I fly around Europe quite a bit. Like most US citizens,
I had heard of RyanAir as a discount airline and hadn't heard of
the alternatives. The flights they offered seemed so cheap that
there had to be a catch. There is. I had such nightmarish
experiences with RyanAir that I've compiled a list of
alternative airlines that fly around Europe.
Next time I bought RyanAir tickets, but then they couldn't find my reservation
info when I showed up at Stansted airport. I spent about 8 hours at the
airport, most of the time waiting in line at their complaint counter. The
entire 8 hours I was there the complaint desk had a 1 hour wait, and the answer
from RyanAir was always the same, "Sorry, can't help you" to every single
person, regardless of who
was at fault. I had never seen such a brazen display of company callousness.
I was shocked, because I had become used to the FAA we have in the USA which
protects our rights as an airplane passenger. Keep in mind that while
Europe has the CAA, and while the CAA is dealing with many RyanAir complaints,
RyanAir seems to be able to get away with quite a bit more than the
FAA would allow.
Eventually I managed to jump on a plane that was flying to Southern Sweden,
and had quite an adventure trying to figure out how to get to Stockholm, but
that's another story.
RyanAir: 1 success, 1 failure
Evidently RyanAir didn't like the fact that they had a continuous queue at their complaint counter, so they came up with a RyanAir solution, they closed it. In its place they instituted a pay per minute complaint phone number. If you called it, you would hear a recording that was exactly one minute long explaining that you were now paying 1 Euro per minute. Then it would put you on hold.
The next year I decided to give it another try. RyanAir completely screwed up
my flights again, and ruined part of my trip. RyanAir's feelings on the
matter: "That's too bad"
RyanAir: 1 success, 2 failures
The year after I tried to find a different way to fly to Sweden but the options were either $30 on RyanAir or $300 on one of the major carriers (such as Lufthansa). I figured that it must have just been bad luck, and decided to save $270 and give them one last try. I was flying from Paris to Stockholm. I took the 1 hour bus ride which cost about $20. At the airport, they kept delaying the flight until they finally cancelled it "due to fog." I checked the schedule, and RyanAir still had undelayed planes leaving before and after ours with no problem. So a plane-full of people get in line and the answer is the same for all, we can put you on the Wednesday flight. This was a Sunday. I was supposed to be in Stockholm from Sunday until Thursday early morning, they've effectively destroyed the Stockholm portion of my travels, including going to see my friend in Stockholm who was the whole reason for the trip in the first place. No amount of begging would change their mind to let any of us fly earlier. Many people just threw away their tickets and went home, their weekend plans ruined. They also wouldn't reimburse us for the bus ride.
So I took another $20 bus back to the West side of Paris and started to try to call my host (who lives on the East side) while taking the Metro. The Metro shut down while I was on it, leaving me stranded in the center of town near the Louvre, which is dead at night, no taxis to be seen. It was only by sheer luck that one of my friends happened to see me as she drove by, and I hitched a ride back to my host. I then spent all night (and lots of money on international phone calls) trying to find a way to get to Sweden. After a full night of this, I finally reach someone on RyanAir who tells me that he can squeeze me onto the (Monday) morning flight.
So I once again take a $20 bus to the airport and wait. It's a little foggy out again, so I'm nervous that we won't take off, but eventually we do. And in relief I look around the plane and it is 2/3rds empty.
So, more than half of those people who had been forced to wait until Wednesday,
they could be sitting here with me, only a couple hundred dollars short
and 14 hours late.
RyanAir: 1 success, 3 failures
The next time I went to Stockholm I paid $300 to fly on a major airline instead of buying the $30 ticket that was available on RyanAir. And I'm completely confident that I saved money on that deal. I will never fly RyanAir again, under any circumstances. Fortunately, these days there are options to get to Stockholm on cheap airlines that don't have RyanAir's mark of horrible service.
I am not alone. The complaints filed against RyanAir are endless. RyanAir
is an Irish company, and 90% of all European complaints received by the consumer
authorities in Ireland are about RyanAir. They make money by cutting safety,
and their travel terms violate many international flight rules. Important
to note in their travel terms that they make no guarantee about
departure time, so if your plane is forever delayed you have no recourse.
RyanAir: some successes, ENDLESS failures
|whichbudget.com||WhichBudget is great! Pick a start and/or finish, and it lists cheap airlines that'll get you there.|
|flycheapo.com||More budget airlines|
|skyscanner.net||More budget airlines|
|List of low cost airlines||Courtesy Wikipedia|
|cheapflights.co.uk||Worldwide from the UK|
|DialAFlight||+44/0 870.333.4488||Worldwide from the UK, and you can call them.|
|RyanAir||RYANAIR IS EVIL|
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SWE: +46 5635.41780
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|Fly BMI||+44 (0)1332.854854||Cheap flights from SF->Manchester?|
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|ATUC (Air Transport Users Committee||Part of the CAA (the European FAA)|
|Crynair||RyanAir's most direct competition :)|
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