Entering the cabin, I was greeted by a blindingly bright yellow ceiling that would be more at home on the back of a poisonous tree frog or gay banana. Below stretched a farm of sterile blue plastic seats that looked like they were taken straight out of a Smurf porno. As if plastering the overhead lockers in tacky advertising wasn’t enough—we’re talking ‘buy buy buy, free free free, super extra premium gin rum vodka’—they had actually glued the safety information cards to the back of the seats, completing a scene that had all the ambience of a South Auckland brothel.
The whole piece is here, though I am at a loss on what a ‘gay banana’ is.
Everything I have heard of the airline turns me off, though I have never ﬂown it. I can tolerate some budget concessions, such as having to pay for your meals, but most (negative) stories are along the same lines as the review on Nadine’s site (though not as humorous). The taxes and inconvenience are sufﬁcient turn-offs. As I was raised to believe that good manners should be free, the review indicates that Ryanair skimps on those, too. But you begin thinking what else they have skimped on. Aircraft servicing? Passenger safety? Pilots with sanity?
I can’t criticize them for outright deception. It’s not as though the marketing tells you that the airline is comfortable when it isn’t. Everything screams budget, so it’s a case of caveat emptor. Naice airlines do not publish calendars with their air hostesses in swimsuits or nothing at all. If they’re willing to objectify their own staff, you’re not in much hope of getting a red carpet. (Meanwhile, this union has some concerns about the airline.)
The plus side, which I’m sure Ryanair and other low-cost ﬂiers would state, is that people can now get to where they want without too much cost. It wasn’t that long ago that jetting about would necessitate taking out a mortgage. I remember looking at an ad in 1980, where it was considered a “special” for a family to ﬂy return to Hong Kong for NZ$3,000. That’s 1980 dollars, too.
The Ryanair stories, nevertheless, remind me that the ﬂip side can go too far. How much more toward the dystopian 21st century of last century’s ﬁlms do we need to go? Is the rich–poor divide now so pronounced that Ryanair can even ﬁoat the idea of standing on your ﬂights, locked in à la Hannibal Lecter? The battery-hen analogy in the review suddenly seems more apt. Let’s make it as undigniﬁed as we can for those who didn’t pay for it. Let’s serve Soylent Green on the ﬂight in a few years’ time (with an extra charge, of course).
I know, I can easily get political from this point, and segue into water ownership or a similar issue. One rule for the rich and one for the poor. It jars with not only my social conscience, but all the ideas I developed practising and (many years ago) teaching design: that no one should go without good stuff.
So my impressions of Ryanair are all second-hand. Still, they’re enough to keep me hoping that I don’t have to experience them ﬁrst-hand.