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May, 2016

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I feel fortunate in that I’ve reached the age of 56 without having ever flown Ryanair which I’ve always avoided at all costs due to their perceived reputation. However, they offered the best deal for my flight from Stanstead to Budapest and I bit the bullet.

Outbound Flight
The 8.30am flight was scheduled to arrive at lunch time and although this meant getting up at 4.30am, I figured I could catch up missed sleep on the flight. At 5.50am a lot of people were already checking in and unfortunately, I chose the wrong queue: the guy must surely be on a ‘must improve’ at his annual appraisal due to the low numbers he dealt with compared to others. Another long queue followed for security (which to be fair wasn’t the fault of Ryanair) and I then realized that years of flying business class with British Airways has turned me an into impatient snob.

I paid £15 for priority boarding which meant I got on early and avoided queuing in the drizzle. My £15 also allowed me to choose a seat (1c) with good leg room but I found the seats really narrow. I’ve also either put on weight or the seat belts have got shorter as it was pretty tight.

To be fair, the flight was pretty uneventful and although we set off 30 minutes late, we made up some of the time, landing only 10 minutes behind schedule.

Return Flight
The check in desk didn’t open until exactly two hours before my 3.35pm flight, however when it did, I was quickly checked in and waiting for the gate number to be shown an hour before the flight. At the gate I had to stand and wait again before having to walk a fair distance to what can only be described as a warehouse with wire netting up to keep us in line. The incoming flight was late arriving and, because there wasn’t enough room for everyone to line up, we were moved outside which was fine until it started to rain. By the time I got on, I realized I’d been standing for an hour on blistered feet as I’d walked around Budapest so much.

Still I was glad I was leaving as when the flight arrived, at least three stag groups and two hen parties got off. Note to self: never visit Budapest at the weekend. Once again, I had seat 1c but unfortunately a very tall chap in 1b struggled with his seat size and kept flopping over me. Once again, it was a smooth trip back although we arrived 20 minutes late.

Would I fly Ryanair again? Possibly, but it really does need to be a lot cheaper to make up for all the hanging around.

Helen Jackson

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