Thursday, October 27, 2011


We all like to save money, get an item discounted, or a service for a cheaper price, it's a good feeling. The thing with bargain prices is that sometimes you get what you pay for, shit in exchange. 

Other times you start out with what is known as a "low ball" incredibly inexpensive price, but after they add on at the last minute everything that normally comes included by others, the  final price you pay is significantly more than the most expensive original price you were trying to avoid.

Almost every one that has used air travel has a story to tell about their flight, some so bizarre, that it sounds like a lie. I have used my customary fact check procedures and then double checked today's post as being true facts. Besides, you just can't make this stuff up anyway as these things defy the most fertile imagination.

In addition to terrible customer service, airlines have earned the reputation for being enormous tightwads, each year finds a new once free amenity to bleed customers of their dollars. Want to use a thin useless blanket? That’s $7. Want to eat a soggy turkey sandwich with a side of rubbery string cheese, $12, please. Last June Delta earned criticism for charging soldiers returning from Afghanistan $2,800 in excess baggage fees.
My favorite story is about the Pilot and Co-Pilot for Frontier Airlines who both fell asleep at the controls of a short 3 hour flight from Baltimore to Denver, woken up only 20 minutes from landing, after a frantic air traffic controller noticed they were flying too fast and too high, finally got these snoozing sleeping beauties to hear him after multiple unanswered radio transmissions.

No matter how bad it gets, even the sketchiest, cheapest airlines are no match for Ireland’s Ryanair.
You remember them, they have this ingenious cost saving idea to remove toilets from their airplanes, or leaving 1 toilet, and make it pay as you go. to use it.

One thing I have noticed in my air travels, is that a lot of passengers on a typical airplane go to the bath room regardless of it being a short, medium, long hour flight. As a people watcher I take notice of these important statistics, and there is just something about being on an airplane, that seems to make people need to go to the toilet. 

I mean there are often lines at the 3 bathrooms on a plane, and half of these people are repeat users, even though I am sure they used the rest room facilities at the airport prior to boarding.  Even the pilots and crew use the bathrooms multiple times to my surprise, since I would think they have "trained" bladders as part of the skills taught to them.
No big deal, when you got to go , you got to go, we are all human and in the scheme of things that is why there are toilets on airplanes, until now.
Ryanair Removing Toilets To Make Way For Seats
The European low-cost airline Ryanair has announced it would remove two of the three lavatories on its planes. Cutting back on bathrooms will allow Ryanair to add up to six extra seats, reports the Daily Mail.

Forget about coughing up the extra euro for that overpriced can of soda on Ryanair, you're going to need the bladder space. In October 2011, Ryanair expressed its intolerance for people with bladders.The budget airline announced that it would remove two or three toilets from its aircraft to make room for  these six extra seats. Up to 200 passengers and six crew would share a bathroom during the flight. Currently, there is no legal stipulation for an airline to provide toilets on its aircraft, but Ryanair has not announced a date to implement their plan.

Michael O’Leary, chief executive of the European budget airline Ryanair, is a true piece of Corporate work, a pompous, greedy, egomaniac, uncaring type, who caters to peoples willingness to be treated like shit, to save a dollar. 

He was discussing his new scheme to charge passengers to go to the bathroom. O'Leary said, "We very rarely use all three toilets on board our aircraft anyway." But apparently he is doing us all a favor the way he sees it. The move "would fundamentally lower air fares by about 5 percent for all passengers, cutting £2 (US$3) from a typical £40 (US$63) ticket." I wonder if the cost of toilet paper is included in the fee, or is it extra? What a steal, now that's a bargain.

Most passengers, the “discretionary toilet visitors,” as he calls them would eventually forgo in-flight bathroom use altogether, he predicted. What if the plane were stricken by some nasty, effluent illness, like food poisoning? A snorting noise wafted over from the chair where Mr. O’Leary was sitting. “We don’t serve enough food for everybody to get food poisoning,” he said.

The mystery is why so many people are willing to put up with an airline that, in the words of The Economist Magazine, “has become a byword for appalling customer service, misleading advertising claims and jeering rudeness towards anyone or anything that gets in its way.”

“Nobody helps you — it’s as simple as that,” said Malcolm Ginsberg, editor in chief of the travel newsletter, describing what happens to Ryanair passengers who need assistance.

That is not the point, this twit,  O’Leary said in a recent interview. “Our customer service is unlike every other airline, which has this image of, ‘We want to fall down at your feet and you can walk all over us and the customer is always right,’ and all that nonsense.”

“Will we give you a refund on a non refundable ticket because your granny died unexpectedly?” he asked. “No! Go away. We’re not interested in your sob stories! What part of ‘no refund’ do you not understand?”

Miss your flight because you had to wait too long at a Ryanair help desk? Too bad! Your luggage is slightly overweight? Throw away the excess, or wear it on the flight! Try to tote your duty-free purchases onto the plane in a shopping bag, when you already have a carry-on bag? Prepare to fork over $40 at the gate.

“But if you want anything more — go away! Will we put you in a hotel room if your flight was canceled?” Mr. O’Leary asked rhetorically. “No! Go away.”

By contrast, Mr. O’Leary continued, Ryanair promises four things: low fares, a good on-time record, few cancellations and few lost bags.
However, his company refuses to be a member of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) which is normally responsible for recording punctuality. We only have Ryanair's word on their punctuality, so if he says so, then it must be true, you can trust him I am sure he wouldn't lie.

Ryainair's fleet is solely comprised of Boeing 737-800 aircraft. Ryanair operates 300 Boeing 737-800 aircraft on over 1,100 routes including more than two dozen in Ireland and the UK; overall, it serves more than 25 countries throughout Europe, plus Morocco

Comparing September 2011 with September 2010, Ryanair reported a 6 percent hike in passenger numbers, from 6.84 million to 7.25 million. Through September 2011, the airline carried 76.8 million passengers, reported the airline.

The airline's website also claims that in 2010, profits rose 26 percent to more than €401m (US$551m) despite higher fuel prices, the global recession, and volcanic ash disruptions in the spring. Despite wanting to strip their passengers of basic comforts like toilets and seat pockets, Ryanair is doing good business.

How could that be? Is it really worth a couple of dollars to be treated like shit and told that you as a customer are a meaningless inconvenience to Ryanair? Apparently so, where is the dignity and self worth that each of us should expect for ourselves from those we do business with, self pride flushed down the toilet for a buck.

Some of Ryanair's other true but hard to believe incidents, more than enough to make you think whether it's worth saving a few dollars in flying an airline that would use rubber bands if it could, instead of jet engines to save on gasoline

Wait, that is not all. This is just the wing tip of the Ryanair "experience", so I picked a few mild examples of the other things you might get lucky and enjoy for your money if you are dumb enough to fly their airline.
A Ryanair flight took off on the evening of September 29 with around 200 passengers from London’s Stansted airport to Riga, Latvia but had to turn around 20 minutes into the flight “after duct tape on a cockpit window came loose and started making "alarming noises".The tape was fastened around the edges of a windscreen in the cockpit, which had been put on by ground crew before take off, the Telegraph reports.

Anthony Neal, a passenger from Kent, told The Sun: ‘We were kept in the dark, and were terrified. I could see guys taping in the windscreen with what looked like duct tape or gaffer tape. We were in the sky, then the pilot said due to damage on the windscreen, we were going to have to turn back.’”

A spokesman from Ryanair insists that the airline was operating within safety standards, and the Irish Aviation Authority told the Daily Mail, “All the maintenance was carried out in line with the correct procedures. The pilot took the correct action by returning to base.” That really answers the question of the the duct tape being there in the first place, very smooth spin from the Public Relations Dept. on that, but I guess they have a lot of practice in making up fantasy answers to real problems.

A replacement plane was found after two hours and I bet you all the passengers got on it, although I know I wouldn't have. Where did they "find" this replacement plane, in a junk yard, or the local "rent a wreck" dealer, perhaps it was having its jet engines taken apart for its 25 year maintenance check

Many of airlines’ decisions are made to keep costs low and seats cheap. That said, using duct tape on a windshield in full view of passengers was guaranteed to have a psychological impact on those unlucky enough to see the repair. While duct tape has amazing legendary uses, I don't want to see it holding a piece of an airplane together that I am flying on, there is simply not enough Valium on earth to get me through a flight after seeing something like that. 

When Per-Erik Jonsson went into cardiac arrest, on a RyanAir flight from the U.K. to Sweden, he became unconscious, all the airline staff did was offer him a sandwich.

63, broke into a cold sweat and asked his wife for some water roughly one hour into the flight, The Local reports.

His wife soon realized that Jonsson had lost consciousness and alerted plane staff as Jonsson's stepdaughter, Billie Appleton, tried to rouse him. "He didn't respond when I tried to shake him. Appleton who is a nurse, slapped Jonsson on the chest to get him to breath again, reports
. Appleton said she shouted for a doctor and told the flight crew that Jonsson needed oxygen.

But the flight crew, Appleton claims, was ill-equipped to handle the situation. Instead, no oxygen, no first aid, no kidding. She says, the airline staff "said he had low blood pressure and gave him a sandwich and a soda." EU regulations mandate that cabin crew be trained in first-aid and pilots should alert air traffic control about a seriously ill passenger. 

In a statement Ryanair of course defended the cabin crew, saying they had acted appropriately. Sure they did, keep saying that 100 times, practice makes perfect lying.

Their statement continued that "in line with procedures for such cases the Ryanair cabin crew suggested a diversion to the nearest airport or to have an ambulance on stand-by on arrival at Skavsta, so that the passenger could receive medical treatment," the spokesman said. Yet the Jonsson family says the airline did not, in fact, have an ambulance waiting and instead they had to arrange to drive Jonsson to the hospital themselves. 

Remember, this man just had a heart attack and his family has to drive him to the hospital because no ambulance was called by the airline to treat him and transport him.

By the way, of course, naturally, once Jonsson had recovered slightly, the flight crew came to the family asking for payment for the sandwich and soda.

You have to have your priorities in order at Ryanair, a Corporation that flaunts its true feelings about the rest of us mere peons, money for some slop food no response to providing oxygen, no ambulance, no first aid for saving a human beings life who just had a heart attack.

Then there is Ryanair passenger Henrik Ulven who dared to ask for something else to eat on a flight and was escorted off the plane upon landing.

All Ulven wanted was a "fresh made premium sandwich" that the airline claims they serve. Instead, he got what he claimed was inedible and "tasted like rubber." He asked the flight attendant for something else to eat; the flight attendant told him, basically, to eat what he's given. Ulven thought she was kidding and kept complaining.

Wrong he was on that one: upon landing at Norway's Rygge airport, local police boarded the plane and escorted him off. According to the police, he had given the cabin crew "a mouthful."

Then there is the famous MUTINY ON RYANAIR not to be confused with the movie "Mutiny on the Bounty". Spain's government says police removed more than 100 passengers from a plane preparing to leave the Canary Islands after a large scuffle broke out on board. La Provincia, a Spanish newspaper, said the disruption happened when low-cost Ryanair tried to charge one passenger extra for carry-on baggage and his friends aboard the plane "mutinied."An Interior Ministry spokesman said the pilot was preparing for takeoff at Guacimeta airport on the Lanzarote island resort for Charleroi, Belgium, when she radioed for police assistance.

He said that, of the 168 passengers, only 64 were allowed to re-board Saturday's flight. The rest had to find other carriers and some spent the night on Lanzarote. Ryanair confirmed the passengers "became disruptive and refused to comply with crew instructions" after a requirement to pay a gate bag fee "for outsized luggage."


Wait, Wait, there's  even more crazier stuff, Ryanair wants passengers to STAND during its flights so the budget airline can squeeze more people on board. The Irish air carrier plans to cut costs by making fliers perch on stools with seat belts around their waists. 

Not a joke, they are serious, you want to fly standing room only, bargain price, sounds real comfortable doesn't it, and of course safe. Chief executive Michael O'Leary has already held talks with US plane manufacturer Boeing about designing (see prototype above) an aircraft with standing room. Should the idea get the go-ahead from the Irish Aviation Authority, the airline plans to either order new jets or refurbish its existing fleet.

Ryanair estimates it would be able to pack in 30 per cent more passengers while slashing costs by 20 per cent. Spokesman Stephen McNamara said: 'It would be vertical seating more akin to a stool and the person would still be strapped in.

If and when you take off and land, they have one last surprise in store for you bargain hunters. The airline last month announced plans to make passengers carry all their own luggage up to the planes. Ryanair customers will carry all their bags and suitcases through security departure lounges rather than checking them in. They can carry aboard one piece of hand luggage, but leave any other baggage beside the aircraft to be loaded into the hold. They then pick it up the same way on arrival.

Next they will charge you to breathe the oxygen in the plane and anyone who weighs over 4 pounds, has to pay a weight surcharge fee, there could be fees for exiting the airplane door, entering the door, having a door, having pilots to fly the plane instead of instrument flying. OMG, the  possibilities are endless.

All this leaves me with the creeps about the exhaustive, incredible outer limits that the human mind can create both as a business and the fools that will be suckers enough to buy anything, sort of the ones who respond to  the latest email that they won the Nigerian National Lottery, and willingly send back their bank account information, with their online log in data so their winnings can be properly deposited.

By the way, do you think Ryanair ever
checks the oil which they probably haven't changed in 5 years, or even does the minimum required maintenance of the moving parts of their airplanes?  

They even strip down the insides of their airplane cabins so there are no magazines, nothing that will add weight to the plane, so they can save on gasoline. I mean do you actually believe they fill the gas tank to full when their planes fly? I don't get the feeling that they do.

I can hear them now, before takeoff, "put $5 worth of gas in the fuel tanks, there is a good wind today for gliding".

I recently spoke to someone very close to me who flew Ryanair and described it as a "bizarre experience", and that was before they even got on the airplane. With little surprise, there really is no organized check in system. You are commanded, herded by Ryanair Staff who appear to be former disgruntled prison guards, to stand for an hour in a complex array of unknown, unmoving lines, going to nowhere, while not being told anything. At some point an unknown higher authority approves these lines to move.

Your carry on bag is then weighed on a special scale before you can board the airplane. The hand baggage allowance on Ryanair flights is only 55cm x 40cm x 20cm (21.6" x 15.7" x 7.8"). This despite the IATA (International Air Transport Association) larger standard hand baggage allowance is 56cm x 45cm x 25cm (22" x 17.7" x 9.8").

But even worse, as these pictures show, is that when your hand baggage does fit in the metal frame, sometimes the airport staff still charge you for having oversized hand luggage. As you can see in the picture on the left, this man put his baggage in the frame and it fit. And then, in the picture on the right, you see him waiting to pay for "oversized luggage". 

Why? It's part of the pay and pay add on fees of this budget airline company. His bag is made of a soft material and sags when stood upright. He had to squeeze the bag for it to fit, which was deemed unacceptable. But the bag is clearly of the correct size and has not been overfilled.

But at least this gentleman was allowed to board. Other passengers have not been so lucky. There are many interesting, actually very strange reasons that Ryanair uses to deny passengers for the privilege of flying on their airplane. They get more fees for booking another flight, by the way they charge each person an individual, extra credit card fee, per flight.

Reasons Ryanair Might Deny Boarding

No Stamp on Boarding Pass (non-EU citizens) 
 If you are from outside the EU, you must have your boarding pass stamped by a member of staff at the information desk. If you proceed directly to the gate without this, you will be denied boarding.
  • Oversized Luggage
    Ryanair has a strict baggage policy, with hand luggage dimensions as has been previously explained. At many airports you are not allowed to carry any "duty-free", unless it fits in your hand luggage. Normally you will be able to pay a fine to carry these items on, but if their credit card machine is broken and you have no cash, then you will be denied boarding.
  • Slight Damage to Passport
    If there is a slight tear on the passport page. The passport is perfectly legal, but the airline can deny boarding at its own discretion.

  • Traveling with Local Form of ID not Recognized by the Airline
    Ryanair doesn't believe in following local laws, only Irish law. Therefore if you have a form of ID legal in your country, if Ireland doesn't recognize it, you will be denied boarding.

  • Passengers Traveling with a Driving License on Internal UK Flights
    For internal flights in most of the EU and for flights between Schengen countries, a national ID card is sufficient identification. But a problem arises for UK passengers on internal UK flights. The UK does not have ID cards. Many airlines accept photographic driving licenses. Ryanair does not.
  • Deaf or Blind Passengers, Traveling Alone and Who Haven't Advised Ryanair.This is actually an improvement on Ryanair policy: before, they only allowed four blind passengers in total, regardless of whether they were accompanied or not.
  • The Fifth Sole Traveling Passenger Requiring Assistance, Even if you have advised the airline, if there are four or more passengers who require assistance, only the first four will be allowed to board.

  • Traveling with a Guide Dog on Certain Routes 
  • With a Leg in a Cast
    Passengers with their leg in a cast must purchase three seats
    or they will be denied boarding.
You got your cheap flight because someone else was caught by one of their many little 'ways' when they got to the airport. Your cheap flights are being subsidized by other people's mistakes. And next time, it could be you that makes that mistake.

I have never flown Ryanair, I never will. I wouldn't fly them for free, or even if they paid me money to experience their unique ways of caring for customers,especially one you trust with your life.
No way you will ever see me flying with these fine, lovely folks. I do wonder what they will do when the first passenger refuses to use their pay toilet, or no toilet, and pees into a cup they have brought with them. Now that should be quite a scene to be there during that moment in history. Stay tuned.