Alright. I’m sorting my thoughts out for this post because literally (and I do not mean figuratively) from the moment I said goodbye to Danny, Peter and Ash at the airport in Santiago, my day went from bad to worse to ‘I can’t believe this is happening’.
First, we had fun at the airport and Danny made me pull this face while I ate cake.
The gates we were leaving from were adjacent so I hugged everyone goodbye, not feeling too sad because I’d be seeing them all again in a month or so in Belfast.
I turned towards my gate, took a step closer and heard the steward say that the flight was to be delayed by five hours because they were (I am quoting him directly) ‘trying to find a plane’. TRYING TO FIND A PLANE.
I guess they weren’t trying to find THE plane, which would imply that they had lost an entire plane, but no one really explained what was going on. With the thought that perhaps a plane wouldn’t be found, not even down the back of the couch or in the pocket of that winter coat from two years ago, I could feel my heart rate rise.
I tried to get back into the VIP lounge that we had accessed with Danny’s membership, but they said no and also it was now filled to the brim.
Fortunately I found a comfy seat near some lovely Englishmen who had also been doing one of the Camino trails and we had a chat and I think they felt sorry for me as a solo traveller and took me under their wing, keeping me updated with alerts, emails and notifications they received.
At about 9:30pm we moved to the gate and boarded just after 10. For a late night flight everyone was very chatty and relaxed.
Too relaxed. Yuck.
We got to Stansted just before midnight. I raced to the immigration line, thinking that being ahead might help me get an earlier bus into London. Luke had arrived in the evening and made his way to the hotel where we were supposed to meet.
Sue, Luke’s aunt (and my aunt too, now that we’re married… aunt in law? That seems weird for someone who is very close to me in age) had sent me many lovely messages and said I could go to their place (they live near Stansted airport but on the opposite side to London) but I had booked Luke and I on an 8:30 train to Windermere the next day and I didn’t want to risk missing the train.
I decided to buy a ticket on the ‘Stansted to London’ bus (the airport link train had bus replacements, so either way I was taking a bus) and bought my ticket before I picked up my checked bag as there was no queue and it was on the way to the carousel.
The bus ticket was for a set time so I ran to the bag carousel to get my backpack … and waited. And waited. And waited. No bag. I had an AirTag on my bag but the last known location was Santiago, which wasn’t helpful.
Eventually ‘Santiago’ disappeared from the carousel screen and I, the only person left standing there, figured I needed to talk to a Ryanair staff member. I was starting to panic about losing my bag so I went out through the ‘nothing to declare’ doors to the information counter and was told I had to go back through security into the baggage hall as that was where the lost baggage desk was. Sigh.
I had to go on a stressful back alley mission and move a large and very official-looking yellow barrier to let myself into a closed part of the terminal. Walking around secret sections of an airport late at night is not fun and I kept expecting everyone I passed to yell at me for being there. I went down some long corridors into the staff section and to a little security screening room. Fortunately they were very understanding and kind, looked at all my papers and let me through.
I was expecting more complications, but before I even got to the lost luggage desk I found my bag lying in a pile of other suitcases at the opposite end of the hall to my allotted carousel, which was lucky because I was about to cry from the stress of it all.
Out of the terminal there were dozens of bus stops and when I arrived at the one written on my ticket there was no one there but the bus driver, who looked like he was about to leave. I frantically looked about for a way to get through the barrier until he managed to convey to me through gesture from inside the bus that he wasn’t leaving. When I examined the bus more closely I realised it was empty.
The bus left at 12:30am and the ride went quietly. I watched videos online to pass the time. As there was no traffic on the roads we made good time to Liverpool Street, and it was about 1:30am when I jumped into a cab.
Finally, at 2am, six hours after I expected to get there, I arrived at the hotel where Luke was sleeping. The front desk attendant showed me up to the room and a bleary-eyed Luke was standing there, ready to give me a big hug.
Sorry about this delayed update! The joy of seeing luke and the general stress of the flight combined with a dire lack of sleep really put a dampener on my desire to write.
Next: Luke and the Lake District! two of my favourite things:-).
4 thoughts on “Ryanair (the World’s Worst Airline)”
UURRRRRRGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH – worst!
Worst in the whole wide world.
Oh Amanda! I’m glad you found your bag and got to London eventually, I agree Ragnar air are hopeless, had encounters with them many times! Try to avoid them! So reading betweeen the lines I gather your a married woman, A belated Congratulations! enjoy the rest of your adventures.
Thanks Rosanna! I married luke last year, it was a lovely wedding in our backyard and it was the first time we properly had our families together.
And yes, no more Ryanair ever!