We started our tour early in the morning on wednesday going to Lübeck Blankensee Airport (LBC). Wow! What an airport! I’ve never seen such a small airport in the middle of nowhere.
We arrived there at about seven o’clock as RyanAir asks you to check-in two hours ahead of schedule. Well, at Lübeck you don’t really have to — the main hall with the check-in desks was literally deserted.
After a futile hour of waiting we could finaly check-in and pass the passenger controls to get into the fully RyanAir branded departure tent. This really is a big tent, one of those you’re used to from fun fairs or street markets. Filled with some aluminium camping chairs and tables and a small coffee-bar on one side it resembles some kind of a holiday atmosphere. There are also several exits labeld with RyanAir’s destinations from Lübeck. The Stansted exit is on the other end af the tent seperated by customs and passport check where suddenly a large queue arose — one hour before the scheduled take off. I’ll never understand people queing up in such situations instead of waiting a couple a minutes for a less crowded moment to pass such a bottle neck. It was easy calculations:About an hour of time until take off, a maximum of 130 passengers to go through customs. We relaxed and had a coffee. After that, passport check was vacant again.
Next up was the ugly part of flying RyanAir: The call to arms! When the attendant showed up at the tent’s Stansted exit everyone ran to that exit to get on the plane fast and to get some good seat. Well, the seats are all the same I think — so…
Flight time was from 09.20 to 09.45. Different timezones make up for very fast flights!
Head on to famous London…
This year’s summer tour was of to Jerez de la Frontera in Andalucia, Spain. Where we were from July, 1st until July 7th.
My friend Claudio had invited us to his lovely home in the city centre of Jerez. So we had a great place to stay and the best local guide you could imagine!
Actual flight plans and prices led us to taking a rather unusual route from Hamburg to Jerez and back using RyanAir:
- Starting on June, 30th from Lübeck (LBC — 60km northeast of Hamburg) to Stansted (STY — 60km north of London)
- Doing some sightseeing in London and having lunch at Jamie Oliver’s famous restaurant Fifteen.
- On July, 1st taking the next plane from Stansted (STY) to Jerez de la Frontera (XRY).
- Going back from Jerez to Lübeck via Stansted.
The whole adventure was cheaper than taking a direct flight from Hamburg to Jerez, but beware that RyanAir has some backdraws you have to arrange with:
- There are no seat reservations. The first 65 people who checked in are the first to run into the plane and grab themselves a nice place, all others follow thereafter taking what’s left. So if you want to sit together with two or more people, better check in early and be fast to rush into the plane — it’s like it was back in school when you tried to get the best places inside that bus that took the whole class to wherever…
- There is no connection guarantee and your luggage isn’t transfered to your connecting flights! That is really nasty! You’ll have to plan at least three hours between two RyanAir flights for possible delays, getting out of the plane, running down endless halls (that’s a Stansted special), taking back your luggage, getting out into the hall, checking-in again (usually with large ques in front of the desks) and getting yourself searched for weapons and stuff again. And don’t forget your long way back from the shopping-area to the gates (in Stansted that’s an estimated 12 minutes!).
On the other hand I must say, it all worked perfectly well. A direct flight (HAM-XRY) was about €650 per person, that RyanAir juggle including a double-room at Stansted cost about €400 for both of us — with a bit more of a hassle.
To be continued…