Saturday, 5 April 2008

A Small Rant

I don't usually use this blog as a platform for rants - there are plenty of other blogs out there doing just that. However, I thought I should mention Ryanair. My sister was due to visit me recently, and booked a flight to Barcelona with Ryanair, having checked that there were connecting busses from Barcelona to here. She then realised, a few days before travelling, that when Ryanair say Barcelona they really mean Gerona - an airport about an hour and a half from Barcelona by bus or train. This meant she had to book car hire at the last minute as the flight was due to land just after the last bus from Gerona. Since Ryanair actually promote this route for skiing in Andorra, you would think they might make sure the flight times matched transfer times. Althought there is a later bus from Barcelona, she would still have missed it after travelling to Barcelona airport by bus.

When the day came to travel, the flight was diverted to a different UK airport due to high winds, and she was offered a bus to the new departure airport. Taking this option would have got her to Gerona after the car hire desk shut for the night at midnight. Faced with spending a night at the airport and an extra day travelling (out of a three day visit) she decided not to bother.

Okay, I understand that Ryanair cannot control the weather, and budget airlines will always be more susceptible to delays and cancellations - that's why they're cheap. So, to an extent my sister was hit by bad luck. What I still cannot understand is how they can advertise flights to Barcelona that land over 60 miles away from the city. Granted, they write Barcelona (Gerona), but how many people unfamiliar with Catalunya will realise that indicates an airport in a different city. The same list of airports has for example London (Gatwick), indicating which London airport. It seems to me that calling Gerona the same place as Barcelona is a bit like saying Manchester (Liverpool) - which would incense the inhabitants of either city but the two airports are considerably nearer to each other than the two Spanish ariports.

Anyway, that's my rant over. If you do want to go to Barcelona, the local airport is usually simply called Barcelona (BCN) or occasionally El Prat de Llobregat Aeropuerto. Ryanair also advertise Barcelona (Reus) which is almost as far in the opposite direction, so be careful.

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