Originally, I didn’t create this blog to complain about things. But sometimes things are just too annoying. Like Ryanair. It’s a most annoying airline and I feel I have to get rid of the experience I just had on Bergamo Airport in Italy. And I started thinking about alternatives.
I guess you already flew with Ryanair yourself. Low-budget airlines are still one of the cheapest way to travel in Europe – at least if you want a fast journey. We all know the plastic seats with about 20 cm space for your legs are uncomfortable, but well, if I don’t want to pay more money I have no right to complain about them. What I want to complain about are other things that make Ryanair dislikable.
First, the booking process. The hundreds of things that cost extra. The hundreds of things they want to sell to you when you simply need a flight ticket. Insurances, rental cars, hotel rooms, suitcases that have exactly the hand luggage dimensions Ryanair dictates, seats with more leg space, priority boarding… Further, it is obligatory to check in online and print out your ticket. You have to choose your seat, but if you check in more than 7 days in advance, this costs 5 Euro per person – for a regular seat without priority boarding, of course! So everyone whose journey is longer than one week will have to pay, if he or she isn’t sure about the internet conditions and printers available at the destination. I mean, this is just unfair!
Finally, after a relaxing holiday, I flew home from Bergamo Airport. It is a small airport, but it is used as a gateway to Milan, so I should have seen it coming: Huge masses of people! Sunday evening, apparently rush hour. Ryanair flights were starting to all destinations every five minutes. The queue in front of the check point where they scan your hand luggage was incredible! It took me more than one hour to get through. Only half of the counters were open. It was hot. Many people were jumping the queue, desperate to catch their flights. Over our heads, the supervisors repeatedly screamed a list of items that were to be put out of the bags and sent through the scan separately: cameras, laptops, liquids. Oh, I forgot to mention: All liquids in the hand luggage (less than 100 ml each bottle) have to be put in a special plastic bag, which you can purchase from Ryanair.
In the end, the passengers of the flight to Bremen had to walk over the movement area to our airplane, although right there was one of these tubes that can be docked on the plane. But I guess that would have cost too much time. Or money. We took off with a delay of 40 minutes.
And because I don’t like people who complain without offering alternatives, I collected some possibilities for low-budget traveling in Europe:
- “Europe Special” – Tickets from 39 Euro (second class). You can travel from or to Germany and book at the earliest 3 months in advance. The good connections where you don’t have to change trains so often are booked out very quickly. And I can say from my own experience changing is very exhausting because there is always a delay and you may miss your next train.
- For Non-Europeans who want to visit Germany: “German Rail Pass”. For example: 5 days of traveling, adult, second class: 211 Euro.
- “InterRail”, for Europeans or residents of Russia or Turkey. There are various possibilities for the time of validity and destinations. For example: “Global Pass” for 5 days traveling during a period of 10 days, adult (26 and over), second class: 281 Euro. The maximum is one month (668 Euro).
- By Bus, for example with Eurolines
- Or you just travel together with (hopefully) nice people and share a car. You can find them for example on carpooling.co.uk, or mitfahrzentrale.de
I didn’t use these alternatives yet, except the “Europe Special”. So I can’t give you more details and of course I can’t guarantee there won’t be unpleasant experiences, too. If you want to travel without stress, I guess you always have to pay a little more. But I will try one of these alternatives next time! 🙂