On the road – the routine

The plan was to blog about London while in London, but I don’t want to totally neglect this one now that it is up and running. Once a month I make the trip over, to just soak up the city and pursue my fascination with stand-up comedy. Being able to fly over so regularly is possible thanks to Ryanair. They may be the most reviled airline in the world, but – and I say this not to attract attention to this blog – I think they’re fantastic.

Defending that stance will take more instalments, but when I started to be able to get to London for a tenth – or less – of the price of their competitors, the choice was clear. I look upon flying with Ryanair as a kind of game – if you take the trouble to actually read the rules, they can’t really surprise you.

Also, I can’t really say with my hand on my heart that I have noticed much better comfort or service on ‘major’ airlines that service this route, but I do see them performing the same kind of sneaky charges and dubious economies, at much higher prices. And Ryanair may herd their customers around, but their flights are on time.

I’m also quite happy with some of the Ryanair extras. Like the priority queueing. I think I have mentioned the brutal Norwegian sport of queue-sneaking before, and paying to avoid it is a real luxury. I also like seeing people who try to pass off the three suitcases their porter is struggling to carry as ‘hand luggage’ forced to go off and check them in and pay extra for it. Don’t tell O’Leary, but I’d probably chip in to see more of that.

On this trip to Torp Airport – which is in Sandefjord – Ryanair rarely if ever actually flies to their announced destination, but Torp isn’t that much further away than ‘Oslo’ Gardermoen – a few things caught my eye. For one, the airport shop continues to have one of the best selections of Norwegian souvenirs I have ever seen in such a small space. And they have a constantly expanding collection of moose themed tat. I will post a photo-series in a bit, when I manage to get all the pics off my phone.

The other sight at Torp was the rack of screeching tabloid headlines, each trumpeting an impending disaster that not only made me happy I was leaving, but gave me some concern that I might have picked too early a date for my return ticket. To my horror I saw that a strike was about to leave all Norwegian groceries shops devoid of food, the Siberian cold front was about to return, bringing temperatures that could surely freeze hot coffee in mid-air, and that Oslo had already received its full quota of air pollution for 2010. Something tells me I will return to clear and sunny skies, and bulging shop shelves.

On the flight itself, I met my Ryanair nemesis. I thought I was an experienced hand. This guy planted himself at the exit doors of the priority queue and sprinted into the plane, nabbing the best seat, the one I have never had to fight for before. He then bought a Stansted Express pass on the flight, making my habit of buying these online look very amateurish indeed – I had no idea they were so much cheaper via Ryanair. If I see him again, there will be a serious duel for that seat.


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