Thursday, July 04, 2013

Too cheap: booking a Ryanair ticket

I just ordered a ticket with Ryanair and the main impression that I came away with was one of feeling almost unclean, after dealing with someone a bit too sleazy for comfort. I acknowledge that they have been pioneers in changing the level of prices for air travel – but to me they are pushing it too far now. I’m glad I’m not an employee there, but even as a customer, you get a sense that they are trying to trick you.
The moment I enter the website, I am on alert, because I know that unless I move very carefully, I will either spend more money than I thought I would – or I will waste a lot of time, before finally quitting in frustration and protest.

The first thing I want to know is whether they have a departure that fits my plans. But in order to search for flights, I have to declare that I have read and accepted the conditions. I don’t have the patience for that, so I accept – with a slight unease: what am I accepting that they do with the information about me?


The design of the website is explicitly cheap, Typography and colors are LOUD, pop up windows appear, ads for all sorts of additional stuff is everywhere – they’re even selling ad-space for competing airlines. 
The box that asks for permission to keep spamming me with offers has a intriguing backwards phrasing:


Obviously they are very eager to sell additional services – like insurance:

Not only does this big and loud sales pitch come up, but for every extra item they offer – airtime for phoning (…), sightseeing tours, luggage – you must specifically click no or scroll all the way down to the ”not interested” option. 

It goes on for several screens, including one for rental cars, and finally one for some sort of lottery - which you must also explicity reject:


Finally you get your total price – I noticed an extra charge for paying with my credit card, of course.

Then they send you a confirmation and itinerary. Again, filled with colorful ads for extra service. For me as a customer, I would like a simple document, that didn’t force me to spend precious color ink on printing ads for stuff I don’t need.

So, now I’m ready. I just have to remember, that when I check in from home, I must print out the boarding card. Otherwise Ryan air will charge me 70 pounds to print one!

It’s the only departure that fits my schedule for this travel. And it’s cheap – but maybe a bit too cheap.

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