Is there life after Ryanair?

The photo shows my daughter’s Ryanair flight arriving at Carcassonne in France at ten o’clock on Sunday 5th December. She was meant to arrive at Alicante in the afternoon the previous day. The air traffic controllers’ strike seemed to last such a short time it appeared almost as if it was just targeting my daughter’s birthday treat – tickets to fly out and visit her father having been bought for her birthday in October.

I told her to try and get to Marseille, Lyon, or Perpignan… Anywhere! Then I would drive a hire car from Benidorm to France and back to collect her. Ryanair said they could not provide an alternative flight to France free of charge as that was a different country than she was booked to fly to originally. (Well, of course it was, idiots!) They also kept her on the phone for an hour and a half while they tried to sort out an alternative route. They charged £1 a minute for that call, most of which was silence as they disappeared for long periods, and that resulted in a £90 phone call!

In the end, I paid for a new flight: Stansted to Carcassonne. Another £90 to Ryanair. The all night drive, and all day return drive, including motorway tolls, cost £200. End result: a cheap flight purchased in October for Alys to fly from Gatwick to Alicante for £36 eventually cost £326 plus the cost of her transfer from Gatwick to Stansted, plus the £90 for the Ryanair phone call, and we’re on our way to over £400.

Low cost air travel? My arse. Next time, let’s just cut all the hassle and book a fast train. It will cost just as much but at least we’ll know the train will arrive.


About Gareth Thomas

After a mixed career as an aircraft technician, London fringe theatre playwright, Franciscan friar, and secondary school teacher, I find myself looking after the needs of four donkeys in a remote location in the mountains in the Costa Blanca. I like to listen to BBC Radio 4 and the wind in the pine trees. I am writing a comedy about a school in Benidorm. My favourite film of all time is "Jean de Florette". If I had my time again I would not have spent the early 1970s working for Special Branch.
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2 Responses to Is there life after Ryanair?

  1. Toad says:

    “ least we’ll know the train will arrive.”

    Not if you read your Hume, you won’t.

  2. Frere Rabit says:

    Toad writtied: “Not if you read your Hume, you won’t.”

    Following the extraordinary action by the Spanish government, placing air traffic controllers under military law and suspending their right to industrial action, I would hope that SNCF take similar inappropriate anti-democratic measures and prohibit all TGV drivers from reading Hume.

    But on a more sensible note… (rabits, sensible, wot?) …during my recent brief sojourn in a Roman seminary, the difficult leaving of which is now completely unlamented, I took a great liking to Locke. I think Locke is a bit like Hume but his undercarriage isn’t jammed. Good man, Locke. Seems to have started something.

    I must look at him again some time. I need to find out if Victor Hugo had read him. The chapter about architecture and the printing press in Notre Dame de Paris suggests a theory of communications born of Lockian thought and democratic intent.

    And on the subject of France and architecture, the airport of Carcassonne is just down the road from one of the most astonishing architectural sights in Europe, the fairy-tale walled medieval city. Naturally, in such a place, they pulled out all the stops and created an airport terminal of sublime modernity, like the local equivalent of the Pompidou Centre. They painted it the colour of vomit to match the revolting paucity of architectural design, and inside they ensured that even one planeload of passengers (which they get at least once a month) produces a Marx Brothers scenario of people bumping into each other with suitcases and dropping overcoats over each others’ lapdogs, to the point where the free entertainment makes it an ideal place to wait and spend a happy hour awaiting a late Ryanair flight.

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