediately decided that this was something I’d have to write about – a Ryanair review.

Ryanair review - plane
Ryanair Boeing 737 by dr_tr on Flickr

Do a quick search for their name and you see it all – I Hate Ryanair websites, 1 star reviews on flight comparison sites, even whole advice pages dedicated to avoiding the airline’s love of extra fees. So, needless to say I wasn’t really looking forward to my flight with them. I moaned to friends: “Yeah I’m looking forward to it, but it’s with Ryanaaaaair”. GROAN, SOB, WHINGE.

Yet, surprisingly, my flight went without a hitch. And I was rather impressed.

Boarding surprises.

Checking in online is the only option, so a little confused from all the information on how to avoid extra charges, we assumed we had to book a seat when checking in online and so paid £10 each to reserve a seat on the plane. The seating plan looked as if the only seats left were aisle seats opposite each other, since all the other seats were greyed out and marked as ‘unavailable’, so we begrudgingly reserved those and tapped in the card details with ‘argh Ryanair’ faces. I grumbled afterwards, but that suddenly stopped when we boarded in the priority lane and I realised we’d bagged ourselves exit row seats. Yes we paid an extra £10 each for the privilege of extra leg room and the worry that we’d actually have to use the damn exits, but man did that space feel gooood. I’d never experienced an exit row seat before, so I’m sort of pleased that I managed to do it with a budget airline price.

Ryanair review - cabin
Ryanair cabin by bigpresh on Flickr

Flying high.

The flight was pretty normal too. We bought drinks and food before we boarded, weren’t tempted by the rip-off scratchcards or duty-free, and only took one small suitcase as hand luggage. It didn’t feel as relaxed as Easyjet, nor as comfortable, but I didn’t have any issues – which was a surprise to me. I was expecting the seats to be hard, the staff to be rude, the waiting unbearable, and the journey as bumpy as hell – but, there was nothing unbearable about it. All of the other passengers seemed to be seasoned Ryanair passengers, mentioning how good the flight was this time and “where to next?”.

Why I still won’t be tempted to book Ryanair again

I said the flight went without a hitch, but it still wasn’t the sort of experience that I’d be rushing to book again.

It’s just not as good as others. Sure it’s a no-frills airline, and yes you get what you pay for, but I’d still pick a fraction more comfort by flying with Easyjet and paying around the same price. If I could afford to fly British Airways everywhere, I definitely would.

Do they care about families? It might have just been my flight, but I noticed while queuing in priority boarding that they didn’t call up the elderly or parents with young children to board first. Call me British, but shouldn’t it be standard procedure to allow the disabled, elderly and families with small ones the first pick of the seats? As we got settled on board, I saw a mother with her baby trying to find a seat and felt bad that she hadn’t been able to get comfortable before anyone else. Two families with young kids had to sit separately too.

Have you had a similar Ryanair flight? A better one? A truly terrible one? Tell me your experiences in the comments.

Charley is a professional copywriter and tea-lover currently living in Leeds. She writes about city living and city travel (with a few cats thrown in).