My Ryanair Experience


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I recently visited Rhodes in the Dodecanese chain of islands in Greece.  The fantastic Aegean Airlines flies domestically on these routes, but Ryanair has recently opened a new hub in Athens serving Thessaloniki (in the north of Greece on the mainland), Rhodes and Santorini islands, amongst others.  It’s a good option for a cheaper alternative.

**This post includes affiliate links which means I will be compensated should you choose to utilise them.  This is at no extra cost to you and in no way affects my experience with the airline.**

I’d actually flown with them before – again to Rhodes – at the end of 2014, but have to say, I was not impressed.  I know they offer cheap fares, but the mentality seemed to extend to the level of service as well, almost as if the unwritten smallprint read:

You’ve paid a cheap fare, what do you expect?

It was hard to coax a smile out of the crew on that flight – this recent experience couldn’t have been more different.

Have you ever experienced a delay with Ryanair? Then you could be entitled to compensation.

I’d decided to pay an extra €10 Euros to reserve my seat.  Past experience showed me that 1A was the best seat: Window, with nothing else in front of it.  It also entitled me to Priority Boarding.

My bag was hand-baggage size, which was a relief as I’d heard that low-cost airlines sometimes make their hand baggage dimensions less than other airlines.  It was nice to be one of the first to board.

My self-branded acceptable cabin-baggae case for Ryanair flight, with Athens Airport monthly magazine
My self-branded acceptable cabin-baggage case for Ryanair flight, with Athens Airport monthly magazine

Here, let me help you with that

came a broad Irish accent.  I turned to find a smiling stewardess assisting me with placing my luggage in the overhead compartment.  This was a first!  My past experience has witnessed people struggling to squash their bags inside.

I settled into my seat, watched as the rest of the passengers boarded, noting how said Irish stewardess greeted everybody – I mean everybody – with a smile, checked their assigned seat and directed them to it.

Boaring Ryanair - view from my seat
Boarding Ryanair at Athens International Airport – view from my 1A window seat

Ready for take off

Once we were all buckled in, the crew gave their safety demonstration. As I was in the front row, I was told individually where to find my life jacket.  A lot of importance was placed on the demonstration: you know how people tend to merely sit there, listening to their iPod, reading a magazine or gazing into space?  Well, I’ve worked for airlines before and know how rude it is to be standing in front of a plane load full of people, not paying the slightest bit of attention to you.  Out of politeness, I always focus my attention on the ‘manual’ safety demonstration.  And actually, it’s for our own good anyway.

Ryanair makes a point of asking people to pay special attention:

And if you are listening to headphones, we ask you to please remove these now

YES!  I wanted to punch the air.  At last, one airline at least is politely asking those who’re constantly plugged in to give them their full attention.

Ryanair Inflight experience

OK, you have to pay for snacks on Ryanair, but we all expect this.  easyjet are the same, and increasingly many more airlines are too.  For example, Icelandair have introduced a tiered fare system in Economy.  The cheapest fare – for anywhere on their route – is without food and you have to purchase everything on board, even on long haul flights.  Note: Icelandair do not accept Debit cards, even if they have the Visa symbol on them.

I was so chuffed when I saw Mini-Cheddars on the menu.  Living in Greece, it’s hard to find these and I always place an order of these with friends who go home…so imagine my delight when I could purchase on board!  A nice little start to my mini-break.

Snacks available on Ryanair. Delighted with Mini-Chedders!
Snacks available on Ryanair. Delighted with Mini-Cheddars!

To top it all off – the clear views on our 40 minute flight were spectacular.  And despite such a short flight, and despite having to do so much in a short space of time, I have to say, the crew were friendly, professional and didn’t show their stress at being so obviously busy.

View from Ryanair - take off from Athens International Airport
View from Ryanair – take off from Athens International Airport
View from Ryanair, flying towards Rhodes from Athens
View from Ryanair, flying towards Rhodes from Athens

And in case you’re wondering, the flight back was as equally professional.

And did you know?

Ryanair offers some of the cheapest Duty Free goods.

How come?

Well, the friendly crew member told me that it’s because Ryanair is the world’s biggest scheduled airline, hence they can afford to keep the cost of Duty Free goods down. (Note: I dunno if this is because the crew receive commission on goods they sell and they were keen to get me to purchase, but that’s the cynical side of me slipping out.  I will check the prices next time I fly and research it).

Thank you, Ryanair.  It was a pleasurable experience, both outbound and return.  It made a nice start and end to my mini-break.  I will be using you again.

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  1. very good to know that Ryanair can provide good, friendly service. I always imagined it would be pretty ghastly but after reading this, I will definitely give them a go!

  2. That’s good to hear that my article has positively influenced someone to give Ryanair a go. Remember, it is totally worth pre-booking seat 1A if you can get it (or 1C Aisle – no seats in front of you – and no bulkhead in the way).

  3. Yes Zascha, I really think they’re an improvement on the past – at least in the politeness stakes.

  4. Nice review! It’s great that Ryanair now serves Athens AND has jumped on the bandwagon of friendlier service. As a Greek-American I visit Athens every few years and did so as recently as last October for TBEX. That time it didn’t suit to catch a Ryanair flight but it’s great to know that this is an option going forward! 🙂

  5. Thanks Alex. Yes, it doesn’t hurt to be just that bit friendlier…a smile and a kind word goes a long way, as in any situation in life. :0)

  6. Nice to learn of your good experience with RyanAir. I have to admit that my last flight with them a few years ago from the UK was pretty ordinary, so glad they’ve done some work on their customer service etc.
    Booking a seat is a good idea as you get the extra legroom us tall people love! – and this is a corner budget airlines normally cut. I certainly found this on my recent Jetstar flight to Adelaide from Brisbane, Australia. It was really cramped, so coming back, I paid a bit extra to fly Quantas and definitely felt the benefit. If I’d have reserved a legroom seat on Jetstar it would have worked out the same cost as Quantas anyway. Something to think about!

  7. i am thinking of flying with them, do you know if they have a checked baggage allowance internationally or do you have to pay extra?

  8. Hi Darcy,

    Check their website (link in my post) – but basically you have to pay for any baggage you check in.

  9. It’s good to hear a positive review of Ryanair. I have flown with them many times and have never had a problem with them, but it seems that most people still hate them 🙂

    I’m flying Ryanair again in June and have reserved a seat at the front. I hope that they help me load my bags too!

  10. Thanks – I’m glad you appreciate the fact that it’s a positive review. It certainly helped that I could take my bag on board (but it was a full flight, and I was politely asked at the gate if I wanted, free of charge, to check my bag in – but I declined and pointed to the lady with a bigger bag than I had).
    The clincher for me – apart from paying the extra to sit in the 1st row – was the friendliness of the crew. No longer are they ‘chucking’ the snacks you want to buy at you.
    And my flight was only 45 minutes. You’d think with such a short time span to do so much in, their stress would be evident. I did see more sitting in the front than most passengers would who sat further up – and yes the crew looked busy, but were smiling and positively chatty!
    Bravo Ryanair.

  11. After so many positive comments, I’m sorry to have to throw a spanner in the works. I see Ryanair…and I run! Friendly stuff? The rudest I have ever seen. Dirty plane, seats which dropped me straight to the floor, paying for absolutely everything including for your boarding card if you fail to check in online beforehand. And cheap flights? Not when you need one. If I total up all the extra cost, it’s cheaper and much more pleasant to fly with a regular airline.

  12. Hey Inka,

    Thanks for your comment – it’s great to get a discussion going. And yes, we all have our personal experiences.
    Yes, initially I was very dubious about Ryanair but felt compelled to write this post because the specific flight I took surpassed my (low) expectations. I guess a good factor as well was that it was a very short flight, Athens to Rhodes, so only 40 minutes.

  13. I have just completed my first two flights from Rhodes to Athens, then Athens to London. I was a little nervous with my hand luggage size and hold lugguge weight, also whether I was holding enough paperwork and boarding card without having to pay any nasty extras. I was also aware that this was low cost with no frills and wasn’t expecting good customer service. How wrong was I. Like you experienced, all the staff were friendly and helpful. When I told them that my partner was stuck in security when the gate was about to close, they said calmly with a smile, don’t worry we will wait for him. The cabin crew seemed to be having fun on board, chatting to passengers whilst moving up and down with the trolly. So overall, I good experience especially for the price, the only issue we had was not having so much leg room onboard but I managed to get an aisle seat so that helped. Also, just to mention, the hand luggage allowance was 10kilos plus a handbag or laptop plus shopping bag from duty free. Very generous.

  14. Thanks for sharing your experience Sarah. Yes, on a recent flight from Athens to London, I also found the crew to be friendly too, even humorous. Glad your experience was a good one too. And the hand baggage allowance is great!