Galway City Tribune - Opinion Piece
Sit back, relax and enjoy the torture!September 13, 2012 - 9:16am
Where are we going on holiday?” “I don’t know. Let’s see where Michael O’Leary wants us to go.”
Such is the power of Ryanair that when the Snapper and I planned our first holiday for two and half years, we knew that we’d be going somewhere that the airline flies to from either Knock or Shannon.
At this stage of things I’m pretty familiar with the Ryanair website. I know how to jump through its hoops, finding all the new places where a box has to be checked, a drop-down menu has to be obeyed, and am aware that if we want to check bags and take priority boarding, we can add around €100 to the advertised fare.
O’Leary is the catalyst of a massive success in social engineering. We all do as we’re told. We fly from Ryanair airport to Ryanair airport. Terminals are filled with passengers pulling little 10kg bags, which don’t have to be checked in, because if everyone checked in bags Ryanair’s planes couldn’t be turned around in 25 minutes. If they take longer than that, the company starts to lose money.
It’s all about speed, which is why passengers are herded onto flights in such a way that your colyoomist finds it difficult to resist the temptation to start going “Mmmooo-ooo!” and “Baaa-baaa-baaa!” as we’re moved along.
From the days when the journey to a foreign destination was something to look forward to, flying is now the opposite of exotic.
To be fair to Ryanair, it does what it says it will. It gets you there on time, a task admittedly much facilitated by timetables that allow at least an extra half an hour on the actual flying time.
As a grown-up, I’d really like to believe I have some control over my own behaviour, but for some reason flying Ryanair drives me demented. I know that its website will be testing, so I play by O’Leary’s laws until I want something different, and then choose to pay him handsomely to do it my way. All fine and fluffy enough, but every time I slump down in my seat on the plane, I try and fail to contain my ire.
I know the flight is only an hour or two out of my life. I know that the cabin crew are just doing their job; that it’s not their fault. I know what’s going to happen and know that I am capable of being a strong person.
But as soon as the attendant comes over the tannoy and tells us to sit back, relax and enjoy the flight, every muscle in my body goes tense, including the ones that seem to crush my brainbox. It’s ridiculous, I know, especially as I am well versed in the ways of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. I’ve meditated, been mindful and spent a wedgy chunk of my life trying to improve my infantile reactions to known stimuli.
This is my known stimulus: ‘Sit back, relax and enjoy the flight.’
Maybe if they didn’t say that, I’d manage better. Maybe if they said “Sit back and prepare to be bombarded by an incessant series of sales pitches delivered with no enthusiasm by an exhausted and overworked crew who have to pile through this entire damned list five times a day, at ear-screeching volume levels, in a variety of completely unintelligible accents!” I might be able to handle it just a little better.
For more, read this week's Galway City Tribune.