Oh boy, it must be about 10+ years since I last flew a European budget airline (I have good things to say about Southeast Asian ones). The flight was actually ok for how much I paid, but the experience could have been a lot more pleasant. I am not sure who was more at fault? My expectations? The flight attendants? Other passengers?

The Flights

I took a flight from Madrid to Rabat (MAD-RBA), for 55.68 USD, and a flight from Marrakech to Madrid (RAK – MAD) for 39.10 USD. The flights were around 2 hrs long each.

The seats are tight, even for me. I tend to cross my legs when I sit – it was quite a challenge trying to switch legs. I kept bumping my leg against the seat in front (sorry, person in front!)

I was also too cheap to pay for seat assignment, so I let fate decide where I’d wind up. On the first flight, I got the bitch seat, while I was assigned an aisle seat on the second flight.

Being on the bitch seat is horrible enough in and of itself, but to make things worse, I ended up sitting between two people with very little flying etiquette. In flying etiquette, it is polite/considerate to give BOTH armrests to the person in the middle seat. Sure, you are not obliged to do so, but it’d be nice to do so. Of course, I ended up with two people who decided to take up as much space as it was humanly possible, and not only did I have sit with both my arms tucked tight, I also got elbowed a few times.

Another pet peeve of mine? People putting their jackets in the overhead bins, before other passengers are done putting their luggage up there. On this front, I think there was just a failure in the training of the flight attendants, or perhaps it’s just a cultural thing. At least on US flights, passengers will be told to hold off putting their coats/jackets in the overhead bins until others have put their carry-on up there. On both flights, it was just a Lord of the Flies situation. While passengers were still boarding, the ones who boarded earlier decided to throw as much stuff as they could up in the overhead bin; the flight attendants just stood by nonchalantly.


Flying budget airlines can be a good way to stretch the dollar, and I do it a lot for short-haul flights. While it’s probably not pleasant for most passengers involved, I do think some small changes, and a little consideration for others can make this experience more pleasant for everyone involved.

Ways Ryanair Might Dime You

  1. About 2 – 3 days before my flight, I received notification to check in, and print my boarding pass for the flights. And if I did not print my boarding pass, I’d have to pay either 45 EUR or 45 USD for each flight segment. By this point, I was already on the road. Because everyone totally carries a portable printer with them when traveling! Thankfully, I was able to print out my first boarding pass at the ANA Lounge in Lisbon some hours before my flight, and Le Meridien N’Fis also had a complimentary printer in their lobby.
  2. If you are a US flyer taking international flights for the first time, be aware that what’s acceptable as a carry-on is much more limited internationally. Ryanair uses the international standard. So, if your bag looks like it’s pregnant with twins, there’s a chance that you might be made to check in your luggage at a hefty cost!