I recently experienced the delight of flying Ryanair from Manchester to Madrid for the first time and what an interesting experience it was. The flight was scheduled to depart Manchester at 6.30am and so it was a crack of dawn job to be at the airport for 4.30am.
Upon arrival we joined a very long queue to get our suitcase ticketed for the hold (not the most thrilling experience I have had so early in the morning!) and then went through security relatively quickly. Ryanair insist that they shut the boarding gate 30 minutes before departure but at 6.30 we were still waiting to board. No explanation or apology was issued for the delay but 50 minutes later we eventually took off.
Similarly on returning we arrived at Madrid airport over two hours prior to departure and went through bag ticketing very quickly and smoothly (what is it about Manchester airport that they can make the “travelling experience” so bloody awful?). Our flight was scheduled for 10.40am and we eventually took off at 11.46am. Again no explanation or apologies, and indeed we had heard one of the staff say that the incoming flight had left Manchester EARLY!
What struck me about the whole experience is that Ryanair are very quick to instigate punitive financial penalties for the slighted infringement of their rules but do nothing when they screw things up (how about a free bottle of water whilst we sat for 40 mins in the plane waiting to take off?). This seems to be a very one sided deal very much in favour of the airline and “sod the poor passenger.”
The CEO of Ryanair has expressed the view “what do they expect when prices are so low?” Well, a little better communication with passengers about delays for a start off, a little more consideration for passengers with refreshments and a stop to the “hard line” punitive measure for minor infraction of the rules would help.