Ryanair is the Keystone of airlines. Although the Budweiser is more luxurious and tastes better, Keystone is cheaper and gets the job done.
I learned this over the weekend when I took my first European "voyage." As a college student, my funds are not indispensible (*&%$ the exchange rate). So my friends and I decided to find the cheapest air travel from Paris (my study abroad location) to anywhere.
Upon first glance, the Irish low-cost airline seemed great. With over 165 destinations in 27 countries, Paris and Rome both had tons of bases. And so we booked with Ryanair to Rome.
Because we were just looking to travel in general, the weekend did not matter. We looked up prices for different weekends on the site (they fluctuate a lot) and ended up finding roundtrip tickets for 60€! If you travel at bad times, flights are super cheap (e.g. Thursday late at night and Monday morning at 7am).
First, we thought it was a scam. But trust me, it’s not. The scam you do have to look out for is the purchasing process in which the website offers you every single travel item imaginable at outrageous prices. Checking a bag costs 25€ and choosing a seat costs 10€. I neglected both as I was only traveling for 4 nights and the carry on limit is 10kg (I’m just such a great packer … ha, packing was the hardest part of the trip —repeat outfit offender over here).
On the day of travel, we took a 1 hour and 15 minute bus ride out to Beauvais (the airports are usually very small and in really obscure areas). MAKE SURE TO CHECK-IN AND PRINT OUT YOUR TICKET AHEAD OF TIME. If you don’t you WILL have to pay 60€ and you will feel like an idiot. The security check was very fast (we’re talking five minutes; Scary or efficient?) They made us shove our carry-ons into a little metal container. Make sure that your bag is small enough because people ended up having to pay to check their bags. Soft bags are better for squishing into the container.
Anyway, once we boarded and took our non-reclining, faux-leather (yay PETA!), no seat-back pocket seats, the flight attendants offered — and I’m not exaggerating —beverages, sandwiches, candy, lotto cards, smokeless cigarettes, perfume and makeup. I guess that is how they make their money. I tried to get sleep, but the stiff back, head to the sky, open mouth thing was not really working. When we landed in the sketchy little Campiano airport, we just grabbed our bags and caught a bus to the center of Rome.
Oh, and P.S.: I lost my watch at the security checkout in Paris. Realized this when I got to Rome, emailed the Beauvais airport lost/found and immediately received a response that they had found my watch and that I could pick it up upon return. Perks of the small sketchy airport.
Kelly Gordon is a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences studying abroad in Paris. She can be reached at email@example.com. Notes from Abroad: Travel Tips appears on Thursdays.