Our New Years celebrations this year took us to Italy. It’s a short travel and Italy is lucky enough to tick all the right boxes – food, wine, clothes and culture. So off we went!
We visited the region of Abruzzo and met up with friends there. They were as kind and polite as you wish the Maltese could be at times. Visiting a place where you know locals has its’ obvious perks. We visited the best restaurants, stayed at the most charming hotel in Chieti and had a lovely New Year’s Eve cenone. Everything was beautiful, C behaved impeccably all throughout and we left with warm memories.
And then we left to catch our Ryanair flight back to Malta.
We had a luggage weight limit of 15kg, which is very easy to reach and overpass when travelling to Italy. Luckily enough we had weighed our luggage before leaving and knew we were safe. Upon arriving and checking our luggage in, the charming Ryanair personnel (do these people ever smile?!) forgot to tag our pushchair, we forgot to remind her (we were quite eager to end the Ryanair Check-In Ordeal) and so upon queuing for five minutes to enter the security check area, we were told to go back to the check-in front desk and ask for a security tag. By that time my mother and A’s parents who had C, had already checked in, so we had to call them, collect our passports and boarding passes and went back to queue. Twenty minutes later we got our tag and went towards the security area.
Ryanair also has a weight limit on hand luggages – you can not carry more than 10kg in your hand luggage. Whilst I was okay to go (with 10.4kg), A had 10.7kg. A hulk of an Italian security guard with gelled-back hair and thin eyebrows stopped him and told him that he was nearly at 11kg and could not go through. So we were told to stand by the entrance’s side and settle our weight issue. A took out his jacket and that seemed to be okay for Mr. Hulk because we were let through. I was ready to start tossing C’s nappies at him at that point but Mr. Hulk spared me the pleasure.
Since we travelled with an under-two infant, A and myself got to cut the queue and were let in before the mass exodus of Maltese who were queuing for ONE HOUR went through. We were let in through the boarding door and then had to wait for another twenty minutes because the aircraft was not ready for boarding. It was late, C was tired, we had two hand luggages and a pushchair and were left waiting for 20 minutes in a staircase. Not my favourite moment of the holiday.
Eventually we boarded and left Italy. And then 75 minutes of non-stop marketing commenced. First they sell you in-flight ‘cigarettes’, then they take hot food orders, then they bring out the food trolley, then they sell lottery tickets, then they sell Malta Transport tickets, they then proceed to sell telephone cards and end up collecting in-flight magazines they had previously given out to passengers to read. I dare anyone to try and sleep during the flight. One thing was coming out right after the other and at times we felt as if we were spectators during a zoo performance.
The cherry on the cake? Arriving in Malta ten minutes ahead of schedule and having Ryanair sound you the most annoying horn sound in the history of sounds, just to mention how good they are in getting you in time. Thankfully C was in a deep sleep by this time. Oh, and forget about a ‘good-bye and safe trip home’ on the way out. We got a ‘Welcome to Malta, where the local time is…’ speech, then a pause, and then a ‘Eh by the way, Happy New Year’s Day’.
For the life of me, I do not understand Ryanair’s ever-increasing profits and sales. The whole ordeal made me feel like a single speck in an ocean of insipid things. Just by looking at their rude and grim-faced personnel in their unattractive bright-coloured uniform, you know that you’re in for a king of a hassle. Hearing the air-hostess sigh and roll her eyes when having to explain how the Ryanair lottery card works is not attractive. What I want to understand is why would anybody who has a choice to pick another airline, choose Ryanair?