Flight Details Airline – Ryanair Class – Economy
Flight Number – FR2604 To/From – Manchester/Valencia
Aircraft Manufacturer – Boeing Flight Time – 3H30Mins
Aircraft Type/Variant – B737-800NG Gate No – 54
Registration – EI – EVI Date – 18th November 2016
I travelled with Ryanair from Manchester to Valencia in quick succession of within 3 months of the first flight. I had never been to Spain before so I was looking forward to the opportunity and also this was my first time flying with Ryanair. The weather looked reasonable in the morning as I set off but that was going to change for the worst as I found out later on with mist and rain forecasted typical UK weather.
I woke up fairly early in the morning before anyone else at home as I was the only one travelling from my household and enjoyed a nice shower and an energetic breakfast ready for the day. Departure was scheduled for roughly 9.30am which was something that I was looking forward to as I had the rest of the day to roam around Valencia.
I had everything checked in within minutes and without any problems, the ground handling is done by Swissport and I have to say that the check in agent could have looked a bit happier as she scanned my passport, weighed and tagged my baggage which took no more than 5 minutes as expected. Manchester Airports T3 is for low cost airlines such as Ryanair, Flybe, Vueling, Stobart Air for short easy European hops for business, leisure and various other reasons. Other airlines such as Air France and British Airways also have slots from this terminal and of course American Airlines who fly to the US which is the only long haul route from Terminal 3.
Security and Airside
I followed the signs to departures after clearing the terminal security which started of well without many people quite surprisingly whom I assumed had already gone through and had boarded or where about to board their flights. The main rush hour is mainly in the morning between 5am to 7am so I was lucky to be travelling a little later on. Terminal 3 is very small and to the point in comparison to Terminal 2 so I got extremely board after a very small amount of walking around exploring and taking pictures. There were still the same retailers as before such as Boots, Smith’s, Costa to name a few but a bigger variety of food and drink such as the Lion and Antelope, KFC, Kiosco and the Pork and the Pickle. I also noted that Biza (Duty Free) and Accessories where very small compared to T2 and in all fairness extremely quite compared to other airports that I have visited.
One thing that I loved was that you could see the entire length of Manchester Airports 1st main Runway and all the arriving traffic which is what I should have done instead of looking around inside shops to help pass the time a little. Finally we got the call from the ground staff to make our way to gate 54 which is where we were boarding from and I found myself in the middle of the queue of a fully boarded flight which is what I was expecting. Within 15 minutes I was strapped in ready to go.
I boarded the plane from the back and made my way to my seat number which was lucky as there was a window for me to try and take as many pictures as possible. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t the best as we boarded the plane but it drastically improved after takeoff it was a good example of a winters morning in the Northern Hemisphere and the UK is always in the middle of storms and bad weather spells but I still managed to get as many pictures as I could. The interior cabin was of good standard and the row of seats that I was on where in good condition which was a good start to the Ryanair experience. I also enjoyed the friendly welcome from the cabin crew and we pushed back roughly on time taxing to the 2nd runway, in the midst of having to wait for other departing aircraft. Finally take off clearance was given and the 2 engines spooled in to life as we accelerated down 23L on our way to Valencia.
Flight time was expected to be 3.5 hours of flying and one of the biggest problems of flying with a low cost carrier is that there is no entertainment on board which can lead to high levels of inactiveness as lots of passengers around me closed their eyes for some rest which got me very drowsy and board. About an hour in, Diego a Spanish national working as cabin crew came around with some lucky scratch cards for those interested which only a couple of passengers decided to purchase one or two and try their luck.
A smooth sailing flight I must say with no major setbacks or in air emergencies such as fights or any unexpected diversions for any unreasonable situations I was happy I chose Ryanair instead of Easyjet or Vueling through Barcelona El Pratt of course as I couldn’t fly there directly as they don’t have a route from Manchester directly yet!
I was allowed to have a small walk around 2 hours in to the flight to stretch my legs and to use the bathroom as there really wasn’t much for me to do and I also took this opportunity to speak to a friendly cabin crew who was speaking to me in general terms which I found very friendly, she was very open and blunt about what her days are like which really made a positive impact about the airline.
The weather as I mentioned sincerely improved as we entered northern France which was a good sign and stayed that way until we arrived in Valencia, Spain where the weather conditions were quite the opposite to Manchester. I was met with good, clear and sunny skies and being on time was an additional bonus. The aircraft made its way to the gate after vacating where we were met with another Ryanair jet, alongside Easyjet and Spanish low cost carrier Vueling. All passengers dis embarked within 10 minutes as Ryanair have a very short turnaround time and I didn’t get a chance to visit the cockpit unfortunately but I am sure maybe next time for sure.
Food and Beverage
I am sure everyone is aware that if Ryanair’s CEO Michael O’Leary was to offer free food and drink than I am sure he would suffer a heart attack and Ryanair would go bankrupt, so no surprises that the cabin crew came out with their push trolleys hoping to increase their sales on this flight as it has been reported that the airline is very strict about cabin crew making a certain amount of sales in terms of food, drinks and other items that they have on board each flight in order to increase their wages.
I was approached but I gracefully declined as I had brought my own snacks from home which probably tasted better and after reading the prices I was very happy I chose this option. There was a variety to choose from which was a good thing to consider however variety isn’t everything to go by as prices in the air with low cost carriers can be very expensive and I realised that first hand on this flight flying with Ryanair and I am sure other low cost carriers follow the same principle.
Overall I have to say in all honesty that my experience was very good despite what I heard and had read online through various aviation trip report websites. I would sincerely encourage to viewers reading my flight report to try and fly low cost once in a while depending on where you live and what options that you may have available to you. I was certainly surprised with my personal experience and I wouldn’t say no to flying with them again on my next crazy adventure where ever that may be,I really enjoyed my experience!
All pictures are owned and copyright by Usmaan Khalid, follow him on Instagram via @captain_usmaan