Tuesday, September 26, 2019. Bilbao, Spain.
Soundtrack: Electric Six – Transatlantic Flight
That’s not “incredible” as hyperbole, but in the traditional sense, where some of this shit defies credulity. Don’t fly Ryanair. There are many reasons. Here are some:
- You have to print your own boarding pass in advance and bring it to the airport. They don’t do digital passes for non-EU passports. If you don’t bring your own boarding pass, they’ll charge you a €20 “reissue fee”.
- Do not take your bag off your back. If they see it, they’ll arbitrarily decide it’s too big, and charge you €55 “carry-on fee” at the gate. This didn’t happen to me, but it happened to the girl in front of me. She wasn’t even mad. Just disappointed.
- The instructions on the printed pass you had to bring will say, “take this to check-in for validation”. I waited 40 minutes in check-in, behind a group of people speaking in rapid, furious Spanish, understandably trying to argue one of Ryanair’s arbitrary fines. When I got to the desk, the lady said, “You have to take this to the Help Desk.”
- If everyone in the Help Desk line hadn’t also been in the check-in line, they wouldn’t have let me cut and get my stamp (took 5 seconds), and I would’ve missed my flight.
- The ticket said board at gate 6R. They were boarding the flight at gate 6. When I tried to go to 6R, a guard who spoke no English stopped me, said something in Spanish, and pointed vaguely the way I came. I’ve since learned I tried to go past the check-in without checking in. In America, I would now be dead.
- The flight was late. On the descent, the pilot plunged into a stormcloud, then just kind of hung out there. It was the worst turbulence I’d ever lived through. The old lady next to me was clutching the seat in front of her and hyperventilating. The plane convulsed like a wooden roller coaster. The charm of wooden roller coasters, what allows you to look past the way the lap-bar breaks your ribs, is that the ride is over in 60 seconds. This particular bout of turbulence took twenty minutes.
- The landing was less a landing and more a rolling crash. I’ve never been on a flight where the plane was Barkley chaos-dunked onto the runway like that before. Everyone screamed. Children started to cry in the back. I said, “Landed the shit outta that one!” No one was amused, despite my irreverent charm. This was due to their scrape with mortality.
- The pilot was standing with the flight crew at the front of the plane as we disembarked. He looked abashed. Good.
I’ll level with you: the flights are dirt cheap and you get what you pay for. In all likelihood, I will continue to fly Ryanair. But what you have to understand is I never grew out of my adolescent delusions of invulnerability, and even if I had, I place no value on my life! I have seen the time, place, and manner of my death, and it is not here, and it is not now. I have nothing to lose by flying in these cut-rate death traps.
But you, beautiful reader. You have so much to live for. You have people who love and depend on you. You have a whole future ahead of you.
Don’t fly Ryanair. Not flying Ryanair is self-care.