Three cheers, and a tiny boo for Ryanair

Three cheers, and a tiny boo for Ryanair

Let me start off by saying I’m a big fan of budget airlines in the main. Without easyJet and Ryanair I wouldn’t have had anywhere near the same number of adventures.

Jet2 is another story. Apart from a single trip from Leeds to Venice, I’ve yet to discover a fare of theirs that has either been friendly or low. I often find that I can get my flight and accommodation (and sometimes spending money) with others for the same price as a Jet2 fare.

Anyway, this piece is not about them although I doubt there will be any commissions from Where2 in the offing.

I’ve used Ryanair for years and never had a problem, only cheap flights. In recent years I’ve noticed the real attempts in improvements to customer service although they still let themselves down every so often.

Getting the boo out of the way first

Please stop changing policies which eek more money out of the customer and try to con everyone that it is being implemented in response to ‘customer demand’. Ryanair’s decision to change the time that you can check in before a flight if you haven’t reserved from 7 days to 4 days is a bit of a pain. We aren’t stupid – you want us to reserve seats in advance. With easyJet I actually reserve seats about 90% of the time. Because they only cost me £2.99 per seat. Unfortunately Ryanair’s seat costs are at least double that and so I tend to avoid parting with the cash. Yes, I might be a cheapskate but there are times when this cost can add another 25% to the basic fare. If you are going to do this either make the seat costs cheaper or just be honest about the reasons for doing it.

I thought you had grown out of this behaviour as you had matured! Please reconsider.

Three cheers for Ryanair

But I don’t want to be unduly negative. As I mentioned earlier, my flying experiences with Ryanair have been incredibly positive over the years. And there have been three occasions over the last year or so when I’ve had cause to thank them or at least give appreciation for their new found approach to customer service.

Flying back from Treviso – December 23rd 2015

After a wonderful family break in Venice, we were returning home to celebrate Christmas. As were thousands of Italians.

Venice in the mist

Treviso airport is a little chaotic at the best of times but this was something else. Knowing that queuing there is quite a random activity, we arrived at the airport around 2.5 hours before our departure back to East Midlands. 2.5 hours later we were still in the security melee and seriously thinking that we would miss the flight.

Fortunately the flight was about 30 minutes late – and we were probably in the first 50 or so people due to take this flight through security. Once we had taken our seats the captain announced that we would be waiting the necessary tine to get everyone boarded which ended up being a further 45 minutes or so. Whether under instruction or not, the crew seemed genuinely concerned about getting everyone back home and sod the delay. No one complained, at least not that I could hear.

In times gone by it wouldn’t have surprised me if the doors had just been closed with the excluded passengers left to make their own alternative arrangements.

Hip hip hooray – number 1

Flying back from Dublin – Summer 2016

After working in Ireland for a couple of days in the Summer, I was flying back to Manchester and wanted to get back to take over child minding duties from Txiki Grannie. By the way, is it still child minding when they are 13 and almost six feet tall?

The flight was already 15 minutes late although given the flex in the schedules, I was still anticipating the ‘another on-time flight’ fanfare when touching down. Does the co-pilot have a special button on the flight deck for this?

At this point the captain made an announcement. A passenger with a disability had been unable to use the staircase and the special lift had just been moved from this plane to one at another gate. They were going to delay the flight for a short while to try and get the lift back and the passenger on to the plane. Again it struck me that Ryanair once more was actually going out of its way to help a customer. You don’t often hear that and I firmly believe that good service deserves praise. Twenty minutes later the full complement was on its way and forty minutes later we made it to Manchester…minus the fanfare.

Hip hip hooray – number 2

Not flying to Stuttgart – August 2016

For 18 months until August this year I had been suffering from Atrial Fibrillation. It’s a nasty condition affecting the electrical connections of the heart. It didn’t stop me travelling though, until August.

I’d always had to take it easy when away and quite frankly how I managed all the slides at Yas Waterworld in April I’ll never know! In July I spent five nights in hospital including 36 hours when my heart rate didn’t drop below 140 beats per minute.

Yas Waterworld takes some beating

In August I had an ablation which involved sticking wires through my groin, up through my veins, poking them through my heart and then burning away the offending connections…whilst awake!

Anyway, you don’t need to know all about this. Although I’ll probably write another blog at some point about travelling with a chronic condition!

The point is that we had booked a trip for our anniversary to Stuttgart and were due to fly just one week later. I emailed Ryanair, expecting sympathy and little else. They asked me for details of the procedure and hospital notes but less that 12 hours later started the process of refunding all of our money.

They didn’t have to. But they did. And I am so grateful.

They probably saw from their records the number of flights that I’ve taken with them over the years. And that I had another flight to Warsaw booked with them. They also now know that I’ve used that refund to book a trip to Budapest and Bratislava with them next year.

So great customer service has turned a customer into a loyal customer.

Hip hip hooray (number 3).

And sincere thanks from the bottom of my heart!

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