Welcome to the first blog post in my new series on Lea Bella Blogs; Flying With.
In this series of blog posts I plan to share with you my experiences of what to expect when flying with different airlines all over the world. I will also be accepting guest posts for this series, so, if you have an airline that you particularly loved (or hated!) please do not hesitate to share your story with me at email@example.com.
Flying With: Ryanair
I am here to spill all the beans, good and bad, about what it's really like to fly Ryanair.
Ryanair are an Irish low-cost airline who were founded in 1984 (that's older than I thought!) and it's primary hubs are based in Dublin, Ireland and London Stanstead, UK. They have currently 225 destinations, and growing, making Ryanair a firm option for cheap getaways for many passengers across the UK and Europe.
Low-cost travel is certainly my cuppa-tea, as I'm sure it is for many of my readers, so I use Ryanair from Stanstead regularly. Just this year alone I have flown four flights with them, and I'm here to tell you what you can expect from their check-in process to boarding, the cabin crew and on-board service, and finally landing and disembarking.
**DISCLAIMER** All opinions are my own and I am in no way affiliated or associated with Ryanair in any other way other than being a passenger.
Checking In: Before Arrival At The Airport
Ryanair's slogan is 'Low Fares Made Simple', which implies two things:
1) Low Cost
2) A simple process and easy experience by using Ryanair.
Let's put that to the test.
Checking in online is easy with Ryanair. The simplest way to book a flight with them is via their app. Once you have paid for your flight then the app will save your flight on the home screen like below:
Online check-in usually opens anywhere from 30 days before your flight is due to depart. You can still check in up to 4 hours before departure too, however, it is important to know that if you have not paid extra to book your seats you cannot check in until 4 days before. I think this is quite generous as with other, more major airlines, you cannot check in until 24 hours before! More on this in another blog post...
Once you have checked in, you will be sent to a screen to save your boarding passes to wallet (if using an apple iPhone) or to be emailed them. I use an iPhone so I store all my boarding passes into the wallet app and so they are easily accessible once getting to the airport. You can always ask the Ryanair staff at the check-in desk at the airport to print off hard copies for you should you wish (be warned - they may charge you for this, some do and some don't!).
If you have paid extra for hold luggage to be checked in, from my own experience, the staff at London Stanstead Ryanair check-in desks are super quick and helpful, even if a little miserable. This is a good thing as no-one likes a great big long que in the airport!
Boarding the Flight
If you have flown with any airline in the past, then you may already know that as soon as boarding is called at your gate, everyone rushes to the front of the que like there's no tomorrow.
With Ryanair, there are two ques. Priority and Non-Priority. I don't think either of these ques make the slightest bit of difference to be honest. Priority passengers are those who have paid for their hand luggage up to 10KG, for example a small suitcase. I believe the exact measurements are 55cm x 40cm x 20cm. You can carry on one small bag for free (which would make you a non-priority passenger) and the measurements are 40cmx 20cm x 25cm. Although I've never seen anyone check, but y'know - those are the rules.
Ryanair have a running trend (I've noticed) of calling people to the gate to stand around for ages. The staff do call the priority passengers on first. The only one time I've felt the benefit of this was on my return flight from Naples, where I was actually seated on the flight a good 30 minutes before the other passengers joined. At least I got my bag in the overhead locker... But other than that I've never really noticed the difference between priority and non-priority boarding. Most people who are city hopping around Europe for quick short breaks usually only take hand luggage with them so, everyone ends up being a priority passenger anyway.
When you make it through the gate and make your way to the airplane, I've noticed that you might need to catch a bus, or, walk along outside regardless of the weather. Ryanair do not have any fancy tunnels to walk down to the plane on, oh no. It's good old fashioned steel stairs which, if the wind is blowing hard enough will make you feel like you are going to blow over the higher you get, or slip and fall right the way down if it happens to be raining. So be vigilant.
This is one way that Ryanair keep their costs down. They do not hire any 'unnecessary' equipment from companies such as Swissport to assist with their flights, and a lot of it is done in-house by Ryanair employees rather than subbing it out to other aviation groups. In the grand scheme of things, this is a little thing that is neither here nor there, but clearly makes a difference to Ryanair when keeping down costs to allow people like me to travel the world for cheap. So be my guest Ryanair.
On-Board a RyanAir Flight
There is no denying that Ryanair has a reputation for being basic. But, its not all as bad as you may think. Some of you who know me, or have been following my blog and vlogs for a while will know that my husband is a very tall man, I mean 6ft10 tall. Usually we must pay for extra leg room seats on a flight because otherwise he would really truly struggle. However, on one flight we did with Ryanair, extra legroom was unavailable and he was sat in a window seat. In all honesty he wasn't completely comfortable, but there was more room for him that what he had experienced on other airlines! Which is really surprising, you wouldn't expect a decent amount of leg room on these such flights. Well done Ryanair.
The seats themselves are average, but definitely not really bad. Yes they are thin, they don't recline (no one wants a seat reclined in front of you on a flight anyway!) there is no pocket in the seat in front for your books or bottles of water, but it is OK for the usually short amount of time you are on the flight for and for the low money you usually will have paid. We cant have everything! There is definitely no entertainment system - take your iPad, tablet or a book.
The colour scheme of a Ryanair flight is to be desired. The bright yellow overhead lockers are a shock to the system when your eyes haven't yet adjusted from the darkness outside on an early/late flight. The seats are a blue leather. If you're lucky, you'll be on of the newer planes and the seats are pretty tidy. On the older planes you can expect cracked leather and the odd piece of foam hanging out somewhere around the headrest.
There is an on-board service including drinks and snacks. This is all to be paid for whilst on-board and is not included in the price of your flight ticket. Meal options vary but can include hot drinks and snacks, breakfast options and more. it is tradition for us to get a cuppa tea and a twix. Ha-ha.
Ryanair Staff: The Good, The Bad And The MiseraBle
I have experienced Ryanair staff in 3 countries over several different trips. Let’s start with the check-in staff, otherwise known as the ground staff:
> Miserable and non-engaging, yet quick and efficient. I suppose not everyone wants to chat at 6am. They get the job done but are reluctant to interact with you. This can be said for Naples, Stanstead and Valencia staff.
> There seems to be a requirement for all Ryanair staff to be miserable. The cabin crew that I have experienced are far away from the ‘trolley dolly’ stereotype that you half expect. They all usually look tired and as if they are going to flip their s**t at any given moment. BUT (and I suppose the most important part) is they are extremely efficient when something goes wrong. On one flight a woman took ill behind me and the cabin crew dealt with her fantastically and really quickly without any other fuss. I was really impressed by this.
Captains and First Officers:
> OK, so they are flying the planes. No one really sees them until after the flight has landed and they might come out and let you thank them. I’ve met two pilots that have (thankfully) landed us safely BUT they are really scruffy. And young too! Usually a pilot is dressed very smart, trousers and shirt, stripes on show. Not Ryanair pilots. Imagine the old school uniforms.... now add a scarf. Yep.
Overall the staff are clearly trained well and do their job, I think if a few of them added a ‘how are you?’ And a smile, it might just help lift the reputation they are gaining for looking miserable.
landing and Disembarking
In all honesty, every Ryanair Lansing I have experienced has been well controlled and smooth.... right until the last minute when you bounce down the runway. In fairness, I’ve landed in a storm once, high winds, rain and that can’t be easy to land a plane in so a bit of a bounce is acceptable. At least we landed safe!
Disembarking is simple and straight forward, usually the flights are turnaround flights so the quicker they get you off and the new passengers on the better for everyone. This is something they are good at, no ques here!
Would I RecommeNd Flying With Ryanair?
Regardless of Ryanair being voted the worst airline in the UK for the last six years by Watch?, I would not necessarily totally agree with that title. I have flown with airlines who have far, far worse attributes than what Ryanair have.
For the price you pay to fly Ryanair, you shouldnt really expect the Ritz, and you will get a ‘no-frills’ service. But as long as it continues to fly its passengers safely all around Europe at bargain prices, who are we to really grumble? I’m certainly not.
I am due to fly Ryanair again in the very near future to Frankfurt, and I can’t say that I’m dreading it. If cheap and easy travel is what you are looking for to make your way around this world of ours, then Ryanair have got you covered.
ADAARAN Exclusive Water Villas - Maldives
Today’s post is a guest post written by the lovely Helen from www.hked.me where she creates a wide range of content from travel and lifestyle from the modern woman. You can find her on twitter @hkedtweet Instagram: @hkedgram go and follow her for more amazing content on Hooked!
Amsterdam is an interesting city. One of the most unique European cities I have visited (and I’ve seen a few). Aside from it’s growing popularity for hen and stag do’s, birthday parties and other group celebrations, there is more to the city than sex, drugs and partying.
In this post I will take you through our day excursion to Amsterdam as part of the P&O ferry mini cruise from hull to Rotterdam. Even in only 6 hours, there’s so much to see and do in this wonderful city.
Today's post is a guest post written by Georgia from What's in my Wonderland . Georgia is an avid bookworm, and blogs about her recommended reads and more over on her website.
This post is written from my own experience and perspective and I am in no way affiliated with P&O minicruises or P&O Ferries. All views and opinions are my own.
The P&O Mini-Cruise to Amsterdam On Board The Pride Of Hull Ferry
Today's post is a guest post written by Hannah from twentysixotwo.com. Hannah shares her love of travelling abroad on her travel blog, follow her and check out her posts on seeing new parts of the world.
This post is written in collaboration with another Blogger. [Paid]
Youre married... when are you having kids?
I tease with the answer NEVER. I have dogs, I’m a dog person. I don’t like humans, most people are insensitive, angry, nasty. At least dogs don’t answer you back, most of the time.
*Disclaimer* In no way have I been paid to write this blog - I love this app so much that I thought it deserved to be shared with my audience! Hopefully you will love it as much as I do! I am not affiliated with luckytrip and all opinions are my own.
LuckyTrip App - The easiest and most unique booking app on the market.
If you are yet to download this addictive app and try it for yourself, where have you been? Under a rock?! For those of you who are a little travel mad, like myself, you need this app in your life.... now.
Available for download on both apple and android devices, this app will change the way you travel - forever!
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24 Hours In Naples: Itinerary
Naples, Italy (or Napoli for the culture vultures amongst us) was not one of the cities that was initially on my places to visit in 2019. However, after downloading the Lucky Trip App (not an #ad!) Naples came up as one of the lower cost, trips to take in January. Being the wanderer that I am, I thought 'why not?' and booked it.
As the time grew nearer, I started to doubt whether or not this trip would be rushed - we were going to be flying in from the UK for only one night. I double checked the flight times - by the time we landed on the Saturday and were to take off again on the Sunday, we literally had 24.5 hours in Naples in total. My question was: 'Can I enjoy this short amount of time in Naples?' - the answer is whole-heartedly yes.
Here is how I did 24 Hours in Naples:
Luxury Accomodation in Naples - Carten Napoli Luxury Rooms
Calata San Marco, 24
Port of Naples
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Where we Ate in Naples: Gelato
This is a long post. It covers my experience, in detail, of travel anxiety. There are subheadings along the way breaking this post into chapters. Please feel free to skip through to the bottom end of this post to see how I overcome and deal with travel anxiety. Otherwise, grab a cuppa and a digestive and enjoy the post!
What is Travel Anxiety?
*Disclaimer - In no way am I medically qualified to diagnose or give expert advice on anxiety, this post is written from my own personal experience and all opinions are my own*
At the start of a new year, travel is on most of our minds. You may be looking to book your summer holiday, or you may have already booked your holiday and you can't wait to jet off into the sun. Undeniablly, travel anxiety can affect even the most chill of people, and it can affect us all in different ways. According to the Oxford Dictionary, anxiety is a feeling of worry, nervousness or unease about something with an uncertain outcome. I can totally relate to this feeling espeially when travelling, more specifically about the actual journey to my chosen destination.
In this post, I am going to share with you my experience of travel anxiety, how I deal with it, and how I've learnt to control it. I really hope this helps you too.
It all Starts A Few Days Before...
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7 TRavel essentials that will make travelling easy
If you’re anything like me (a last-minute superstar) you’ll get to the night before your travels begin and have a bit of a flap on, worrying about what to pack and what you need for your trip away. Have no fear - I have put together 7 Travel Essentials that you will most definitely need. Here we go...
1) Your Passport
If you forget this, you can forget going to another country. I keep mine in a different ‘safe place’ each time... and I can never remember where. To make my life easier I put my passport in a cute and eye catchingly bright passport wallet as to not miss it in the cupboards! Here’s the one I’ve got below, but there’s loads of different ones on amazon for a decent price that will jazz up the boring passport look and help you find it in the black hole of Calcutta that may be one of your cupboards or drawers.
2) Travel Documents
Blogging is not all what it Seems to the beginner...
...there is waaaay more to it than what meets the eye!! Today my blog is 1 month old. I have dabbled with writing and blogging for years before launching Lea Bella Blogs but I have never taken it too seriously. Some posts on this blog date back to early 2017, I kept these posts as I thought they were actually OK! This time though, I decided to focus more on writing and creating content online, and in order to do so, I have tried to educate myself a little along the way.
In this post, I am going to share with you my Top 5 Things I’ve Learnt In My First Month of Blogging. Hopefully it will help out some of you new bloggers too!
Search Engine Optimisation. WTF. I am still getting to grips with this and had no clue on where to start. I’ve read sooo many articles on this and there doesn’t seem to be one key idea to make this work - it’s more of an ongoing project for each individual blog. From what I can gather (and I’m going to give you my knowledge in layman’s terms) it’s learning to use keywords throughout your blog posts AND in the back end of your website, to improve the search rank on google and the like. So, for this blog post I use the word ‘blog’ a lot - use it in your title, subheadings, and in the bulk of your text to improve the chances of your post being ranked higher when someone searches the word ‘blog’. Also use long-tailed phrases too. For example, I use the phrase ‘Lea Bella Blogs’ in my meta keywords section and now, when I type it into google, my website ranks as the second search on the first page - right behind my twitter page (@leabellablogs). SEO groundwork also takes a lot of time. Do you research and be clever about what keywords you are going to use.
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An Enjoyable Day on the Sea
There is a back story to how we ended up on Robinson's Catamaran on a random Wednesday during our holiday to Alcudia... But I will create a separate post on this as it's a long (and quite funny!) anecdote.
HAVING A REGULAR NIGHTIME ROUTINE IS SO IMPORTANT
So you've just had a long day at work, it was stressful. You get home, you make tea, for yourself, possibly for the partner and kids too. The house is a mess even though you only cleaned yesterday. Infact you gave the house a real thorough clean. Now you wonder why you bothered. The kids need bathing, the dog needs walking, the packed lunches need doing for tomorrow. You put the kids to bed and suddenly you have an hour or so before its your bed time, what do you do now?
Most people lead hectic lives these days. Heck - I cant remeber the last time I truly spent the day doing bugger all. I think its important, even in our busy lives to spend time on yourself. My way of doing this is to make sure I have a regular night time routine where I forget about the day and spend time with ME.
In this post I am going to share with you my regular night time routine. How I was the woes of the day away and prepare for a new day.
This post contains affiliate links, which means should you love the products I do and make a purchase via my link, at no extra cost to you, I may receive a small commission. To read more click here
audiobooks - the easy alternative to reading
I always loved being read stories as a kid. I still like listening to peoples anecdotes as an adult. When I first was introduced to Audible I thought '...this is my way of reading books without reading!' If you are like me and have a busy life, and no physical time to sit and open a book, audiobooks are the perfect alternative to still get lost in stories whilst being on the go. What's better than listening to your favourite autobiography whilst doing the washing, or cracking up along with your favourite comedian's show whilst walking the dogs? Audiobooks fit around your life. You can listen to them at a time that suits you, and at several times throughout the day, if you like.
I completed 22 audiobooks (maybe more, whose counting?!) in 2018 and I am officially an audible addict. I choose to listen to audio books just before bed - the book being read to me via audio takes me back to being read a bed time story, but as an adult helps me unwind after a massive hectic day. Boo-hoo.
What's better, is Audible via Amazon are giving my audience a free 30-day trial and a free audiobook when you sign up below:
SOLDIER SPY - TOM MARCUS, 2016
Narrated by Jason Langley - what a read! If you are in to books about MI5, MI6 or the military, this is for you. This is written first hand by the author and is an insight into the war being waged by MI5 to keep us safe in our towns and cities. It reveals never before heard detail and gives a chilling view into life on the front line in the battle against terrorism in the UK.
WHY MUMMY DRINKS - GILL SIMMS, 2017
Vikki Lea is 28 Years Old and lives in the Midlands with her husband and two dogs. She enjoys blogging and sharing her experiences and opinions with her audience.