I took the Ryanair Experience and took my wife for lunch in Spain with Ryanair – and ended up paying less than it would have cost for lunch here in the UK!
Ryanair are somewhat of a ‘Marmite’ airline – either loved or hated depending on who you speak to. Despite this, they’re often the cheapest way to get around Europe by air and often have even last minute flights for very favourable prices.
In need of a little sunshine we decided to take a quick day trip to the Spanish island of Mallorca to grab some Tapas by the beach. For a return price of less than £30 each, we took a morning flight out from East Midlands Airport (Nottingham, UK) to Palma, returning the same evening.
East Midlands Airport
We arrived at East Midlands and parked in the short stay parking. This was fairly reasonably priced at £13 for a day, booked a few days in advance.
Escape Lounge: East Midlands Airport
We entered the terminal building which was surprisingly quiet, and made our way through to the Escape Lounge, accessible with Priority Pass.
The Escape Lounge is a relatively new addition to EMA, opened in the last couple of years as part of their airside renovation. It’s a bright and airy lounge but doesn’t have any airside views. There’s a good choice of food and drink, including a lovely full English breakfast.
Stuffed with bacon and sausage, it was time to head to the gate. Ryanair leave from the new pier at EMA, which is around an 8-10 minute walk from the main gates.
Boarding: or when everyone is Priority
On arriving at the gate the priority line was around four times longer than the non-priority line. Ryanair offer priority boarding for up to 50% of the aircraft, meaning that it’s often not worth getting priority boarding (unless you need the larger cabin bag allowance).
We boarded just behind the priority passengers and took our seats in row 30, towards the back of the aircraft. We pushed back and taxied away on time, for a departure from runway 09 at East Midlands.
Once above the clouds it was a beautiful sunny day. We headed down the UK and into French airspace.
We ordered a coffee and a latte from the buy on board selection. Ryanair’s definition of a ‘latte’ is a cup of coffee with 6 packs of milk, meaning you just end up with a really milky and disgusting coffee!
It got a little clearer overhead Southern France and we crossed Toulouse, the Pyrenees and crossed the Mediterranean towards the Balearic Islands.
Descent into a Mediterranean Paradise
Mallorca looked beautiful as we descended across the island and made an approach and landing into Palma Airport.
Passport control was fairly quick using the ePassport gates – most passengers had travelled with children so had to queue for the standard gates.
We headed through the airport and took our £6 rental car for a day driving around the island.
We returned to Palma airport in the early evening ahead of our 10pm flight.
There are a number of lounges at Palma, but none near to the gates that Ryanair use. We headed to the Formentor VIP lounge near the D gates. This lounge isn’t the best, the food selection wasn’t great and it got pretty busy. It’s also really dull with no exterior windows.
We left the lounge and headed to the gate, where our flight was running approximately 30 minutes late.
After queuing for some time we were allowed onto a bus which took us to the remote stands where our aircraft was waiting for us.
We took off around 40 minutes late from Palma, getting some good views of the city illuminated at night.
Buy on Board: Or how not to make a pizza
I decided to try some of the onboard food and ordered pizza and fries – which was actually terrible.
We got some nice views of London as we entered UK airspace.
Finally we touched down 40 minutes late onto runway 27 at East Midlands.
Ryanair are an airline I could take or leave. Usually I’ve always find they run to time, but tonight was the first delay I’d ever experienced. The crew were fairly happy and friendly, but the onboard catering was dismal. For the price of £30 return though, it’s hard to complain.