A Mediterranean Cruise and Four Days in Ireland
US Airways Business Class (Envoy) Philadelphia to Venice
Two Magical Days in Venice
Boscolo Venezia Hotel in Venice
Holland America Line’s Nieuw Amsterdam: Introduction, Itinerary, and the Pinnacle Suite
Holland America Line’s Nieuw Amsterdam: Katakolon and Athens
Holland America Line’s Nieuw Amsterdam: Istanbul, Mitilini, and Kusadasi
Holland America Line’s Nieuw Amsterdam: Santorini and Argostoli
Holland America Line’s Nieuw Amsterdam: Sailing into Venice
Holland America Line’s Nieuw Amsterdam: Cruise Review
Ryanair Economy Class Venice-Treviso to Dublin
Two Days in Dublin
The Aran Islands and Galway, Ireland
Driving the West Coast of County Clare, the Cliffs of Moher, and Bunratty Meadows B&B
Aer Lingus 757 Business Class Shannon to Boston
We awoke to a beautiful, Venetian morning where we disembarked the ship early and had our driver waiting to take my Aunt and Uncle to Venice-Marco Polo airport for their Lufthansa flights to Frankfurt and London before a United flight back to Washington-Dulles. The driver of the private mini-bus then took my girlfriend and I out to Treviso airport for our Ryanair flight to Dublin!
First, a little background for those not familiar with Ryanair. Based out of Dublin, with hubs at Dublin and London-Stansted, Ryanair is Europe’s largest discount carrier, and Europe’s largest airline in general based on passengers carried. Ryanair is a no-frills carrier that operates extremely cheap flights throughout Europe, and really makes its profit with ancillary revenue, such as bag fees, seat assignments, and an aggressive buy-on-board campaign featuring food, beverages, gift items, and lottery / raffle tickets. Many are critical of its charges, but if you successfully navigate their website, you can really get an awesome deal on airfare within Europe.
Ryanair (FR) 9451
Venice-Treviso (TSF) – Dublin (Dub)
Aircraft: Boeing 737-800
Wednesday, May 14
10:10AM – 12:25PM
As this was my first flight on Ryanair, I was expecting the worst. Check-in certainly did not disappoint.
Since I consider myself a somewhat savvy traveler, I thought I understood Ryanair’s checked bag policy. After the following experience, it became clear to me that I did not.
I’d previously purchased each of us 20kg worth of luggage, and the night before the flight, I bought and additional 15kg for myself since I anticipated my checked bag to be more than 20kg. Check-in and bag drop at Treviso is contracted out, and the experience was abysmal.
Ryanair utilizes an extremely glitchy automated bag-drop machine at Treviso. After finally getting my girlfriend’s bag checked, the machine could not process my bag, so I was directed to wait in a massive queue to work with a human being. At this time, there was only ONE desk being worked by a real human, despite three Ryanair flights departing during this timeframe. So, as you can imagine, it was pure chaos. After about a thirty minute wait in line, I was advised by the contract check-in agent that though I had gladly paid the €20 fee for the extra 15kg of luggage, it could only be accepted AS A SEPARATE BAG – a separate bag that I did NOT have. My bag ultimately weighted 23kg, and I’d intended on the extra weight I’d purchased to pay for the overage. Alas, this was not how the agent saw it. She said that I must split the contents of my 23kg bag into two bags – one weighing 20kg or less, and the other 15kg or less.
Since we did not have another bag in which to put the extra 3kg of luggage, I tried taking my suits our of my checked bag and putting them in a hang-up garment bag. This decreased the weight of my big bag to 19.8kg. I then asked if I could hand carry the suits in the garment bag onboard, and I was denied that privilege as it was deemed “oversized.” A hangup / garment bag – deemed over-sized.
Seriously? I take this as a “personal item” on domestic US carriers, and they even offer to hang it in the closet 90% of the time.
The agent then asked while rolling her eyes, “Is this seriously the best thing you can come up with?” I replied in the affirmative, to which she responded that they would be happy to check the hang-up / garment bag, but would have to label it as over-sized and as such, I’d have to pay an additional €50 fee. I was not having this, since I’d paid €20 + €20 for my bags already, so I naturally argued this. Eventually, the agent succumbed to reason and agreed that I had a valid point. She allowed me to check this “oversized” hangup bag without an extra fee.
This ordeal finally was resolved after about an hour and 15 minutes. Thankfully, the rest of the boarding process was uneventful.
Since I’d purchased seats with additional leg room, they included priority boarding, which was nice since the queue was pretty long. The flight itself was fine. Plenty of leg room in row 1, so I can’t comment on what others claim is terrible seat pitch throughout the rest of the cabin — it was worth the €10, for sure. The crew was friendly, attentive, and very pleasant. The flight was on time, too despite a delayed departure. The constant sales pitches for scratch off lotto tickets, bus transfers, and everything else were indeed cheesy, but expected. I did not purchase any food, but did partake in a drink after my luggage ordeal. In other words, if ancillary revenue is the goal, Ryanair certainly made some money off me.
Overall, the price and timing were both right for this flight. At only €49 a piece, and a wonderfully timed schedule, we were really left with no other option. Even after the extra €40 in bag fees and €10 for additional leg room, this option was still less than half the price of the next cheapest alternative, so it was clearly the best option for us. The abysmal ground services along with the deceptive and terrible booking process would make me think twice before flying Ryanair again, but if the price differential is anywhere near as vast as it was for this trip, I wouldn’t hesitate to fly with them — the price is just too cheap to totally avoid them.