Our first week in the UK was a family filled adventure that took us from Northwest London area, up to Lincolnshire and then down to Kent where we took in the stoney beaches, the lovely pubs and the white cliffs of Dover. Wednesday we got up early, boarded a train and made our way to Gatwick airport for our flight to Stockholm and our first show in Europe!
I will confess that I had a scheme for this tour that involved travel "light" and simply. We booked our flights to Sweden with Ryanair, the infamous budget airline of Europe. It was at the check in counter that we just discovered the illusionary pricing of said airline. Having paid only £16 (each) for our flights to Stockholm we were feeling pretty chuffed with the deal! Interestingly enough we had the foresight to actually prepay our baggage for the flight (at £30 for one bag - each way!). So I reckoned we were kinda set, with perhaps a small overage fee because we were both using the same bag and had some of our gear in it too.
Let us just say the Ryan Air is very very stringent about their 15kg baggage fee. We had in fact topped out at 29kg! I was surprised we were that far over the scales and even more surprised that the small fee that I had imagined we might be charged for the excess weight turned out to be £280!! The clerk did offer us an option though. He suggested we go and buy a second bag and pay a second bag fee. We quickly went over the small kiosk around the corner and purchased a cheap bag, well it looked cheap, but in fact cost £20 for that too! Then we played the weight distribution game. Three times back and forth to the counter to get each bag under the 15 kg allowance. It seemed an easy thing to do but in fact proved quite challenging. Some of our stuff was long and couldn’t fit into the other bag. Then we had to keep shuffling things between the bags until we hit the magic number. They were gracious enough to allow us 15.2 kgs on our large bag without any extra fee. The second bag now weighed in at 14.2 kgs.
They take their baggage fees very seriously at Ryan Air.
Thankfully we had the foresight to print up up our tickets and boarding passed before we hit the airport. Ryanair charges a blinding £15 for being forced to do that labour for you. I suppose paper and printers are far more rare in Europe than North America!
Budget travel is an misnomer. The low ticket price gets you interested, but your credit card will die a death of a thousand tariffs!
However, we got through and had a nice pint of London Pride and on our way to Stockholm as I type this. Our travel plan’s budget has increased somewhat, but we are on our way!
We have saved money with this flight compared to using a larger carrier, but the difference has become very marginal. I guess that’s just the way it is with these things. One for the books to be sure!
We’ll let you know how things go in Scandiland soon enough. Then it’s back to Blighty for our first UK shows. Fingers crossed.
thanks for reading. take care.