I SUPPOSE it was fated to happen after all the bashings I’ve given to the airline the world hates to love.
Not satisfied with fleecing me of 50 euros on the outward trip, Ryanair kicked me in the ribs on my return flight to Alicante from Manchester.
Well, I’ve got to blame someone - and they’re used to it!
I’ve been doubled up in pain for the last 10 days, with the prospect of two more weeks explaining why I’m crawling about like a 90-year-old crab.
After my heinous crime on the flight to the UK (and the €50 fine levied by a human Rottweiler at the boarding desk who would have preferred the death sentence), I arrived at the departure gate in Manchester prepared for a handbag war.
I’d replaced the criminally large one I took to England with a mini-handbag which fitted easily into my hand luggage and took my place in the Ryanair ‘Priority’ queue ready for the flak to fly as it had at Alicante.
No such luck - Jonny Rottweiler and the Air Pirates were nowhere in sight, just a couple of polite lady pussy cats.
Here was the reality of ageism. The young Spanish jobsworths at Alicante had both been in their twenties. The British-Asian women who checked me through the boarding gate at Manchester were double their age – and consequently graduates in tact and diplomacy.
Before joining the queue, I had plonked my 10 kilos of cabin luggage into the Ryanair size rack and, surprise surprise, it just about fitted. But then, of course I couldn’t get it out. I pulled and pulled and eventually a male passenger did the job for me.
I half expected Rott-man to appear with a set of scales and weigh my bag in at 10.1 kilos. Which I presume would also incur a €50 fine.
Come to think of it, why do Ryanair not check the weight of hand luggage carried by passengers with online boarding cards? (I shouldn’t have mentioned that. They might get ideas).
Anyway, on to the meat of this article - how Ryanair condemned me to suffer.
Despite the relaxed atmosphere at Manchester airport, I was happy enough to get past the boarding gate. A particularly helpful gentleman (yes, they do still exist) helped me get my 10 kilos’ worth aboard and I settled into my reserved front-row window seat (at €10 extra, a snip for creaking oldies).
|OK Mr O'Leary, you win. Please put us down|
She turned to her pal and spouted something in fluent Jamie Carragher. There we are, I knew she was foreign.
As passengers without reserved seats (which was virtually everyone) funnelled through the plane, the male steward asked the Liverpool lasses if they had reserved the seats they were in.
‘’You can’t sit here then,’’ he told them, to my intense pleasure. “Anywhere after Row 6, please.’’
Reluctantly, the Liver Birds headed for the rear of the plane, to be replaced by two suited young Spaniards who DID have reservations. Great, I thought – convinced I’d get in a bit of Spanish practice during the ensuing two and a bit hours.
No chance. Los chicos babbled away so rapido that I barely understood a palabra – and I quickly realised they had nothing in common with a grumpy old geriatric.
Because of back problems, I have difficulty bending down. So when, soon after take-off, I dropped the Ryanair flight magazine, the sensible thing would have been to ask one of the Spanish guys if he could help.
But this was ‘Grabber Granny’ hour, so down I stretched to rescue the fallen literary classic.
After two or three failed attempts, I sat up again and thought ‘I’m making a fool of myself. I’ve got to get it next time.’
I lurched forward and felt a big crack in my lower ribs, accompanied by a fierce pulled-muscle type pain.
Since then, I have thought of little but Ryanair. When I’m not yelling for relief, that is.
I think of them when I wake up in the morning, when I sit down or stand up, when I get in and out of my car, in fact I never stop thinking about the floor of that plane.’ They had no right to put it there.
I’m in pain just about every second of the day. And I’m told the only cure for rib damage is rest and patience.
Michael O’Leary, you’re a cruel man.I have only word to say to you and your airline.