Ryanair – A no-frills budget airline. Is it worth the plunge?

Ryanair – A no-frills budget airline. Is it worth the plunge?

I’m sure that I told you that I went to Belgium.

But did I tell you that I flew there.

Via a budget airline.

And not just any airline mind you.

But Ryanair!

Gulp!

Feeling very sorry for myself flying with Norwegian.

A few years ago, I had a horrible experience flying with Norwegian and Vueling.

For the very first time too!

I don’t know how I get myself into these weird situations.

And they always seem to follow me around.

I usually take them in my stride and laugh them off, but this time I wasn’t really laughing.

In fact, I made a vow never to fly a budget airline ever again.

Myself looking glum at the airport. Leaving Vienna!
Photograph ©Frank Böster

Except for easyJet!

And by all accounts, I kept my word.

Until now!

Myself with ski leaders in Rokytnice nad Jizerou – Czech Republic

Every January, The Tall Young Gentleman and I, spend some quality time together either visiting some dubious destination, or skiing!

This time around, I decided to take him to Belgium, and I’ll tell you all about it next week!

Right now, I want to tell you about Ryanair.

RYANAIR!

Ryanair – A no-frills budget airline. Is it worth the plunge?

Aha!

You only have to google it, and you’ll come up with thousands and thousands of reports.

Some of them very good.

Most of them awful!

So…!

So what?

I hear you thunder.

I was having a fine time flying all over Europe, thank you very much!

It hasn’t been the same for me.

Whaaaat?!!%$!%$!!

I’m not an expert or anything!

?!!%$!%$!!

But I’ve flown with Ryanair a few times.

Admittedly, it was when I was much younger, and waaaaay before I ever became the British girl-about-town, and successful blogger that I am today!

And I’ve never had a problem with the airline.

Yet.

The Bullring and Grand Central Birmingham, in the UK!

The first time I flew with Ryanair was a €4.99 return flight Berlin – Birmingham – Berlin.

And that was it.

‘Mind you, the tax was about 20 quid!

So a grand total of €24.99!

I was perfectly fine with that!

Victoria in Bruges – Belgium
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Bruges – Jan 2018

I admit.

I was a little nervous.

But on my last flight on Ryanair in January 2018, The Tall Young Gentleman and I went to Bruges!

We flew Berlin-Brussels-Berlin and paid altogether, just €102,37.

And that included one suitcase (both ways) and paid-for alllocated seating, so that we were sure to be sitting together!

Not only that, but there was even an early booking discount too!

€50.00 each for a return flight to Brussels, surely wasn’t too bad!

We flew Berlin-Brussels-Berlin and paid altogether, just €102,37!
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Bruges – Jan 2018

For our forth-coming family trip, we paid €456.94 for three (3) people.

The flights themselves cost us a mere €32.63 each from Berlin.

And €69.36 each from Bucharest.

Altogether costing €305.94, or a little over €102 per person, which I thought was pretty fair.

The killer was the luggage fee.

A very harsh €130.00 for 2 bags. That’s €65.00 per person, or €30/€35 each way!

If you’re flying Ryanair, THIS is not a good idea!

We could have actually paid less, but we were still undecided as to how many suitcases we wanted to take, so I didn’t add them to our initial booking.

On reflection, that was a mistake.

If  I remember correctly, the luggage charge would have been €18.00 each way. Per person. By the time, we actually decided, and I logged on the next day, it had increased to €30.00 – €35.00 per person!

So we booked two suitcases instead.

And well, it wasn’t too bad as we only ended up paying €22.00 more.

We also opted to pay €21.00 (€3.50 per person each way) – for reserved seating, as my husband didn’t fancy sitting next to a drunk neighbour!

One hears stories!

WHAT IS A BUDGET AIRLINE?

Poor ol’ Air Berlin! It aspired to the heights of a market-acclaimed scheduled airline. And failed!

A budget airline, otherwise known as a low-cost carrier, low-cost airline, or discount carrier, is an airline without most of the traditional services provided in the fare, resulting in very low fares and less comfort!

The airline would thus operate with fewer “luxuries” such as checking-in your own luggage at “BagDrop,” printing out your Boarding Card from home, weighing and putting the airport labels on your luggage, removing the seat-back video screen, not offering complimentary food, drink or in-flight entertainment, or if they do, then a snack rather than a meal, or drinks served in cups, rather than the (mini) bottle.

Think poor ol’ Air Berlin.

Air Berlin was really a budget airline that tried to aspire to the heights of a market-acclaimed scheduled airline.

And failed!

In the olden days, they were called “economy” airlines, but not any more!

WHAT IS A NO-FRILLS BUDGET AIRLINE?

Funny bird or Angry bird at Nok Air!
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Thailand – 2014

A no-frills budget airline is an airline in which non-essential features have been utterly removed to keep the price low.

To make up for the revenue lost in decreased ticket prices, the airline operates a lower cost structure arising from removing services such as complimentary food, in-flight entertainment, business-class seating, reclining seats, window blinds, and in-flight magazines.

They can also reduce operation cost by “sharing” on the ground airline staff, reducing the size of seats, using less popular airports, flying in the wee or early hours of the night or day, only operating during mid or high season, using a single type of aircraft, a faster turnaround, selling scratch cards and advertising, and charging for “extras” such as food, basic beverages, priority boarding, seat allocation, upgrades, luggage, and using the airport check-in desk!

In short, they’re not going to make you bring your own seat, but it’s pretty close!

WHAT IS RYANAIR?

At the airport in Brussels via Ryanair! ©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Brussels – 2018

Ryanair is an Irish no-frills budget airline founded in 1984, with it’s HQ Head in Dublin.

Ryanair operates more than 400 Boeing 737-800 aircrafts, serves 34 countries in Europe, Africa (Morocco), and the Middle East (Israel and Jordan) and is often in the press because of it’s rapid expansion, it’s controversial features, and the success of its low-cost business model.

HOW TO MAKE FLYING WITH RYANAIR MORE PLEASANT!

The Tall Young Gentleman looking unhappy, waiting for the last Ryanair flight – Berlin Schönefeld Airport!
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner
  1.  CHECK-IN ONLINE:
  • It’s easy to do. You can either go to the Ryanair website or check-in by downloading and using the Ryanair App via your smartphone, ipad, or laptop. Just follow the step-by-step guide, with your reservation number and email address used to make the booking, at hand. If you’re non-EU, other rules might apply. Liz Carlson – Young Adventuress – was shocked to discover that as an American, she couldn’t check-in online and ended up having to pay an extra €200 for one flight, and not being allowed to go on the plane altogether! If you’re non-EU, please confirm with the airline!
  • DON’T FORGET! If you’re an EU Citizen, you MUST check-in BEFORE you get to the airport counter. If you don’t, you could be liable to pay a minimum airport check-in fee of €55/£55 per person!

2.  PRINT OUT BOARDING PASS:

  • THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT: If you don’t, or can’t access your boarding pass,  you might be forced to buy another ticket! My friend KemKem & her husband – Next Bite of Life – had a horrendous time when she couldn’t log on at the airport, and show her mobile boarding pass
  • You have been warned!

3.  READ ALL THE INSTRUCTIONS:

Read ALL the instructions!

But did you read it?

Did you ‘eck?

4.  LEAVE PLENTY OF TIME:

  • All UK / Irish airlines, are strict about closing the check-in counter 40 minutes before the flight, so if you haven’t checked in, aren’t at the airport, sent in your luggage, etc, you won’t be taking that flight
  • That counts for easyJet, British Airways, Virgin Airlines, or any other UK / Ireland -based airline

5.  BE AWARE OF AIRPORT LOCATIONS:

It’s a constant annoyance. This beautiful building isn’t in Berlin. It’s in Potsdam. In Brandenburg!
  • Budget airlines are cheap for a reason. Most airports used are in the middle of no-where, or certainly, out-of-town. For example, Berlin Schönefeld Airport isn’t even in Berlin. It’s in Brandenburg! Stansted Airport is 40 minutes away from London, and costs between £5 – £20 extra to get there. Frankfurt Hahn is no where near Frankfurt am Main, or even Frankfurt Oder!
  • Don’t be caught out. Check which airport you’ll actually be flying to!

6.  CHECK BOOKING DETAILS:

  • A flight change starts from €35/£35 per person each way, but a spelling mistake will cost you dearly, as it would be considered a name change
  • And the cost? A whopping €115/£115 – €160/£160 per passenger!

7.  HAND-LUGGAGE:

Hand Luggage only is preferred!

As of 15.01.18, you can only bring one (1) small bag on board, unless you purchase Priority & 2 Cabin Bags!

If you paid for Priority & 2 cabin bags or a Plus/Flexi ticket you can take:

  • One (1) small bag e.g. handbag, laptop bag etc. not exceeding 35cm x 20cm x 20cm
  • One (1) cabin bag, not exceeding 55cm x 40cm x 20cm in size and 10kg in weight
This small handbag can stay with you on the plane.
Ryanair – A no-frills budget airline. Is it worth the plunge?
If you have a bag like this, you won’t be allowed to take it on board, but will be put in the aircraft hold!
Ryanair – A no-frills budget airline. Is it worth the plunge?

If you have NOT paid for Priority & 2 cabin bags or a Plus/Flexi ticket, you can only carry the following on-board:

  • One (1) small bag on board (35cm x 20cm x 20cm)
  • If you have a second cabin bag (55cm x 40cm x 20cm) with you, you won’t be allowed to take it on board, but will be put in the aircraft hold free of charge. Make sure your valuables are in the first bag, and you are able to lock up the second one!
Ryanair is strict. Oversized cabin baggage will be refused at the gate, so if you’re not sure, cough up, and check it in!
  • NOTE: Oversized cabin baggage will be refused at the boarding gate. And if you’re lucky / unlucky, they might put it in the aircraft hold for a small matter of €50/£50!
  • If you’re not sure if your bag is “small enough,” cough up, and check it in!
  • You can take duty-free bags into the cabin, along with your hand luggage

8.  BOOK LUGGAGE AT INITIAL STAGE:

As I told you above. I did really well in January, and then messed up, when I made a booking two months later!

  • The main thing to remember is that you can actually purchase up to 3 checked bags of 20 kilos each, either at the initial booking or right up to two hours (2) hours before the scheduled flight departure time
  • A higher baggage fee of €40/£40 per person, per one way flight applies, when checked bags are purchased after initial booking via My Booking, a Ryanair call centre, or at the airport ticket desk, which is why everybody moans!
  • During peak travel periods, such as Christmas, Easter, the Summer Holidays, and on popular selected routes, the fee for a checked bag will be €35/£35 per person, per one way flight, as I found out to my chagrin…!
  • You can of course, pool or share bought checked baggage allowances with the rest of the people in your party, if they’re included on the same flight reservation, and you’re all checked in together!

9.  BE CAREFUL NOT TO GO OVERWEIGHT WITH LUGGAGE:

You’ll be fine with this bag. Probably!
  • You won’t like it, and could be charged an excess baggage fee at €11/£11 per kilo!

Gulp!

10.  RESERVE SEATING:

  • If you’re flying solo, then ignore this
  • If you’re flying with your family or your mates, and you want to sit together, then buy reserved seating. Our teen is almost sixteen (16), and isn’t really bothered about where he sits. But I am!
  • Think of it this way. If you were on a inter-city train, would you reserve your seat, or leave it to chance? I usually pay €9.00 for a reserved seat on Deutsche Bahn, so €3.00 – €4.00 is perfectly fine!
  • Having said that, the cheaper the airline, the crazier people seem to get. And who wants a psycho sitting next to their child?

11.  FLY WITH KIDS:

Give your kids the gift of travel, and take them with you!
  • If you’re flying with children between the ages of 2-12 years old, you can get reser´ved seating free of charge, for up to four (4) children, with every adult booked with a reserved seat!
  • This way, parents won’t need to worry, and the whole family can sit together for under €10.00/£10!

Nifty eh!

12.  BRING YOUR OWN REFRESHMENTS:

  • Every budget airline, makes their income / commission by selling items on board. Ryanair is no different. However, snacks aren’t going to be cheap
  • A couple  of years ago, there was a riot when it was said that Ryanair might actually charge for water or for using the bathroom! Personally, I thought it was a publicity stunt. And I was right!
  • But just to be on the safe side. Bring your own

Snack that is

Not toilet!

13.  ERASMUS:

If you’re an Erasmus student, you can travel even cheaper!

I bet, most of you didn’t know that!

14.  GET THE APP:

  • It’s free, and it doesn’t cost a single thing!

15.  BOOK A TAXI AT THE AIRPORT / RESERVE AIRPORT BUS / TRAIN:

Is Lisbon the next top European place to be?

16.  DON’T GET DRUNK!

17.  FLY ANYWAY!

  • If Richard Quest a reknown British Business Traveller from CNN, can do it. So can you!

By the way, if you’re looking to book a hotel for your next Ryanair destination. See what I did there! I have a 15% discount off your next booking with Booking.com. Just click right here to redeem it!

Note: You must book between March 5th –  April 8th, and the travel dates must be between March 23rd – April 8th.

‘Need I say more.

SO IS RYANAIR WORTH THE PLUNGE?

Wait! Is that my plane?
Ryanair – A no-frills budget airline. Is it worth the plunge?

Well, it depends.

  • If you’ve got a corporate meeting to go to. I wouldn’t
  • If you’ve got a business anything at all. I wouldn’t
  • If you’re transferring onto another flight. I wouldn’t
  • If you’re on a tight schedule. I wouldn’t
  • If you’re on the holiday of a life-time. I certainly wouldn’t!
  • Image is what working in a corporate firm is all about. If your organisation, can’t afford to send you on a reliable schedule-flight costing between €150 – €200, change your job!
  • If, on the other hand, it’s a private thing, you’re flexible, and you’re looking to save some pennies, or in my case, it’s the quickest way to get from A to B, then go for it
  • If you keep in mind that a no-frills airline means exactly what it says on the box, then absolutely
  • If you can lower your expectations, assume nothing, and prepare for the unexpected, you’ll come out on top
  • If you cut down on luggage, or drastically take none at all, you won’t have any nasty surprises
  • If you can give yourself plenty of time, wear all your coats and jumpers, keep calm and meditate, you’ll do fine
  • If you follow the airline rules, understand that you get what you pay for, and you’re ready to pay for all the benefits that you want – ‘cos a 20-ish Victoria who was happy to pay $3 for a hostel in Prague, is utterly different from the Victoria of today who might even go as far as paying €225 per night for a luxury premium villa, overlooking the valley at an exclusive Resort in Udaipur – India! You’d pay for the extras if they’re important to you.

If all you want is to get from A to B, quickly and safely within (mostly) Europe, then Ryanair is as good as any other airline in the sky, and you’ll probably have a pretty good time!

RYANAIR – A NO-FRILLS BUDGET AIRLINE. IS IT WORTH THE PLUNGE?

Ryanair – A no-frills budget airline. Is it worth the plunge?

This article isn’t sponsored by Ryanair, or any other airline! And the merry time that I’m bound to have on my next Ryanair flight, is my very own!

I went to Belgium. Yay! Find out more, next week!

I’ll be continuing my last visit to the UK and telling you all about it, later in the season!

I’ll be at the Deutschland Premiere of the hilariously funny, very minimal dialogue, dry, slightly dark, refined humour, and the comedy of the banal – Mad Office, otherwise known as Büro Absurd! The successful duo – Trygve Wakenshaw & Barnie Duncan – will be doing their act, for the very first time in Germany!

I’ll be there on 29.03.18 taking place at BAR JEDER VERNUNFT, and the show will go on until 11.04.18.

And by the way, they were the biggest hit of the season at Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2017! No German, or any other language will be necessary. I’m guessing that tickets will sell out fast!

In March / April, I’ll be on the road again to my 65th country and a new destination.

Can you guess which one it’ll be?

Save the Date!

I’ll be there. Will you?

If you’re not in Berlin in March, I really can’t help you!

March / April is going to be fresh!

See you next week!

Ryanair – A no-frills budget airline. Is it worth the plunge?

Watch this space!

Note! I never travel without insurance as you never know what might happen.

I learnt my lesson in Spain. And obviously, in countries like Qatar, where technically the risk is higher, I can’t imagine going that far beyond WITHOUT INSURANCE. No siree! You can get yours here, at World Nomads!

Please note that there are now affiliate links (for the very first time) connected to this post. Please consider using the links, because every time some sort of accommodation or travel insurance is booked via my links, I get a little percentage, but at no extra cost to yourself!

A win-win for all!

Thanks a million!

Ryanair – A no-frills budget airline. Is it worth the plunge?

What do you think of Ryanair? Have you ever flown it? What has been your experience on a no-frills budget airline? Let me know in your comments below!

See you in Berlin.

If you have any questions send me a tweet, talk to me on Facebook, find me on Linkedin, make a comment below, look for me on Google+ or send me an Email: victoria@thebritishberliner.com

If you like this post, please Share it! Tweet it! Or like it!

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How I went to TBEX EUROPE, got abandoned at Barcelona Airport & what I learnt!

My TBEX Badge 2015.

So last week, I told you that I was going to write about Estonia but you know what? I changed my mind!

I changed my mind because I went to TBEX in Spain and got myself into a lot of hot water! Remember how I thought it would be a good idea to climb up a live volcano in Bali. Well it wasn’t! How about the time when I fell off a ski lift in the Czech Republic? I mean, I was lucky that I hadn’t broken both my legs. What about the time that I flew to Korea but I should have been going to Qatar?!

Yep! I don’t know how I get myself into these weird situations and they always seem to follow me around. I usually take them in my stride and laugh them off, but this time I wasn’t really laughing.

How dramatic!

So what happened…?

TBEX-EU-Light-drop-shadow

Firstly, let me tell you what TBEX is all about.

TBEX is the holy grail of the travel blogging world and stands for Travel Blog Exchange. The organisation used to be located in North America and Europe but for the first time in 2015, is now based not only in “the West” but in Asia too, and on a cruise-ship in the middle of the sea!

How exciting!

I’ve heard a lot of good and sometimes controversial things about TBEX but I decided to attend the conference for myself and make up my own mind.

TBEX-infography-page-0

 

I decided to stay closer to home and attend TBEX EUROPE. In previous years, the bloggers conference had been in Dublin (whisky & beer. Yay!) and Athens (ouzo & wine. Double Yay!). This time, TBEX EUROPE was in Costa Brava, Catalunya. In Spain. (tapas & tequila. Olé!) In Lloret de Mar to be specific. Near the beach. Oooooo!

According to the TBEX website, it’s the world’s largest gathering of travel bloggers, writers, new media content creators, digital publishing and social-media-savvy travel industry professionals. It’s also a medium for the creative minds of the travel industry to come together, to network, to learn, to negotiate with the travel industry and for those who are so inclined, to take the business of blogging to the next level.

Am I one of the social-media -savvy people?

Eeeek!

So what’s the next level?

It’s entirely up to you.

Phew!

At the TBEX EUROPE 2015 Friday night "Sangria on the Roof" party, sponsored by Eurail. With myself, Carly Hulls and marta@a-girlwhotravels.com in Lloret de Mar.
At the TBEX EUROPE 2015 Friday night “Sangria on the Roof” party, sponsored by Eurail. With myself, Carly Hulls and marta@a-girlwhotravels.com in Lloret de Mar.

Every year, TBEX partners with fantastic destinations so that bloggers and media people get the opportunity to meet potential business partners or sponsors, meet influential bloggers, get new strategies and tips, network with each other, discover new destinations, share a new experience and well, be entertained and paaaaaaaarty like it’s 1999!

Oh alright then. Paaaaaarty like it’s 2009!

There. Happy now!

Me on the beach at Lloret de Mar, Spain.
Me on the beach at Lloret de Mar, Spain.

TBEX EUROPE promised us an exciting night life, delicious food, outdoor locations and enlightening cultural excursions. Did they deliver on their promise?

They sure did!

And I only got a tiny bite of the apple.

Awwww!

I know right?!

But it wasn’t the fault of TBEX oh dear me no. It was the fault of…

Drum roll please….

In fact, a crash of cymbals please…

It was in truth….

The airlines.

Not an airline. AIRLINES!

Sigh!

My journey to Spain didn’t start well….!

Spain - Here we come!
Spain – Here we come!

I was really excited to be going to TBEX EUROPE and I was one of the early birds and paid just $127.00 as far back as November 2014, so I was well and truely locked LOL!

Of course, once I booked my conference ticket I reckoned that if we’re going to have a gaggle of bloggers descending on Lloret de Mar, then I ought to reserve a hotel room.

I did.

It wasn’t such a good idea.

I’ll tell you why later!

East End Gallery: A Part of the Berlin Wall.
East End Gallery: A Part of the Berlin Wall.

Since I live in Germany and Spain isn’t Poland or Lithuania, then the next thing is to book a flight. I couldn’t seem to get a flight with the times that I wanted, so I booked two separate flights with two different companies. Their names were Vueling and Norwegian.

Now since this was my first TBEX conference. I didn’t really know anyone who lived in Berlin and was going to TBEX too, so I didn’t have anyone to talk to about the logistics. If I had, I would have learnt to leave more than a weekend!

Yep! I didn’t know that TBEX EUROPE doesn’t only mean the conference weekend but actually a week of serious jollification and pre-tours before the conference and a week of a bit of a jolly after the conference! In fact, even though the conference officially took place from April 30th – May 2nd, some people are still in Spain NOW – Living the life of Riley! I don’t envy them in the least, I only wish it had been me LOL!

A map of the Baltic Sea.
A map of the Baltic Sea.

Anyway, since I had just returned from a two-week trip around the Baltics States, it wasn’t really appropriate or fair, to take off to a sunny destination so soon. So a long weekend it had to be.

As I said previously, the TBEX EUROPE bloggers conference took place from 30.04.15 – 02.05.15. Basically, three (3) days and nicely done over a public holiday and the weekend. Planned nicely, it would have been just the thing to have quite an interesting, but fruitful weekend in Spain. I couldn’t think of anything better.

Until I got to the airport!

I had dashed across town from my office to the airport. Berlin Tegel Airport is a great airport to use as it’s near the centre of the city, and is extremely small. Lovely!

Vueling, Barcelona - Spain.

I had never flown with Vueling before but I was excited to use the airline as it was a Spanish low-cost airline that I had seen posters about a year previously, but had never used. TBEX seemed to be the perfect opportunity.

And then the board flashed up that there would be a flight delay which you know, is a thing that can happen to any airline. However, as time flew by, I became visibly unrelaxed as the schedule for the out-going flight pushed back further and further away… My flight was originally due to leave Berlin at 20:45 and arrive Barcelona at 23:15.

My flight didn’t leave Berlin until 22:15 and arrived Barcelona at 00:30! A right old problem as I had pre-booked and pre-paid a shared taxi shuttle service from a company called HolidayTaxis.com to pick me up at about 23:15. Thank goodness for the Facebook TBEX networking page where I found out all about this company in the first instance, as after 22:30, no trains or buses are usually available and transport is either by taxi or hired car!

I'm a British girl in Beeeerlin!
I’m a British girl in Beeeerlin!

As you know that I don’t drive, it was imperative that the taxi shuttle took me to my hotel. Speaking of a hotel, I had originally made a reservation from a local establishment in Lloret de Mar right back in December, this hotel was called Hotel Excelsior Lloret. Now it’s probably a perfectly fine hotel but I’ll never know, as from the time I made my hotel reservation, they ignored all my Emails and messages on FB! Short of calling them, I Emailed them every month and then every week and by the time April crept up, I was understandably very nervous, cancelled the reservation, and booked ANOTHER hotel recommended and researched by TBEX EUROPE itself.

Thaaaaaaank Goodness because OMG! With the airport drama that was going on, I still hadn’t checked into my newly booked hotel, so I called them from the airport at 01:00.

They were absolutely great.

Even at that time of the morning they were only concerned about my welfare. The very friendly hotel was the 4-star – Hotel Gran Garbi in Lloret de Mar – that because it was still low season in Spain, had a wonderful weekend-special-and-on-line price of €33.50 that included a buffet breakfast, with a couple of swimming pools, close to the beach and in a (simple) en-suite double room for a single person booking!

Per Night!

Hotel Gran Garbí in Lloret de Mar - Spain.
Hotel Gran Garbí in Lloret de Mar – Spain.

You couldn’t get any better but how to get there?

By the time I picked up my luggage it was 01:00 and although I walked through the airport, there was no taxi shuttle service or man-with-a-piece-of paper-in-his-hand-with-my-name-on-it, to be seen.

I was stuck. In the middle of the night. At Barcelona Airport.

Alone!

HolidayTaxis.com
HolidayTaxis.com

I called HolidayTaxis.com and told them what had happened. I was so close to tears, tired, hungry, and fed-up. A customer-service lady – Barbara – promised to call me back in five (5) minutes to see if she could help me.

She did call me back and she did help me.

She was fantastic.

The earliest taxi shuttle that she could get for me was arriving at 04:00 in the morning. I was just so eager and desperate to get out of that airport, that I agreed on the spot.

Spanish beer & my little red handbag at a street food market in Lloret de Mar - Spain.
Spanish beer & my little red handbag at a street food market in Lloret de Mar – Spain.

The airport was pretty empty and only had a few stragglers and the bar staff of the 24-hour Caffé di Fiore, who were quite merry and sympathetic to my plight, probably gave me a larger ice-cold beer than I deserved at a cost of just €2.15. They also let me claim a corner so that I could huddle undisturbed as I was too afraid to actually go to sleep in case, I wouldn’t hear my mobile phone ringing, as Barbara from HolidayTaxis.com promised to give me a ring so that I could make my way to the airport car park.

I stayed at Barcelona Airport through the night!

At 04:20, the driver came, took my suitcase and kindly told me to make myself at home as he had arrived with a coach-bus.

It was just me in the 60-seater, so I did just that.

Lloret de Mar, Spain.

Lloret de Mar is usually a 2 hour journey from Barcelona Airport but thankfully, due to very little traffic, we arrived at about 05:20. And the male receptionist at the Hotel Gran Garbi was so nice that he opened the kitchen just for me, and asked me to help myself to breakfast!

I almost burst into tears again at his kindness and helped myself to cold cuts, cheese, croissants and a cupcake, with a much yearned for cup of hot chocolate as I just couldn’t wait for the cup of tea!

An early morning breakfast at Lloret de Mar - Spain.
An early morning breakfast at Lloret de Mar – Spain.

So did I go to the TBEX EUROPE Opening Party on the beach?

Nope!

Did I go to the Welcome and Opening Keynote Ceremony?

Nope!

Did I go to the first breakout Learning Session?

Hardly, I only got there in the last 10 minutes.

So what did I do?

I went to sleep and tried to combat a headache of not sleeping through the night!

Paella for lunch at TBEX in Lloret de Mar - Spain. Yum!
Paella for lunch at TBEX in Lloret de Mar – Spain.
Yum!

THE RETURN JOURNEY BACK TO BERLIN ON 04.05.15.

Me relaxing at the Berlin Music Video Awards, 2014.
Me relaxing at the Berlin Music Video Awards, 2014.

 

After my interesting journey into Barcelona, you would think that my return flight to Berlin would be uneventful.

I wish!

It was actually worse!

Feeling very sorry for myself flying with Norwegian.
Feeling very sorry for myself flying with Norwegian.

I was to fly with Norwegian and I wanted to give them a try as a German blogger called – Globetrotter Girls – raved about how much she loved flying with Norwegian although it too was a budget airline.

I’m sorry to say that choosing to fly Norwegian was a not a good sense of judgement on my part.

My flight was to depart Barcelona at 08:55 and land in Berlin at 11:45 so the taxi shuttle service picked me up from my hotel at 03:20, as it was a Monday morning and traffic in Barcelona can be extremely heavy. I arrived at Barcelona Airport at about 05:20 and then got a message on my mobile phone at 06:04.

The SMS came from the Norwegian airline and read that the flight was delayed until 13:15!

That’s annoying of course, but not too bad when I tell you that the departure time was shifted to 16:30 and in fact, we didn’t even leave Barcelona Airport until 19:00!

19;00.

Ten (10) hours behind schedule! Ten (10) hours!

Zoooooop! Don't say it! Image@ eatdrinkandrun.com
Zoooooop! Don’t say it!
Image@ eatdrinkandrun.com

I had missed the classes that I was supposed to teach later that evening. I had missed my very nice dinner waiting for me at home and I had missed the time that I should have been wrapping up my Master’s Dissertation paper!

I was not annoyed. I was pissed off.

To the airline’s credit, they very quickly gave out food vouchers and I received one in the morning to the value of €15.00 and one in the afternoon to the value of €12.00.

i_m_in_shock_look_i_have_a_blanket_by_teamfreewillangel-d62zdp0

I was so sleepy that I thought about paying up for the privilege of using the business class lounge but they had no WiFi service! In the end, I made myself a little nest at Burger King and bought a one day WiFi pass for €10.00 which after a few hours refused to work (they refunded the money), and so I went to a classier restaurant, bought some tapas and a small bottle of Spanish plonk resigned to never leaving the airport at all.

My flight arrived in Berlin safely but horribly late at 21:05 and we were finally able to retrieve our luggage at 21:25 making my flight ordeal to be that of fifteen (15) hours!

Fifteen hours!

I have sent in delayed flight claims and wait eagerly for their response. And you’ll be the first to know!

After a delay of over 10 hours, we landed at Tegel Airport in Berlin. At last!
After a delay of over 10 hours, we landed at Tegel Airport in Berlin. At last!

And now:

WHAT DID I LEARN AT TBEX ?

Happiness is street food in Lloret de Mar - Spain.
Happiness is street food in Lloret de Mar – Spain.
  • Leave plenty of time for trips, tours and meet-ups both before and after the conference.
  • Networking is key to putting a face to a name in the blogging community.
  • Think about your future and where you would like your blogging career to lead to.
If you want jelly & ice-cream - you can jolly well have it! TBEX lunch in Lloret de Mar - Spain.
If you want jelly & ice-cream – you can jolly well have it!
TBEX lunch in Lloret de Mar – Spain.
  • Don’t be afraid to monetize if that is what you want to do, just be realistic as nobody ever “made it” by blogging alone. There’s a huge amount of hard work behind the facade of “success.”
  • Think about what your niche market is and if you’re a local destination expert – own it!
  • Think carefully. If you do decide to take your business off the blog into the “real world” there would be many things to consider. Not least adhering to the laws of the land where you reside or settle, and such mundane things as licences, insurance, taxes, banking, a virtual assistant, marketing and sales, PR, etc.
  • Don’t spend more than you can afford to lose.
A rich salad as part of a TBEX lunch in Lloret de Mar - Spain.
A rich salad as part of a TBEX lunch in Lloret de Mar – Spain.
  • Improve your photography.
  • Give back to the community.
  • Look at present day trends to predict the next big thing.
  • Cruises are the future.
  • Airlines are the strongest competitors of social media experts.
  • Listen to your readers.
Waving the flag of Britishness!
Waving the flag of Britishness!
  • Look at what excites YOU.
  • Educate yourself.
  • Get started.
  • Build your audience.
  • Do things your way.

Lloret de Mar - Spain.

WHAT DID I LEARN IN SPAIN?

  • Spanish tapas is cheap and will fill your tummy no matter what time of day.
  • Not every hotel is equal.
  • Just because the sun is shining doesn’t mean it’s warm.
  • Take more than one (1) pair of fancy shoes.
Jack Woodhead with a lovely pair of silver, sparkly shoes which I want! Photo@Jack woodhead.
Jack Woodhead with a lovely pair of silver, sparkly shoes which I want!
Photo@Jack woodhead.
  • You don’t need to speak Spanish to hang out with Spanish locals. A simple smile will get the ball rolling.
  • The beach at Lloret de Mar is stony.
  • You’re in Spain. Drink some sangria, put on some music and dance the night away.

 

WHAT DID I LEARN ABOUT TRAVELLING BY BUDGET AIRLINES?

Oh dear! What to do!
Oh dear! What to do!
  • Don’t do it!

Well, that’s it.

Many Thanks to TBEX, TBEX EUROPE, the Catalunya Experience, Costa Brava, Lloret de Mar and all the wonderful bloggers that I met, for the good times and for their warm hospitality.

See you in Stockholm, 2016.

Myself & Wandering Earl at TBEX in Lloret de Mar - Spain.
Myself & Wandering Earl at TBEX in Lloret de Mar – Spain.

This article is not sponsored, but all opinions and the wonderful paella and sangria that I lusted over, are my very own!

I have so much to share with you.

Stay tuned!

Next week, I’ll be writing about Barcelona and after that, the very interesting Estonia and what we did in Tallinn, Estonia with the help of the Tallinn Card, what the view was like on the ferry crossing from Estonia to Finland with TALLINK SLJA LINE and what we thought about Helsinki in Finland!

The Berlin Music Video Awards will be taking place from May 27.05.15 – 30.05.15. Anybody can apply!

The Berlin Fashion Film Festival will be taking place on 05.06.15.

I’ll be there. Will you?

As usual, you can also follow me via daily tweets and pictures on Twitter & FB!

If you’re not in Berlin right now, then you’re missing out!

May is going to be exciting.

Watch this space!

Myself, Nomadic Matt & Legal Nomads in Lloret de Mar - Spain.
Myself, Nomadic Matt & Legal Nomads in Lloret de Mar – Spain.

Have you ever been to Lloret de Mar? What would you do if you found yourself abandoned at the airport?

See you in Berlin.

If you like this post or if you have any questions send me a tweet, talk to me on Facebook, find me on Linkedin, make a comment below, look for me on Google+ or send me an Email: victoria@thebritishberliner.com

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