Wednesday, 2 September 2009


Recently, and for the first time in my life, I booked some flights with Ryanair.

I appreciate this is a budget airline, and you pays your money and takes your chance, but I think the pricing strategy sucks. To put it bluntly, Ryanair are thieving pikey arseholes.

Three return flghts from Bristol to Montpellier in the South of France were billed on the website at £10.98 per person (£9.99 in one direction and 99p in the other), giving a combined cost of £32.94 which appears to be quite a bargain.

But no, no, no, I additionally had to pay luggage charges for 2 checked in bags, a total of 40 quid (for a measly allowance of 15 kilos per bag – 5 kilos less than most other airlines). And heaven forbid if you go over – you will find yourself forking out a mighty £15.00 per kilo excess weight.

Airport taxes added £56.50 per person (£169.50 for the three of us), and I really believe that above all, this charge should be included in the initially displayed flight cost.

On top of this there was the mandatory charge for checking-in online of £5.00 per person per flight (a further 20 quid) to in effect do most of Ryanair's job for them, as alongside paying the fee there was the additional hassle of going on-line nearer the time of departure, to fill in all the necessary documentation: names/ages/passport numbers etc. and then having to print off 6 boarding cards. If I didn’t bother with online check-in, or lost my print-out it would have cost me a whopping 40 quid per person per flight (£240 for the three of us!) at the airport.
And finally I was charged five quid per person per flight just for the privilege of actually paying them with a credit or debit card. Apparently there is currently no charge if you pay using a Visa Electron card, but I don’t have an Electron card, nor do I know anyone else who has,or even how to go about acquiring one.

So for our seemingly bargain flights of £32.94, we in fact paid £302.44.

And if I was foolish or careless enough, there were plenty of other opportunities to find myself being screwed:

Excess baggage charges of £15.00 per kilo per flight could soon mount up, as would a £30.00 fine for being unable to cram my duty free purchases into my hand luggage.

Priority boarding is another scam as it doesn't actually guarantee you a better seat for the £3.00 per person per flight charge, although in fairness gives you a slightly better chance of your preferred seats. Luckily, I love to board as late as possible and leave it until the very last minute, so that I can have a few extra pints in the airport lounge, and then joyfully watch the look of sheer disappointment on the face of the victim I elect to plonk myself down next too before farting, belching, scratching my balls and then falling asleep and snoring loudly. There's no point in being the first on the plane and send extra minutes crammed in like sardines, when save a crash, everyone will reach their destination at the same time.

Should I be of a musical persuasion I would be charged £30.00 per flight to bring on board a musical instrument - so next time I fly with Ryanair I might actually consider taking along a grand piano just to see how the bastards deal with it.

Rumour has it that Ryanair is contemplating installing coin operated toilets in their aircraft, which will force you to spend a pound to spend a penny or maybe a euro to euronate. Rather than pay-per-view it will be pay-per-poo. Just where will it end?

I am just waiting to find out when Ryanair will start charging to use the oxygen masks and inflatable jackets in case of emergency.

In reality I wouldn’t mind paying 300 quid for 3 flights if there was a bit more transparency up front. The Ryanair way simply causes ill feeling and smacks of poor customer satisfaction and deception.

So, I hear you ask, for my 300 quid, how was the Ryanair experience?

Well, checking-in was straightforward enough at both ends and getting on and off of the aircraft was quick and efficient. The planes themselves seemed well maintained although the interiors have a very cheap plastic appearance and feel, and are garish yellow and blue in colour; the seats are extremely uncomfortable and there is little in the way of legroom, ok for a wee little Irish leprechaun I suppose, but not for an average person. In fact it feels more like a service bus for midgets than an airline.

The cabin crew on the way over were friendly, polite and helpful and I could find no fault in their attitude, but unfortunately those on the return flight were downright bloody miserable, unhelpful, and it was obvious for all to see that there was a personality clash between two of them. Amusingly, the chief stewardess at one point even swore in front of one female passenger who proceeded to then argue with her and was heard to utter “you are the worst aircrew I’ve ever had the misfortune to fly with”! So that encounter was at least priceless from my POV.

Although I didn't indulge in any of the delightful food (don't think there wa a vegan option) and drink on board. This was a further example of Ryanair's extortionate pricing system with a coffee costing £2.80, a chicken Caesar wrap a fiver, and a 25ml shot of spirits £4.00.

Both flights left on time and arrived early, so there can be no complaint there, and upon disembarking they swiftly got the checked-in luggage to us.

A cheap and cheerful experience it certainly wasn't, expensive and miserable more like, and with less frills than a pair of Ena Sharples' wartime knickers.

Monday, 31 August 2009

I've just heard the 100 watt lightbulb is being phased out by the EU. I'm incandescent with rage.

Hello! OK Now?

Now, as anyone who knows me will attest, I am not someone who is obsessed with the filthy rich and famous and couldn’t care less about this week’s celebrity darling, but I’ve recently stayed in a house which had a stash of Hello and OK magazines to read, and having a voracious appetite for information, and having already memorised the Frosties cereal packet bumpf. I decided to have a flip through some of the mags, and fuck me, what a pile of shite they really are; page after page of mind numbingly boring trivia about vacuous talentless so-called celebrities, their offspring and their various hangers-on.

I really couldn’t care less about the private lives of the recently separated Peter Andre and Jordan, who both featured about as heavily as Jordan’s fake tits in all of the magazines, nor whether Brad Pitt looked fitter 20 years ago when he sported a ridiculous mullet than he does now, or whether an image of Madonna, in her “like a virgin” era is preferable to her current “like a 50 year-old crack whore” phase.

And boo fucking hoo there’s Kerry Katona whinging on again alongside SHOCKING IMAGES of her gaining 3 stone despite £15,000 of liposuction a few months ago. No wonder she was dropped from the Iceland ads, she’d not be the ideal image for their healthy meals range, though I guess if she’d actually visited the country of the same name she may have been harpooned as soon as she landed at Reykjavik harbour. On the plus side - perhaps she’ll get a contract with Fat Face instead. I guess Brian McFadden had the best weight loss idea when he dumped that drunken, coke-addled lummox.

In one magazine a scintillating article was devoted purely on guidance on how to select a handbag to match that of your favourite film star, while a few pages later there was a piece about celebrity cellulite with pictures to match (with the offending areas highlighted in red marker pen in case you couldn’t spot them). How shocking; let’s hope the plastic surgeons don’t slip too badly putting those blemishes right.

It didn’t matter which one I perused: Hello, Now and OK magazines all contained similar page after page of articles about celebrity women who have gained or lost a few kilos of weight, or suffered the trauma of breaking a newly manicured finger nail. Vomit-inducing tales of marriage, featuring people who should never be allowed to breed getting spliced, alongside photographs aplenty of their big days; while divorces in the limelight followed a little later.

So who cares that Kelly Osbourne was on 50 Vicodin a day, although alas managed to survive rehab (although in fairness I would have probably turned to drugs if I had to put up with her family), and who really would have their imagination piqued by photographs of Stars minus make-up? I’d prefer to see most of them minus heartbeats - although some of them are so fake and plastic it is often difficult to spot if they are actually alive and breathing anyway.

Goodbye Magazine would be a more preferable read to me - one in which we can gloat over the recently deceased while watching the celebrity weightloss cremation diet, and mortuary fashions.

On the subject of death I see that Big Brother will be killed off after its current run. I don’t know who has been incarcerated in the BB house this year, but if past years are anything to go by it will probably be won by a bloke in a coma as previous triumphs have featured a post-op transsexual, a nun, a guy with Tourettes and a blind geezer. How else can they top that. I dunno but you can no doubt read all about it in a few weeks time.