Flying isn’t much fun anymore. Ruth and I automatically expect trouble of some sort anytime we travel. When I see my old, beat up suitcase emerge from the black hole and tumble to the conveyor belt, I want to shout for joy and break out the champagne. We’ve had “baggage issues” on three of our last four trips that involved flight.
Most recently, we took Ryan Air from Ireland to Malta. The basic fare was fine, but airline restrictions went on for pages and as passengers we didn’t even get a cup of water during the flight without paying for it.
We had to organize the entire trip around Ryan’s baggage laws. We bought no souvenirs, took no extra pair of shoes, no heavy travel guides, no snacks squirreled away in case there were delays, etc. This airline’s first checked bag can weigh no more than 15 kilograms (33 pounds or less) and automatically costs 15 euros. IF you checked in on-line. Try to do that from the United States if you have several hours and want to experience plenty of stress. Try to call Ryan Air from the United States if you want to risk a stroke. If your bag weighs 20 kilograms (44 pounds or more), the fee is 25 euros if checked on-line and 45 euros if you wait for terminal check-in.
You’re allowed one carry-on. One. So if you have a purse and a bag, the purse must go in the bag. And that carry-on must be no more than 55x40x20 centimeters. Sound generous? That’s 21 by 15 by 7.8 inches. If that still sounds generous, get out your usual carry-on and measure it for a reality smack. And trust me, Ryan Air personnel hover around waiting passengers like contraband sniffing dogs looking for bags to check and charge for.
Because we were very,very careful, we made it to Malta OK. But we had, let’s call it a little trouble, checking-in on-line in Malta and had to pay an extra 70 euros to get our meager possessions back to Ireland. That was about $100.
We’ll take Ryan Air again only if it’s the only way to get somewhere. The airline pictured above–Virgin–is certainly one of the better ones, and KLM treated us like VIPS even though we were traveling coach earlier this month. I’ll tell you what happened within the last six months on Delta and TAP, the Portuguese National Airline, in future blogs after I get my blood pressure back to normal.