This series covers a short trip to Catalunya and Veneto, please refer back to Part 1 for routing information. This report will cover the short flight from Barcelona to Venice on Ryanair. Maybe not the most interesting of reports, but I'll give a fair opinion on my first FR experience.
So booking this ticket was quite confusing having never flown FR before. The standard fares were $39 for this flight, but I knew I needed to check a bag and would have 2 carry-ons so I was going to buy a Flexi Plus ticket, but that for some reason doesn't include check-in luggage, even though the lower Plus ticket includes it. So I ended up just buying a Plus ticket that includes cabin and checked luggage. When all was said and done, I ended up buying the ticket for $116 with seat selection, which is probably high for FR, but a lot cheaper than the $480 that LH wanted for a BCN-MUC-VCE routing in Y. All-in-all, the whole booking process took me quite a bit of time to figure out what services I needed, but eventually it was done and I could pick my seat for this flight. I ended up picking 5A for some CFM views.
Fast forward 6 days, and here we are getting dropped off at BCN Terminal 2 about 2 hours before departure after finishing my day of work. The taxi fare is ~33 EUR from the city center.
I successfully managed to check-in online, but needed to drop off my bag so joined this long queue. It took about 25 minutes to eventually get my bag tagged and sent off.
Up the escalators to the security checkpoint. No Fast Track was offered and everyone was funneled into an empty row of automated gates. Security was done in less than 10 minutes.
Security deposits you into the duty free store and beyond that is the rather dark and gloomy Terminal 2.
I have Priority Pass so went to the only lounge in Terminal 2, the Sala VIP Canudas, which is just past the duty free shops and to the left in this little alcove.
This lounge serves all of the airlines that operate out of T2.
The buffet was mainly limited to salads, cold cuts, and packaged foods. The had a decent drink supply though. Having ate a late lunch, I was not hungry, so I just grabbed an espresso and a beer and went to take a seat.
The space was not very large, but there was a good number of different seating areas. There were tables for working, a dining room area, and then seats around the perimeter.
I took a seat in the back where I could see the FIDS and recharge my phone. There were outlets and USB chargers throughout.
They had quite a good selection of local beers, which is better than the standard Heineken/Stella Artois offerings.
According to Flightradar, our plane had arrived in the early afternoon so I was not too worried about any delays. So once our gate popped up on the FIDS, I left the lounge and walked down to the gate.
When I got to S24, I was met with a large horde of people pre-lined up.
Our B738 outside, EI-DCK, a ~20 year veteran.
About 30 minutes after the indicated boarding time, the queue was in full effect and the crew had still not boarded the aircraft. The "Priority" line was ~80% of the passengers, so wouldn't recommend this add-on for FR flights.
Ryanair, FR 867
Equipment: Boeing 737-800 [EI-DCK, delivered September 2004]
Departure: 18:55 (ATD: 19:20)
Arrival: 20:45 (ATA: 20:41)
Flight Time: 1:21
Boarding finally started ~10 minutes before our departure time. Pretty ridiculous since this plane had been at the gate for over 4 hours.
Entering the cabin. Despite being in the last 15% of passengers to board, I had no issue finding a spot for my carry-on in the bin at my row. The crew was quite proactive in ensuring that no small items were placed up there and that it was reserved for cabin luggage.
My seat for this flight (taken on arrival at VCE).
The seat pitch is surprisingly good… but the seat is as hard as a rock and I was definitely having some soreness by the end of the 80-minute flight.
The QR code for BOB and the safety instructions are plastered onto the back of the seat in front of you.
The flight load had to be 95-100%, I didn't see any empty seats in the forward part of the cabin. Despite being a full load, boarding was completed in less than 20 minutes, which is probably at least half the time a B738 would take to board in the US. I still find it strange that there is no bulkhead between Row 1 and 1L, but I guess extra rows = extra $.
We pushed back about 10 minutes after our departure time.
We did the long taxi around T1.
The control tower.
A LX A321 taxing back to T1 after arriving from ZRH.
Reaching the runway, we had a rolling takeoff…
We made our u-turn south of the airport to head along the coast.
Flying past the city as the storm clouds started to approach.
Darkness fell as we were leaving the Spanish coast and reaching France.
As expected on a LCC, the cabin lights were not dimmed the entire flight to enable the BOB service and duty free service. I just enjoyed the beautiful night time views of the French coast as we passed Montpellier, Marseille, and Nice before entering Italy just south of Genoa. It was very clear with nice city lights, but none of the photos came out since the cabin lights were on.
We started our final descent near Parma, here is best night shot I could manage as we crossed over Padua.
We had a nice view of Mestre as we touched down smoothly into VCE.
We landed about 5 minutes early and were at our remote stand shortly after.
The calvary arrives to take us back to the terminal.
Tarmac view of our B738.
It was a ~15 minute wait for the bags to arrive. My bag again was one of the last to come off, then I headed over to the parking garage to pick up my rental car.
I'll leave off this series here as I begin my 36 hour stay in Veneto.
My first FR experience. The booking process was some work and the bag drop experience was less than satisfactory, but at the end of the day they did what they were supposed to do: I had an on-time flight that got me where I needed to go to fit my schedule. The legroom was good, but the ironing board seat was as hard as a rock and I was already feeling uncomfortable on a short 80 minute flight. I didn't look at the BOB menu, so will just leave it at an even 5. The crew was very proactive during boarding and did their jobs efficiently, I had no direct interaction with them at all so will leave it as a solid 7. It was an okay experience, but certainly not something I will use other than for an emergency situation to get from Point A to Point B as fast as possible.