Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Flying on the cheap

There are a couple of super-discount airlines in Europe so we decided to try one out for our short trip to Sweden. Two round trip tickets on RyanAir cost around $40! Can you believe it?

We figured that it had to at least be safe since they have to meet all the same regulations as other airlines, but beyond that we weren't expecting a lot. We had to check in online or pay extra to check in at the terminal. We opted not to check bags, as that would have also cost extra and we only had a short trip. The dimensions of the allowed carry-on luggage seemed unreasonably small but we did our best to comply, worrying that they would measure and weigh everything. They didn't, and we saw other people with roll-alongs!

We had to drive an extra half hour to a different airport but for the savings we thought it was worth it. We happened to be traveling on one of the hottest days I've yet experienced in northern Europe- it was well over 80 degrees. I know it doesn't sound impressive but it was enough to keep us sweating through our 2 hour un-airconditioned drive and the quarter mile hike from the parking lot to the terminal. As we stepped inside, the expected rush of cool air failed to greet us. No A/C in the discount airport! The building itself was nothing more than a huge enclosed tent, with no fans or air circulation of any kind! But, more importantly the drinks were cold so we kicked off our vacation with a refreshing adult beverage!

RyanAir does not assign seats on its flights. As they announced boarding people started jockeying for position in line to get on the plane. I feared the worst but it was actually pretty civilized. And wouldn't you know- everyone got a seat and people traveling together even got to sit together. AND the plane had A/C! Yippee! No free half a can of soda or one ounce of pretzels (which you're lucky to get anymore even on the regular airlines) but that was okay with us. Because of the timing of our flight we decided to buy sandwiches on the plane so we could hit the ground running in Stockholm. I can only recommend the food as an alternative to starvation, though they did also have packaged snacks. Next time I'll go with the M&M's.

The flight attendants were courteous and professional, the cabin was comparable to all others I've been in and the flights were on time, even early! We determined that it was a successful experiment and that we should fly everywhere that RyanAir goes! What's next- Dublin, Milan, Mallorca?


Jon said...

I believe today is your birthday. Hope you have a great one-- can't wait to see you & Aaron!

Craig R said...

birthday?! I owe you a birthday drink and dance. see you soon!