Monday, June 3, 2013

The world's most hateful airline

It's something of a cliche that pride comes before a fall. Recently and personally it came both before and after

When you're away on a poker trip with your closest poker friends, there comes a point where you have to be a little more creative when it comes to conversational topics. You know all their stories, you've told them all of yours, and there's only so many times you can debate the merits of the check call versus the check raise. So in London I sat mostly listening to Jason and David recount tales of flights they had missed in the past. My only contribution to the conversation was a boastful one full of pride: that I had never missed a flight in my very long life. If years were chips in our group, I would have almost half the chips in play.

Pride came before a fall as thanks to the fiendish machinations of the world's most hateful airline Ryanair I was no longer able to truthfully make such a claim 24 hours later. I was at my gate in plenty of time, where I joined the back of very long queue. When I got to the top I found it was actually 2 queues and I was in wrong one. The other gate was more or less hidden behind one I queued for. I went to the right gate and even though screen over it said Final call and I could see the plane outside the  bit... of a Madam working for Ryanair said it was closed. After a bit... of a heated debate over how tenable her position was in light of the screen saying Final call right over her head and the fact that we could see passengers still filing onto the plane before our very eyes, I realised that while I might be the one wearing the Poker Stars badge (slapped onto my shirt at the UKIPT Champion of Champions the night before) I was also the one drawing dead in this particular game of poker.

After mucking my argument I asked her how I got back out now I was plane committed but drawing dead to a departing flight. She gave me a look of disdain similar to the one Lappin gives people who try to check raise bluff him and sniffed "Back the way you came from". This turned out to be as much of a gross oversimplification as the statement you should always shove with a flush draw.  It's a nightmare getting back out. I basically had to be escorted out by security.

A long argument with Ryanair desk about how much I had to pay for a new flight ensued.  Then when I thought things couldn't get any weirder, just after I got my new ticket an Italian guy asked me if I was a professional poker player. When I said yes he said I love watching you on tv. At this point I figure he must be mistaking me for someone else as I have the Pokerstars badge still on from last night. As gargantuan as my ego is it doesn't allow me to believe that I'm "big in Italy".  I nevertheless decided the easiest thing was to play along with it and let him go on believing I was Marcel Luske or whoever he thought I was.  I chatted to him in as friendly a manner as a man who has just been gypped by the world's most hated airline possibly could, asking him his name, where he played and so forth. I figured I owed it to Marcel or whoever he thought I was and him to leave him with a positive experience and impression of his poker hero.  He asked me if he could have photo taken with me.  I said yes of course, giggling inside at the thought how easy it would be to smile in this photo thinking about the lengths he would have to go to to try to identify which particular TV poker hero he had been fortunate enough to run into. My smile widened as I thought about the fact that he was basically drawing as dead as anyone expecting a big  display of humanity from a member of the Ryanair Ground Gestapo when he got round to showing the photo to all his friends in the vain hope that one of them might recognise the not really that well known grafter in the online poker mines.

Good luck with that, Michele.  Finally, a shout out to my oldest son Paddy, the one member of the O'Kearney family who was on TV this week. Long time readers of this blog may remember that Paddy is a bit of an ecowarrior type, and his latest project, an urban farm in the centre of Dublin, came under the spotlight this week on RTE's Local Heroes. I don't know how long this link will last for, and I'm pretty sure it won't work for those of you outside Ireland, but here goes anyway.


Playing a local bowlcomp recently, I called the SB 12bb shove from the BB for all my chips with KsJs after raising his limp pre - the board was 8x6s5s and I thought he had some
kind of 7. I was probably behind with great equity. There's a lot in the pot and I call.

He has 77 (good read -yay!). I have KcJs (wtf!) - my 2overs and a flush draw are now 2overs and a back door. I remember the last time I did this and kick myself. Yes it was over 10 years ago but you're supposed to learn from your mistakes #fml. That time I runner runnered the flush. Not this time. 8s on the turn for a sweat, the river bricks and I'm gone.

Now the reason I tell this sad story isn't for your sympathy. I could title it "Miss flush draw and 2 overs and I'm out" or I could call it "Misread holecards, fail to get lucky and I'm out."

Doke, in my humble opinion, it would have been fairer to title this blog "Man stands in wrong queue, fails to get lucky and misses plane."

Is it easy to make sure you're in the right Ryanair queue - not always. Am I one of those idiots that asks several people "Is this the queue for..." and "Is this the Glasgow train" - yes. But, when all is said and done, it's up to the individual to be responsible for their own actions.

For what it's worth I'm also a Ryanair fan - new planes, regularly on time, no knee pocket, idiots can't tilt their seats onto you, cheap, loads of destinations, only pay for the luggage you take and people who can't work out how to buy without insurance contribute to my rake ;)

Even when you're not flying Ryanair, they and other airlines like them have forced all the others to be cheaper, more punctual and more efficient.

Always enjoy the blog, peace.

Fair comment Steve but actually I was still at the gate in time even after the mixup, and the screen did say Final call (not closed) and the plane was clearly still boarding. Two dealers I know had a similar experience last year so I don't think this is a unique occurence with RyanAir.

I'm a fan of the effect Ryanair have had on the industry in reducing prices, but lately I think they are just taking the piss. I'm flying to Marbella soon and just booked an Aer Lingus flight even though it was a little more expensive than the Ryanair one. But it's worth paying a little extra for the peace of mind of knowing I will be allowed to board my plane if I get there on time.

Its nonsense Doke and just a dolla spinner for scumair. They did it on me and 3 friends recently after the incoming scumair flight was delayed, we went for a sandwich and the flight arrived earlier than advertised, loaded up and they closed the flight as we walked back to the gate.. They seen us coming and closed it, charged us £100 to change flights. sigh, hate them

Wow Jay that's brutal. Have heard enough similar horror stories to think it's a deliberate policy concocted in a "How Do We Squeeze Even More Money Out Of Our Customers" by RyanAir

i agree with steve ask dont assume i keep telling guys when there raising say what you want to do not try to think others should know what you are trying to do . its a age thing i suppose but you are nearly as old as i am so you should have learned by now

Hi dara,
Gotta say, I'm with Stevie on this one. Obviously I don't take as many flights as you do, but still, I fly a fair amount during the year, and I just book it with Ryanair. If Michael o Leary and Ryanair didn't exist, god only knows how much we would be paying for flights now.
I remember flying to london in the early eighties on sole carrier aer lingus, and it cost about 2 weeks wages to buy a return flight (that is like €1000-1200 in today's money).
I was in Germany last week for 5 days, and I paid a total of €48 for the return flight(€24 each way incl priority boarding). When I came home, I had to go to Dublin for a meeting, and being tired, I decided to take the train, and that cost €83 return. Just saying, sometimes, I don't think we quite understand the effect Ryanair has had on fares.
Of course, if a passenger doesn't fly within "ryanairs" rules, they are gonna pay for breaking them, but IMHO, Ryanair have relaxed their policies in the past 12 months.
For what its worth, from reading your blog, I would imagine if you were travelling with aer lingus and the same thing happened, the result would have been the same, as when they close the gate, passengers are not allowed on to the tarmac once the captains closes the gate.(probably would be a different scenario if passengers were loading on one of them raised walkways).
I just think its too easy to jump on the "hate Ryanair" wagon.if you were to watch some of them airline programmes on TV, which mostly cover easy jet, you see that very same problem so often, but the people at the gate have no control over it once the gate is closed. When I travel with them,(Ryanair) I just pay a few extra € and buy priority boarding which allows me skip the queue,and it still saves me fortunes compared to travelling with other companies. GL with your further flights and tournies!!


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