Back in the day, I thought backpacking through Europe meant trains. That’s what happened on Gilmore Girls, anyway. But we’re in a new century now, and trains are so passe. If you want to get from place to place in Europe cheaply, you don’t train. You fly.

Carriers like RyanAir and EasyJet get you from place to place at ridiculously low costs. I’m flying from England to Ireland for $25 USD. You may, like any reasonable person, be thinking, “How do they stay afloat?” Answer: by charging you for everything.

You can only bring one small carry-on on these flights. When I flew from Dallas to Amsterdam, I was allowed one carry-on item (a suitcase), one personal item (my backpack, which was massive), a blanket, a pillow, and leftover potato skins from TGI Friday’s. RyanAir requires you to fit all of that in one carry on. No purchases. No purses. No problems.

This was my RyanAir backpack. It’s a Trans by Jansport. It’s real small.

Should you need to check a bag, 25 euro. Should you forget to print out your boarding pass at home, 25 euro. Should your bag be too big and you get busted at the gate, 50 euro. Don’t feel like messing with fiesta seating? 10 euro. Misspell your name on your ticket? 110 euro.

That last one terrifies me. One time, I misbubbled my name on the PSAT. For years, I got mail from colleges addressed to “Miss Kbtherine A. McPherson.”

I really wonder how I got into OU sometimes.

Anyway, RyanAir is super duper stressful, particularly if you—like me—find flying to be panic-attack-inducing normally.

So, we’re flying from Krakow to Budapest, right? The train was ridiculously long and expensive, forget buses, I laugh at the idea of renting cars. We board the plane, and we are marched down the jetway to a shuttle. “Alright,” I think. “This is normal.” Washington-Dulles uses shuttles, after all. And then we get off the shuttle and stand on the runway, where we are the last people on the plane and therefore get sketchy, sketchy seats.

As we’re on the plane, flight attendants march up and down selling just about everything you can think of. Perfumes, lottery tickets, drinks, snacks, dinner. Anything and everything to make a profit. This flight lasted 45 minutes.

When we land in Budapest, it is dark. It is somewhat late at night. So what do we do? We walk on the runway. We walk from the plane through miles and miles and miles of barricades. SKETCHY.

When we board in Budapest on our way back home, we stay on the runway for ten minutes. We watch our plane come in for a landing and taxi up to us. People GET OFF OF THE PLANE, and five minutes later, we get on.

This ain’t American Airlines, y’all.

Sasha had to put that jacket I’m holding back on, or they would have charged her 50 euro for excess baggage.

I’m pretty sure that if that plane crash-landed, there’d be a flight attendant standing next to the inflatable raft collecting 20 euro from everyone who wanted to get off.


3 Responses to “Getting Around Europe”

  1. faisal on September 24th, 2012 7:35 pm

    Haha, loved the way you ended this. But I feel this is a very good thing for disciplined people. i would ensure I don’t go wrong with my baggage size or ticket, in order to fly cheap.

    P.S Is toilet usage charged too?

  2. Katherine on September 24th, 2012 8:46 pm

    It isn’t, thank goodness!

  3. Zoo on May 4th, 2013 5:14 pm

    bless you for saying which bag you used in a ryanair flight, I am doing a similar trip and totally freaking out about their allowance, I am going to be dressed like the Michelin man, that’s for sure!

    ps. the whole taking the people down the runway, making them wait, etc, it is usually only when the planes are too tiny and the “worm” runway does not fit… odd!

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