Howdy all, it’s time to take to the skies again for another flight review, and this time it’s with Irish Airline ‘Ryan Air’, which over the last ten or so years has built up a real swag of flight routes across and within Europe. I’d never flown Ryan Air before or in fact a real budget airline from Europe, except well, Baltic Airlines I guess but they never seemed to be the ‘full budget’ version in my past experiences.
I took them from Seville (Spain) to the Portuguese capital of Lisbon. I had hoped to do this leg of my journey, in early December last year, via land. My wife was not keen to, which I guess was ultimately the key factor here in deciding to find a flight. The land options – well I was looking for train, as you would expect with me and my personal preferences. But it seemed, unless I wanted to go way out of my way (possibly via Madrid) I would need to take a bus for around half the journey, which was going to take around six hours. With a flight time of less than an hour, even with check-in, I was going to save time flying.
And so I took to Skyscanner and Webjet dot com dot au to search for flights. I have never actually booked through either of these sites, but they are my go to when trying to find a flight. Then I will generally go to the airline’s site because click on a flight on these kind of sites and you end up somewhere else on another booking site, rarely the airline’s site and I still believe you get the best prices by going directly to the airline.
There were a few options, but ultimately Ryan Air was direct, the only one on the day we wanted to travel, and it was also the cheapest. Of course, this was the bare-bones type of fare and not what we would ultimately book, but I think pricewise we still did pretty well. All other options had a stop and therefore a layover, and the Ryan Air flight was an early morning flight so we would still have most of the day in Lisbon. I was wary booking a budget airline, and I also checked what I could do with points – it turned out I had to fly further away with longer layovers so that wasn’t on either. And so it was, Ryan Air was the choice that had to be made.
I was puzzled why an airline based in Ireland flew Seville to Lisbon direct, but I gather a number of European Budget Airlines fly routes completely out of their own countries. I decided to check out some reviews of Ryan Air, and I was glad I did because I found the biggest bugbear with them – hidden extra fees, primarily charging you quite a bit (I think it was over 20 or 30 Euro pp) to CHECK IN. Yikes! So I bought an ‘all-in’ kind of fare, which I probably would have done any way as my wife and I both had checked luggage, and avoided having to pay anything extra at the airport. This also meant we could pick any seats on the plane and had priority boarding, and so I went with the first row. There was no Business Class, so a good call here as we definitely got the most legroom of any seats aboard the plane!
It was an early morning flight (AGAIN!) as I mentioned. So we left Seville by taxi (the only real option at that time with the exception of maybe Uber) at 430am or some ungodly time. It was a fair drive to the airport too, the taxi had a fixed price which I think was 35 or 40 Euros. The Seville airport was understandably quiet at this point, and it had these wide arches and felt like something out of time.
We had paid the highest fare and had checked baggage of up to 20kg each and we didn’t have to pay to check in at the airport or for bag drop. In total the two tickets were 192 Euro, so a little under 100 Euro each which was still very reasonable. The airport was so quiet, we sat down at a Burger King I think it was which hadn’t opened yet – none of the shops had, and eventually we had to walk across the tarmac to the Boeing 737 – 800 to board for the 7.25am flight.
It wasn’t full, but it was pretty busy. The flight was pretty smooth, but then it’s smoother when you’re at the front, and I don’t remember if we had food on the plane, I don’t think so. They did try to see things (the cabin crew) on the flight, little nick-nacks, from memory, but it wasn’t a hard sell. We took off in pitch darkness, we crossed over Lisbon as the sun came up which was beautiful as you get a wonderful view of the city and the 25th of April Bridge as you approach. Check out my flight view video on this one because it’s a really special approach.
Lisbon Airport was busy enough for the time of day. Less than an hour in the air and with a time difference of an hour we actually touched down a few minutes before we took off if you know what I mean!
The cabin crew were fine, but as with budget airlines, there is no extra effort to make your flight memorable or warm and friendly. This is something that budget airlines could work on to try an get an edge over competitors because in theory it costs nothing extra. Air Asia do it better than most. And this isn’t a criticism on Ryan Air.
All in all, no issues. Still a cheap fare with all the extras thrown in, seats with more than ample legroom (definitely worth paying extra for!), on time, efficient, no hassles. The plane was quite old I guess, but that’s to be expected. From A to B. It’s all you need! Would I fly Ryan Air again? Well, sure. If I had to. I’d still probably prefer a full-fare airline on the basis that you know what you’re getting and there are less likely to be delays or cancellations, but they can still happen. And in this case we didn’t face any delay.
The timing was a hassle to start with, there’s no doubt. Getting up before 4am is not what I like to do on a holiday. But the timing also meant that the sun was coming up over Lisbon as we approached with most of the street lights still on which I thought was pretty magical.
Have you flown Ryan Air and how were they? Please comment! Thanks for popping by today – May the Journey Never End!