This is my first and probably last flight on Ryanair. I have been reading many things about the airline and have been avoiding it until now, as a faithful skyteam flyer. Unfortunately on this leg, the Alitalia fare was way beyond reasonable, so I decided to make an exception to me boycotting FR. I can now assure you that I did regret this decision…
Ryanair flies out of Ciampino, which isn't actually further than FCO but does not have its own train station, making the bus journey the best option. You arrive at a fairly run down and boring building. I went on to check-in my bag, which was admittedly fast, though without any smile. Security checks were very stressful, and the staff seems to not have received training on how to enhance the passenger experience with decent procedures. Everything was chaotic, loud and crowded.
The shock came after security: there are barely any seats as you can see on the picture below. Toilets were horrible too…
I decided the best thing to do in this loud and crowded environment was spotting a little bit. The airport is quite nice for that, as planes take off directly in front of A gates.
Wizz A320 to Chisinau
FR 737-800 just arrived.
Next was boarding. It said on my (mobile) boarding pass that it would close at 08:30.
Boarding started at 08:40 with a general announcement. The priority Q was let in first, but as we had to board buses, I was glad I hadn't paid for that…
The whole process was very slow, as bus drivers had a long chat on who should leave first, where one should drive etc… We reached the steps of the aircraft by 08h55
Despite having two doors open, entering the aircraft seemed endless… is it because of the massive amount of hand luggage that passengers carry with them? Or just because the interior is so narrowly designed?
A view of the tarmac in the meantime…
As I got into the plane, a FA asked for my boarding pass before saying hello.
I finally sat down!
WHAT A SHOCK! Surely I had been told FR is not comfy, but I didn't expect seatpockets to vanish… No recline at all (I know everyone is used to this, still I find this really really bad!). And what a wonderful legroom for the average 5'10 I am.
I was surprised there was no onboard magazine or flyer or anything to tell you at least about buy on board… But how should you do that without a seat pocket? :P
I later realised that this might be why the purser and the FA keep making so many announcement. I found these to be an absolute disgrace, from many points of view: - The purser introduced his female FAs in a slightly vulgar way, implying an hey-look-at-these-sexy-girls attitude, which to my disappointment seems to please some passengers. I don't like this type of attitude towards FAs. Yes, they should look welcoming, friendly, and if they are young and enthusiastic, it's even better. But they aren't puppets!
- We were asked twice to take part in a raffle/charity and every time the announcement was made in three languages.
- We were asked three time whether we wanted to buy something from the trolley, such as water for 3€… I know I know, this a LCC… but it's more than that, it's a nerve racking and aggressive marketing strategy even to customers. Nobody is allowed to sleep, because…
- On top of all these unnecessary announcements, the volume of all of them is far beyond what's necessary
- Any sale or special fare is repeated three times
- When you land (on time), a horrible jingle tells you that xx% of FR Flights were on time last year (The landing was terrible btw, very hard)
Anyway, I was very very very happy to disembark…
Should one have to choose between LCCs, here's my option of choice, spotted in SXF
I also spotted Aeroflot's A321 from SVO
… and finally this UP (El Al subsidiary) bound for TLV. I found out that a military vehicle ready to fire escorts these planes until take-off. WoW!
Schönefeld isn't any better than CIA, at least the bags came quicky and I was able to leave for the city centre without any problems.
Rome - CIA
Berlin - SXF
- CIA is an unpleasant airport and lacks seating. - Bad boarding procedures. - Uncomfortable seats. - Bad cabin. - Rude and probably overworked FAs. - Bad landing. - Overtly aggressive marketing.
I'm very happy to keep boycotting Ryanair after this bad experience.
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