An afternoon flight from Manchester is a luxury for Helen and I… We get to wake up at a normal hour, catch the train to the airport instead of a coach service from Leeds city centre and enjoy some time in the Manchester Airport lounges (in this case the lounges in Manchester Airport T3)
Sadly, today wasn’t going to be as leisurely as we thought. Due to an incident on the tracks trains going into Leeds had been cancelled until further notice. This situation had been ongoing for two hours by the time we arrived at Dewsbury Train Station at 9 am.
After an hour of waiting around reading over the terms and conditions of our travel insurance, we managed to get a (barely road legal) bus operated by the rail provider. We were supposed to take the bus all the way to Manchester. Instead, when we got to Huddersfield we found that there was one train running to Manchester Picaddily that left in 3 minutes. We grabbed our bags and ran like never before.
We made the train, there were no seats, we were out of breath, we’d made the mistake of still not having breakfast but we were on a train that was set to arrive into Manchester Piccadilly at 11.30am – which it did. From there we we’re able to head over to platform 13 and get the train to the train station on-site at Manchester Airport.
Of course, Terminal 3 is the furthest away from the station so this required us (out of breath, tired, thirsty, hungry and warm) to walk for 15 minutes to try and get to the check-in desk where we could leave our additional bag (which we’d paid for in advance)…
Date: Thursday 30th May 2019
Depart: 13:14 (est 12:55)
Arrive: 16:20 (est 16:05)
Aircraft: Boeing 737-800
Seat: 2A & 31D
We checked in online using the Ryanair Mobile App (which has had a recent overhaul and is speedier than ever) around 15 hours prior to take off. Remember with Ryanair it is compulsory you check yourself in online up to two hours prior to your flight or face a penalty of £55/€55.
In Ryanair’s defence (there are two words I never thought I’d write) I was contacted three times by email and once by text in that time to remind me to check-in online. This isn’t something they seem to hide from you (and secretly cross their fingers that you’ll forget) instead they seem to be making the entire process easier and quicker than ever.
Due to the updated baggage restrictions on Ryanair flights Helen and I checked-in an additional ‘hand luggage’ size bag for £12 (one way) for the first time ever during the check-in process.
Due to the unforeseen circumstances getting to the airport we arrived with 40 minutes until boarding. Ryanair hadn’t given us any specifics on restrictions on bag drop time (although I’m sure it’ll be in some terms and conditions somewhere) so we enquired with one of the staff members upon arrival who allowed us to go directly into another much smaller queue and see a member of staff directly. Our bag was 7.3kg (out of the 10kg) limit and wasn’t measured.
Boarding began around 10 minutes earlier than the 12:35 stated on our boarding card at Gate 54 within terminal 3. While we didn’t have the chance to stop at the airport lounge on the way, we did have the chance to pick up a meal deal at Boots.
We ate that meal deal at the gate while watching others board the aircraft (priority first), eventually boarding the aircraft at 12:45. As our seats were apart (due to my late check-in and the full flight paying £4 each for us to sit together wouldn’t have even been possible as the seats simply were not available) Helen boarded at the rear of the aircraft, and myself (Cora) at the front.
This isn’t the first time we’ve flown on the 737-800, nor is it the first time we’ve flown on the 737-800 with Ryanair – after all, these are their aircraft of choice with more than 400 of them currently in operation with the airline alone (making up approximately 80% of their fleet)
Much like all the other Ryanair cabins. The theme is yellow and blue. It’s garish, more minimal than you can ever imagine with zero storage space but… it works…
Despite starting the boarding process earlier than expected boarding completed at 12:52 (3 minutes prior to the 12:55 departure time) from there it took a further 15 minutes before we were ready to be pushed back.
30 minutes into the flight cabin crew came around offering hot and cold sandwiches only (drinks were set to follow) as we had previously eaten this wasn’t something that we required.
The seatbelt sign was illuminated shortly before drinks were served due to incredibly minor turbulence (I’ve never known a seatbelt sign to be turned on for such a small amount of turbulence). No turbulence followed so whether the pilots had been warned from an aircraft in front I’m not sure.
The pilot came over the tannoy to speak to us as we were flying over Zurich (I had a hunch given the large airport in the photo above) to inform us it would be around 20 minutes until we started making our decent.
Menu & Meals
A menu for the flight is available if you obtain a magazine from cabin crew prior to departure. Here is a sample of the items on offer during this flight.
While I wasn’t after a panini, I wouldn’t have minded a drink and maybe a small tube of Pringles. Sadly, Helen had who was at the complete other end of the aircraft had all our methods of payment in her purse. Furthermore, I had no idea as to whether or not the cabin crew would accept Apple Pay (which was the only thing I had left without disturbing two passengers to go and ask her for a bank card or some cash). Instead, cabin crew kind of missed our row accidentally. I took that as a sign and decided to carry on the flight without.
One of Ryanair’s more scenic flights was as uneventful (and overcrowded and unorganised) as ever. That said the value for money and prompt service isn’t something I can deny them today.
Unlike so many travellers I know – We’d continue to fly Ryanair.