The problem with having an Irish girlfriend is we're 300 miles apart, including a large chunk of the wet stuff. This means that the best way for us to see each other is with the aid of aircraft, and at the moment our choice of flight is Ryanair. TDT is a stone's throw from Shannon Airport and the fact they fly to Bristol means that I can pick her up in a couple of hours. It's not quite so easy when I'm going over there though. Organising a lift up to Bristol Airport is vitally important, or I have to park the car at the airport. This time it's a bit swings and roundabouts, and when Martin offered to drop me off, I took his arm off at the elbow. The downside is I have to leave here at 4:30 on Saturday morning (how can they call it morning? It's the middle of the night).
Now Ryanair are famous for stinging their customers. The tickets are cheap enough (my flight out at Christmas cost 1p), but it's the extras that you get stung on. £30 for a suitcase, with a weight limit of only 15kg and an additional surcharge of £15 per kilo over means a suitcase can be a very expensive commodity. So you take one of those small suitcases that comply with hand luggage size, right? That has a weight limit of 10kg, and the size is very strict, so if it weighs too much or is bulging too much then that'll be £35 please. Ker-ching.
Also, Ryanair were the first to do away with check in at the airport. Online check in is free, but if you do it wrong it'll sting you for £40. Whilst online, you're buying the ticket. This means you must pay for it with a credit card, and they charge you £5 each way for that. Until New Year, if you had a Visa Electron (see crappy card that isn't accepted anywhere) you'd get it for free. 60% of Ryanair customers had one (strange that), so they moved the goalposts again and changed it to a pre-paid Mastercard. TDT and I now have one each, and sure enough my flight on Saturday was £10 cheaper.
On the flight itself and they sting you even further. The now famous fact they charge you £1 for the toilet for all short haul flights means you better go before you get on the plane. I find a good way to pass the time on the flight is to have a cup of tea. That'll be £5 please. Or how about a small (250ml/half pint) can of beer? That'll be a staggering £8. They also offer toasted paninis, but as tempting as they are, I daren't ask how much they cost.
In short, fly with Ryanair. Don't check in any luggage, do be careful with your hand luggage. Do check in online, do pay with a pre-paid mastercard. And don't buy anything on the plane. My trip cost me £20 return, and for that it makes you wonder how they make any money. See above...
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