Ryanair to Rome Ciampino (May 2005)

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12th May 2005 – MME – CIA – Ryanair Boeing 737-800 EI-CSE Four days had passed since my flight to Barcelona and now I was ready to celebrate my 30th Birthday in Rome (with Mrs Pembo). After sampling the delights of Easyjet, it was now time to try out Ryanair, and with so little time between the two trips; a great opportunity to compare and contrast was in order. We arrived at Durham Tees Valley Airport (I’ll call it Teesside from hereoin; it’s far simpler and less of a mouthful) two hours before departure and decided to have a bite to eat. The flight was an evening flight and we wouldn’t be arriving in Rome until midnight, so best to eat beforehand we thought. This is when Teesside is annoying. I love my little airport and champion it whenever I can but the service there is poor and there is nothing to see and do! I received a frown and a grumble with my heated up mince and dumplings and reluctantly sat down in the rather run down “café/restaurant”. Teesside are one of the few airports who take your photograph at security ( I have no problem with this added security measure, but I’m sure its there just to make the day go quicker for them…lol), again an added little quirk of this natty little airfield. On the apron was the BMI A320 bound for Heathrow; other than that, nothing was around. The Ryanair flight was the first and only landing I saw whilst waiting for our departure. Boarding was completely free (i.e. no priority boarding of any sort). EI-CSE wasn’t going to be full so I wasn’t duly concerned about not getting my favoured window spot. In fact, by the time everyone had boarded, I’d say the plane was only around 70% full, so the crew kept the front and rear few rows free for presumably balance purposes. Hopefully the load factors will improve, as I’d hate to lose this service (I’m hopeful, though not too optimistic that Ryanair will make Teesside a base rather than put more flights into NCL). That said, I hear loads on this route are generally healthy and comparable to the Milan flights from NCL. EI-CSE was less than tidy inside. This relatively new 738 looked well worn and unkempt. The outside was in dire need of a wash and some of the seats inside were falling apart. The captain announced the flight would take 2 hours, 40 minutes and after the safety brief, we took off from the N runway and headed to Rome. Our routing banked us 180 degrees left after take-off, back out over the Pennines and then like last week, down the west coast, over London and out over the Channel into the Continent. The service on board was unremarkable and there was little in the way of chat between the passengers and crew. The flight itself was smooth, though we did seem to be twisting and turning for about half an hour as we got into the busy lanes of the west coast. Twenty minutes ahead of schedule we arrived almost without a bump at Ciampino. 15th May 2005 – CIA – MME – Ryanair Boeing 737-800 EI-CSE Now, if I whinged about Teesside, I shouldn’t have. Ciampino airport is a hell hole. There were not enough seats for the passengers, the toilets were blocked, dirty and smelly, the lounges were over crowded and the shops were poor (and I’m being polite). Good views can be had of the main runway however but other than Ryanair 738s and the odd Easyjet plane, there isn’t much to see. This airport is one that has clearly grown overnight and the facilities haven’t been updated to compensate for the sudden and dramatic increase in passenger numbers. I was disappointed to see that the same unwashed EI-CSE that brought us here was also taking us home. Again the flight was on time, so I could have no complaints on that score. An almost laughable rush took place when we got off the bus and onto the plane; I’m sure some people thought they were going to end up stood up. This time though the plane was full so there were hardly any empty seats on show. We took off on time and levelled out immediately as we flew low over Rome’s primary airport. At that point I noticed an Iberia A320 hurtling towards us (I could almost see the Captain) before it suddenly and thankfully veered off into another direction. Once we had crossed the main airport, we climbed to our cruise altitude of 40,000 feet; something which I thought was unusual as I can’t remember ever flying above 38 or 39,000 before. The first officer had a little joke with us on the way back, pointing out all of Ryanair’s airports as we flew over them. He kept mentioning the weather at Durham Tees Valley International Airport (he laughed) and said the conditions in “paradise” were pleasant. Now I’m allowed to take the mick out of here (I live here) but I don’t like others doing it! (only joking). The flight was noticeably more bumpy on the return. We had to buckle up for a good hour as we bounced around in pretty gentle turbulence. Other than that, the flight was uneventful and I thoroughly enjoyed (as I always do) landing at my home airport, pointing out everyone’s house, the local Asda, the football ground etc. on finals to my rather bored wife. We landed back at Teesside about 15 minutes ahead of schedule where the weather in paradise, was in fact pleasant after all. So in comparison, the EZY aircraft seemed better kept than those of Ryanair. The service was also better from the boys and girls in orange, but both airlines offered a great product and very competitive prices and I’d happily fly with either airline again. Next up….Cancun in 10 days with Thomsonfly!!
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Profile picture for user Future Pilot

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16 years 2 months

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Another great read Pembo! :D
Profile picture for user LBARULES

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16 years 5 months

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Excellent report Pembo, glad you liked Ryanair, now to your other report I go! :)
Profile picture for user BHXlocal

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14 years 6 months

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Great report Pembo, i flew with Ryanair to Dublin and found there aircraft to be quite dirty... But the only way airline's make money is in the air!

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14 years 11 months

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Great report

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15 years 4 months

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Great report; my experience of Ryanair is similar. One of the 737-800s I flew on was also very tatty considering the age of the a/c. I am not a Ryanair fan; I only fly with them when there is no alternative carrier or the price justifies it. IMO they have gone too far with the cost-cutting; main issue is the non-reserved seating which just creates chaos everytime I fly with them.

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14 years 8 months

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Great report Pembo, shame you got EI-CSE on both of your flights, they don't repeat visit a lot at all, almost always a different one appears every night....though EI-DCL (Dreamliner) visited about 3 times in 4 nights in the first week! I heard that the loads on MME-CIA are way higher than NCL-BGY, with NCL's loads rarely getting above 100! Should be good news for us! Scott

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19 years 9 months

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Let's hope you're right Scott and that the good loads are a pre-curser to a new base over here! DC10 - I agree. Interesting point on price; my two low cost flights on consecutive weekends; one was £133 return including taxes, one was £60 return including taxes. Both good fares but Ryanair were by far the cheapest. And at the end of the day, a lot of decisions boil down to money.
Profile picture for user SHAMROCK321

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15 years 8 months

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Great report but EI-CSE is the 5th oldest 800 in the Ryanair fleet and when you consider all the rotations it does every day and the 25 minutes turnarounds I imagine it could have been alot worse.