‘I would NEVER fly Ryanair, they’re just horrible!’ declares my friend from London, decisively.
But every morning she gets up and takes the same Network Rail train from Croydon into London, I am not sure what the rail company is called. Does she know, or care? Does she happen to feel warmly affectionate towards their brand or their attitude towards their customers? Somehow I doubt it, as I remember how I used to be jammed liked cattle, face to armpit, 40 minutes a day every day for years (thank god, a long time ago…) She simply regards it as a way to get from A to B in an affordable, efficient and pretty much inevitable way. I can’t imagine her or any of the fellow travellers she is forced into intimate contact saying ‘I HATE Southern Railways, I am going to walk/get cabs in future!’, because that’s not how it works.
So get this, when I have to travel to meet clients and editors in London, I don’t book Ryanair because I embrace their marketing message, love their friendly staff, or have deep personal affection for that cute and cheeky Mr O’Leary. Nor because I enjoy playing ‘one bag roulette’, trying to keep up with necessary debit card requirements for cheap booking, or have a fondness for crap food and staggering up and down metal steps. I actually do it because its the cheapest and most effective way to get from A to B.
I book early when there are sales on, and am usually flexible about dates – I once got one of the almost-legendary 99c fares (MANY years back), but even though they are now a fond memory, over the past 3 years I have definitely found enough loss-leader flights that it must have cost them more in tax to fly me than I paid. So how can I complain? They’ve just made it even harder to evade booking fees, but I never pay them a cent more after booking is completed – weigh bags carefully, take my own food, and I don’t do scratchcards, Spainbitch only bets on a sure thing.
Everyone says they hate them, and their PR dept seems to go out of their way to come up with yet more controversial and bonkers releases about proposed cost and service cutting – like it will ever be deemed safe to have ‘standing only’ flights, when aviation regs insist even crew strap down for take off and landing! However I cannot actually recall a delayed flight this year or last with them, whereas EVERY so-called ‘Easy’ journey has been off schedule – and yes, I do know thats just because LyingFare like to pretend it takes 2 hours 50 minutes to get from Malaga to Gatwick just so they can play that sodding trumpet every time. I am flying on a plane 10 years younger than a typical BA wagon – sometimes for less than €20 – and even though I am a Bitch by nature and profession it’s often hard to find anything to actually moan about. I have more legroom than I ever did on Southern Railways, and am quite capable of immersing myself in my book and shutting out all distractions from the hard sell of lousy gifts to the inevitable stag or hen party that they seem unable to take off without (and always seat right behind me…) So get over it folks, save your energy to hate someone who gives a damn, Ryanair don’t that’s for sure – but they’ll still get my fare whenever they come out cheapest.