Category Archives: Accommodation

The best places to stay when Travelling around the world

Ryanair are back in my travel plans

It’s been a while since I had chosen Ryanair as a travel option. Almost thirteen years to be precise. But in August 2015 I decided to see how true they were being to their change in customer service policy. They had started using the slogan ‘Always getting better’.

As a former consumer journalist I had heard many nightmare stories about the airline, which had promoted me to vote with my wallet and choose other airlines. More expensive, but money wasn’t my most important consideration, customer service trumped that.

In late August I booked a return flight from Bristol to Dublin. I arrived on time and was pleasantly surprised that we weren’t being herded onto the aircraft like cattle, it all seemed fairly well organised with staff being cordial and friendly with passengers.

The flight to Dublin arrived on time. I was impressed, but I still had to make my return leg 2 days later.

A week before I had been on a BA flight to Edinburgh from London Heathrow. Now this is important because of the timing. That flight left at 0705. For the return leg of my Ryanair flight I had glanced at my boarding pass on my phone and had spotted 0635 on it. Very stupidly I assumed this was the gate closing time.

Panic

I woke up the next morning to catch the 6am shuttle bus from the Hilton close to the Airport which would take less than 10 minutes. Just as the shuttle bus pulled up near terminal one I took a look at my electronic boarding pass again. It was 0608. I then noticed that the 0635 was the departure time for the flight. I though “shit, I’ve missed this flight, which will mean losing a costly day of work and the addition of an expensive flight to get myself back”.

I ran up the stair and fully expected the electronic gate to stop me as it was past closing time for the gate. It allowed me to pass. Stupidly I waited in a security queue instead of asking to skip past. It was 0617 by the time I was through. I was now sure that I had missed my flight, and to make it worse, it was departing from a new extension to the terminal which was a bit of a trek.

I ran to gate 107 and noticed there was no one there apart from one guy with a yellow high visibility bib. I asked if I had missed the flight. He looked up and said “no, we were just wondering where you’d got to”. I couldn’t believe my luck.

Helpful staff at Ryanair

When I got on the full flight I noticed that there was no luggage space near my seat row. Two flight attendants helpfully moved a few bags  around and put my bag up above me. Excellent service.

So that was my day of actual conversion. Since then I have taken another Ryanair flight and been very impressed with they service. They really are getting much better.

Taking on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing

It was a crisp Sunday morning at Tongariro National Park.  I was up early to catch my transfer bus to the carpark at the start of the one day tramp across the Tongariro Pass.

Before I hopped on the bus I started a conversation with a fellow countryman from Cork.   Continue reading Taking on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing

New Zealand: Backpacker be warned, the lackpacker is here

In June 2011 I wrote a blog about the different breeds of backpacker.  I talked about the flashpacker, backpacker and of course the slackpacker.

Just over 2 years on from this I have noticed a new breed of backpacker.  I’ve called this type the lackpacker.  I’m here in New Zealand myself, not as a backpacker this time.  I am here hoping that I can settle here for good when I find a job.  But more on that in another post. Continue reading New Zealand: Backpacker be warned, the lackpacker is here

Monaco: Day 17 of 17 Happy St Paddy’s Day

I decide to go and look for breakfast.  I find a cafe called Caffe Due Merli Savona in a small street near a church and escape from the rain in there.  I order a latte and two croissants with a marmalade filling.  Well, this is how the lady describes it, but to me it tastes like apricot rather than the orange I am used to. Continue reading Monaco: Day 17 of 17 Happy St Paddy’s Day

Italy: Day 16 of 17: Genoa a good place for a drink?

In the morning I speak briefly to Win and then she leaves before me.  I Look at the very limited free breakfast and decide a cup of tea will be enough for me.  My bus to get me back to Rimini leaves at 1030am.  I ask the guy in the Hostel San Marino to point to the bus stop so that I find it quickly.  I start to get a bit worried when the bus doesn’t show after 15 minutes.  A few minutes later I am happy to get on it.  It’s got quite a few locals on it (Russians).  We get to the train station on time which is good news for me as I want to go to the cash machine again. Continue reading Italy: Day 16 of 17: Genoa a good place for a drink?