Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Advanced Guide to Flying Ryanair

If you have never flown Ryanair, then this isn’t for you yet, you need to read this first.

How soon do you have to get to the airport before your Ryanair flight departs?

Most airlines close the check-in desks 30 minutes before the flight is scheduled to depart, and this is sometimes done automatically by the computer system, so even if your friend works at the check-in, they couldn’t get you on the flight.

As you have already printed your boarding pass you just need to get to the departure gate between 30 minutes and 10 minutes before the flight is scheduled to leave. If you have flown this route before and regularly get the last flight you will know these are the ones that tend to be delayed if any flights that day are. The first flight of the day is normally on time and as the day goes on the chances of delay increase in my experience. 

It depends on your risk appetite whether you get to the gate 30 minutes or 10 minutes before your scheduled flight departure. You don't get a medal for this and if you get it wrong, you miss your flight, although it does add an extra excitement factor to flying. 

I would hope you know how long it takes to get to the gate from security otherwise you are out of your league right now even contemplating this. Maybe someone can make an application for how long it takes to walk from passing security to arrive at the gate for some airports if you are a regular traveller? 

Ryanair flies from small airports which is actually a bonus as the security cues are not as long as London Heathrow aka Death row!

As there are no assigned seats, I like to be the last one on the plane, this means I have less time physically on the plane. I have seen quite a few flights where the first four rows or so are empty and have the tray tables down and the crew member tells you as you board, 

"Anywhere after row four please". I like to hear this, as it normally means that the overhead storage space above these rows is free, so I open it up and have always found it free while everyone else is trying to shove their case into some small place in the middle of the cabin.

My bag NOT fitting -- according to Ryanair
The front door of the plane always docks first, so my preferred seats are the front row emergency exit seats. These are never closed off like the first few rows behind them, but most passengers just hear the crew and think they are off-limits, but they aren't. They are the best seat on the plane, as you get more leg room, get off the plane first and in an emergency escape first too! 

Countless times I have been the last one on the plane, plonked my bag in the secret overhead storage space that nobody has opened and then sat in the emergency exit row and then been the first person off the plane on arrival.

Rush to the passport control, you will have plenty of time to catch your breath once you get there and have to wait in a cue, but you will save yourself a lot of time for a little effort, hardly any if you get off the plane first. You also get first dibs on the taxi’s, buses and even the tourist information counter on leaving the airport as you didn’t check a bag and can walk right past the baggage collection area.

Now you can travel like a pro!

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