Flight Review Ryanair Marrakech (RAK) to London-Stansted (STN)
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Yes! I survived my first Ryanair flight in more than a decade. I last flew Ryanair in 2001, when they had just started out and were still a bit of an underground phenomenon.
Why Ryanair? I wanted to go from Marrakech to Prague and I was somewhat restricted to doing this on a Sunday. At the time of booking, I looked at using Avianca LifeMiles or Aegean miles for the flight and tried to find options that had no surcharge or a low fuel surcharge. Marrakech is in the Africa zone and awards to Europe (even if it is right around the corner) make redemptions rather expensive.
Ryanair, however, sold tickets for just about $60 from Marrakech to London-Stansted and from there it was easy to use Wizz Air for just $40 to get into Prague Airport. It is ~1,600 miles from Marrakech to Stansted, so it translates into just about 4 cents per mile. Great deal!
Wizz Air departs from London Luton, so I had to make sure I had enough time for the 2 hour + transfer.
With Ryanair, I had added luggage for the extra fee of $23. Also Ryanair is crazy about printing your boarding pass - if you have not been able to print your boarding pass, then the airline charges EUR 75 - a punitive fee.
Marrakech Airport is a haven for low-cost airlines - not just Ryanair, but easyJet, Transavia and SunExpress all have a tight lock on Marrakech. Very few legacy airlines are trying to compete with them at all.
Check-in was completely empty and I negotiated my way into 17kg of checked-in luggage instead of the purchased 15kg. To my surprise, the agents accepted 17 after some friendly banter. I noticed that Ryanair does not even use regular luggage tags - mine was handwritten!
A number of flights leave in the morning hours from Marrakech Airport and while the staff are trying their best, the security lines are long.
There is a Priority Pass lounge at RAK Marrakech Airport. It's comfy but has no view and the WiFi is basically non-existent. The coffee is surprisingly good, though (from a Nespresso coffee maker) and the pastries served aren't too horrible either.
The inbound aircraft was 30 minutes late, so we boarded late - a huge line snaking through the terminal and the airfield. It took a long time to get everyone on-board. I always thought a boarding system without assigned seat numbers should help speed up the boarding process, but I didn't really get that impression.
The seat pitch was bad but not terrible for my pre-assigned seat (I had bought a seat for $5 in advance, which was a good idea). There are no seat pockets with airline magazines and the seat would not recline. I'm actually a big fan of no-recline in economy, since the recline does not help me sleep much, but it's really annoying when people 'dance the seats' in front of me.
Ryanair does not charge for carry-on bags - in fact, you can have a carry-on and a small personal item. That's quite generous given how Spirit has started to charge huge fees just for carry-ons.
The cabin was kept in mostly yellow and the trademark Ryanair navy blue. I did not expect that much yellow in the cabin - it is very bright!
We made up our delay and got into much cooler London-Stansted on time.
In conclusion, this was a good flight and considering the low price, I was pretty happy with my Ryanair adventure!
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