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Lauren Kalinoski | Thursday, November 10, 2011

For those of you who have studied abroad in Europe, or those headed there in the future, the following is a plug for Ryanair, the Ireland-based airline that is famous for it’s low fares (15 Euro flights from Dublin to London?) that are perfect for the college student studying abroad. As a seasoned customer, with eight Ryanair flights taken during my junior semester studying in Rome, I have compiled a list of the best attributes of the airline:

10. Customer comfort is a priority

Everyone always wants to get up and walk around on airplanes, and if Ryanair had its way, you could! Standing-room only tickets were a great idea.

9. Enforced diets

European airlines are huge fans of giving you food, even if it’s only an hour-long flight. Ryanair, however, recognizes that not everyone wants the temptation of free Swiss chocolate while onboard. They sympathize with your calorie counting and refuse your cravings for sustenance, even after 3 hours on the runway followed by a 3-hour flight.

8. Conveniently located airports

Why fly directly into Lake Como when you can fly into Bergamo, Italy, which is only a bus ride, shuttle ride, second bus ride and an hour and forty minutes away?

7. Entertainment on board

Ryanair solves the problem of boredom on long flights by installing brightly colored safety placards on the back of every seat for the customer to view at his or her pleasure. The ever-entertaining game of counting how many of each letter appears on the sign is always enjoyable (if you get a final count on the ‘E’s let me know, we could never come up with the same number twice …).

6. Beautiful decor

The University of Michigan colors are beloved by all Notre Dame students, so it’s lucky that Ryanair thought they were the perfect soothing color palette to cover their seats with (bring Advil).

5. Win the lottery while flying!

You will be reminded, often loudly, that for some reason, the stewards can also sell you lottery tickets along with the beverage of your choice.

4. Smoking will not be tolerated (… unless we don’t speak the same language as the smoker)

Italians smoke everywhere, and they are apparently very difficult to remove from planes.

3. Safety and information

I appreciate keeping the customer informed, but the phrase, “We now have the minimum legal requirements to take off,” is better left unsaid, especially if I’m already concerned because by the time the de-icing machine finishes one wing, the other one is already frozen again.

2. Pack (lightly) like a champion

Do you always over pack? If you’re like me, then Ryanair can help you with this problem. If you can’t fit all your luggage in the shoebox-sized carry on allowed, you can always unpack your belongings in front of everyone on your flight and proceed to put on as many articles of clothing as you can. Try to avoid packing wool sweaters in this situation.

1. Maximum security

Through security and metal detectors twice with a wine-opener in my bag = yes. Five-ounce sealed container of peanut butter = nice try, but that stuff’s dangerous.

In all honestly, Ryanair saved me hundreds of Euro over my semester abroad (and clearly, I survived all the flights). Fearing for my life a few times only allowed me to have that much extra money for gelato: a fair trade in my opinion.

Contact Lauren Kalinoski at lkalinos @nd.edu

The views expressed in the Inside Column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.