For those living in Europe Ryanair really opened up the continent to a new type of traveller. All of a sudden it was possible to visit lots of different countries for a fraction of what it cost previously. Sure Charleroi wasn’t Brussels and Girona wasn’t Barcelona but it was close enough for those who didn’t care, and gave those who did care something to write to the newspapers and complain about.
The first time I remember really taking advantage was with a flight to Edinburgh. I may be wrong but I think at the time Ryanair wasn’t happy with Easyjet for offering Dublin to Edinburgh flights, so they charged something like €5 each way until Easyjet retreated. At the time I was in university and managed to get about twenty people to book flights for a one night trip. (A feat never repeated, so easily at least)
So off we went on a Tuesday morning saw Edinburghs sites, ate haggis, drank really cheap beer in the students union, got lost, hit a night club and somehow everybody made it back to the airport the following morning for our 6am flight back. It was a great trip and I’m pretty sure there have been marriages off the back of it. But really it was the start of relatively unplanned carefree international travel for the price of a train to the outskirts of Dublin.
From that point peoples attitudes to travel changed. It wasn’t two weeks in Spain once a year anymore (if you were lucky). Now multiple trips were affordable, no matter how many times you found yourself on a bus to Frankfurt Hahn saying never again!!!!