Ryanair always sticks out in my mind due to their very specific boarding process. While it makes sense from a time keeping perspective, it can result in a little tarmac madness, as I experienced recently.
The Irish carrier is the most well known airline brand in Europe and their passenger numbers back this up. With over 152 million passengers boarding in 2019, they are clearly doing something right.
For the 2:05pm departure, boarding started at about 1:20pm. As is standard procedure at Dublin, everyone walks down the stairs to the door leading outside. As it’s closed, everyone stands in the stairwell, usually for a number of minutes.
This time, there was a twist. When the holding pen door was opened, we gaily swept across the airport road towards our Boeing. Until we all stopped moving, as we were not allowed to continue up the stairs.
We stood there in the cold breeze, waiting and waiting for what felt like several minutes. Would I freeze to death? Soon a bunch of what looked like Ryanair trainees left the aircraft and our enforced period of tarmac madness ended.
FR5774 – Dublin to Glasgow (DUB-GLA)
12 March 2022
Boeing 737-800 – EI-DLG
Seat: Economy 8A
Departure: 14:05 Arrival: 15:05
Using both doors makes for a speedy boarding process and soon enough I was sitting in my seat. Shortly after, two young girls who giggled non-stop sat in the B and C seats. Naturally I was delighted to see the entire row of three across the aisle remain empty.
It is a blue and yellow feast for the senses in a Ryanair cabin. Seats are slim line and do not have one ounce of extra padding on them, so expect a firm place to plant your cheeks.
There are no seat pockets to get in the way of your knee room and of course no recline. Once everyone was on board, the recorded safety demonstration announcement was played, with the crew doing their dance for us all to enjoy. We headed for the active runway and into the air without delay.
You can scan a QR code on the seat in front to bring up the menu for the flight, which is in Ryanair’s magazine. None were handed out on this flight, perhaps due to the pandemic, I am guessing. Since I was hungry, I went for the €10 meal deal, which is a drink, a snack and a main. This was served by a very friendly crew member, which is always welcome.
Now I have had some bad food experiences with Ryanair in the past, but thought it was high time I gave them another go. I’m happy to report the Chicken and Stuffing was really delicious and the roll was beautifully soft. Very pleased with what I had and fresh too! Once done, the rubbish was collected and we landed in Glasgow.
The Glasgow Arrival
It had been a few years since I was last in Scotland but one thing has not changed. All arrivals from Ireland are put onto a bus, which is the least welcoming thing ever. Things were not improved by the fact it was freezing cold on the bus as well.
The reason for having this instead of a normal gate is that Irish arrivals do not need to pass through immigration control at UK airports. For all intents and purposes, Irish flights are treated like UK domestic flights and that is why things are like this. Arrivals from Jersey also get the bus experience. I was happy when I finally made it into the terminal.
While there was some tarmac madness at the beginning of the flight, overall the Ryanair experience was a positive one. It was nice to see a crew who seemed to be enjoying their job.
I think €10 for the meal deal is a bit steep, however I did choose the Chicken and Stuffing as it wouldn’t require heating on the short flight. Other options include Lasagne, Thai Green Curry, Spaghetti Bolognese and Panini’s, which would probably make it better value. All in all, it was a good flight.
What do you think of the Ryanair boarding process? Do other airlines do something similar? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.