Going home to Somerset for the summer, (well for at least six weeks of the nine left to me after I spent the first three weeks of the three month break organising the state exams in our school), I decided last week that I should return to Dublin for a day to check on things, pick up my post, and go to the pharmacy to pick up my prescription.
There was only ever going to be one option available for such a journey, Ryanair, for whom I am a nightmare customer.
Catching the 2110 flight from Bristol on a Tuesday and the 0635 flight from Dublin on a Thursday morning, the flights were £12.99 each way.
Of course, anyone who travels with Ryanair will know that is only the starting price. They will charge you for bags, they will charge you if you want to pick a seat, they will try to sell you a multitude of other things.
But being the sort of person who would give Michael O’Leary nightmares, I wanted no extras. I didn’t want to take a bag, I was going back to my own flat. I didn’t care where I sat, there is only me.
I checked out of the booking and paid the bill. £25.98 to fly from Bristol to Dublin and back again.
Of course, the problem of flying with Ryanair is that you have to fly from airports run by gougers. (Anyone been to Beauvais?)
Bristol Airport must try to recoup from its passengers the money it can’t get out of Ryanair and EasyJet.
Needing car parking for the 36 hour trip, I discovered that I could park at Bristol Airport for £78.99. There is no competition – any local entrepreneurs who tried to offer economic rates were forced to close.
‘Blow that,’ I thought.
My sister agreed to drive me the 28 miles to the airport. Her Fiat 500 would do the journeys to and from the airport on Tuesday evening and Thursday morning on two gallons of petrol.
Bristol Airport extends its gouging to charging £5 for dropping people off at the terminal. Being averse to paying to get out of a car, I discovered that there is a waiting zone used by taxi drivers next to the car hire offices. Avoiding the £5 charge is a simple matter of getting on a shuttle bus.
Of course, the thing that can’t be avoided is the airport staff, of which Bristol has the type that might make you want to use the car ferry. But, what do you expect for £12.99?
The bonus came when I got on the plane. When checking in online, the Ryanair website said that I could pay to select a seat or would be allocated a middle seat. I ignored it, I would be happy to stand for a 40 minute flight so sitting in the middle would be no hardship. I was allocated Seat 5B. Seats 5A and 5C were unoccupied.
Shifting to the window seat, I smiled at getting value for my £12.99