Thursday 28 February 2008

Ryanair Website

As I tend to use online flight reservation websites quite a bit all the hoopla about Ryanair's new website was of some interest. I did try it out on Monday and it was pathetically slow, so much so that I left it in frustration a half an hour after I'd tried to book a flight to Fuerteventura without a single page loading.

I tried it out again today (Thursday) and it seems to have ironed out a lot of its bugs (as its bombastic leader Mr. O'Leary claimed it would with some ferocity on the radio), but I still have a gripe (sure I wouldn't be Irish if I didn't). The cost to fly two adults and a child return from Shannon to Fuerteventura, admittedly in July/August, comes out at the princely sum of €1,378.41. From the home of the 'low cost flight' I'd have expected a little better. The equivalent Dublin to Lanzarote flight for the same period with Aer Lingus came out over a hundred Euro cheaper, and I considered that to be extravagantly expensive. Let's be honest, you can get an entire package holiday for less than that.

Don't get me wrong, I have significant admiration for Mr. O'Leary and his airline and what they have done for travel in our island nation, as well as the rest of Europe. But they can be full of it sometimes and charges of this magnitude give lie to the fact that they are a low fares airline at all.

If you want to be flown to 100 km outside some Godforsaken destination that no-one else would touch with a bargepole on a Tuesday morning in November at 7am then you will most certainly get a low fare but if you wish to fly to a popular destination during a peak period just forget about it. In this instance Ryanair will be, if anything, more expensive than any other option you can find.

It is good to see that the consumer watchdog is hauling them over the coals over their alleged '1 cent' flights offer which are, apparently, nearly impossible to obtain. Although Ryanair have opened up many destinations to both Irish and UK travellers, it can act like a spoiled child on occasion and most institutions are afraid to stand up to O'Leary. It is a shame because the company could easily execute its exceptional business model without stepping over the line and aggravating everyone in the process. It would make life so much easier for everyone involved.

If you want a bit of a laugh you might get your hands on a copy of Paul Kilduff's new book, "How To Be Treated Like Shite In 15 Different Countries... And Still Quite Like It". It is based on his experiences with the airline he refers to as "Ruinair" (book pictured above). You can get it on his site, Apparently it costs just 1 cent, not bad value.

Of course you need to add costs and taxes of €12.98 which bring your total outlay to €12.99 - boom, boom.

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