Henry James Foy

­­­If Dante Alighieri was to rewrite his Inferno in a 21st-century context, surely the horrors of budget airline travel would have a central role in describing the hell that must surely await those in the less favourable side of the afterlife.

 Forget the never-ending pain of Judas’s perpetual skin-peeling punishment at the hands of Satan, travelling with the evil capitalist machine of Ryanair surely represents the most fitting retribution for those so sinful enough not to do the clever thing and splash that little bit more cash. 

The ordeal begins, without fail, with the proximity of those loathsome members of society that one only finds themselves ill-fated enough to meet at such a location as a Ryanair departure gate.

 Mothers seem oblivious of their daughter’s screeching clamour, and fathers blissfully ignore their son’s attempts to flash their genitals at fellow passengers. 

If the calamity of unruly children and incompetent parents, in addition to arguing couples who probably should have been a little less tight and flown BA for their honeymoon wasn’t enough to highlight your gross error in purchasing such ridiculously cheap flights, to compound the misery there’s Tomaz, a happy, grinning Ryanair employee trying to flog you priority passes in his joyful eastern European accent. 

“Last chance for priority boarding!” he shouts, beaming from ear to ear. “Last chance for priority, only £5 or €7!”. What is most frustrating is that one spends 45 minutes at the back of the queue, watching opportune – or just plain rude – people push in ahead of you, trying desperately hard to ignore his incredibly attractive, and financially reasonable offer. 

‘I told you to buy the priority boarding online’ whispers the evil voice in my head. Attempting to subvert this glaringly obvious cock-up, I realise I have been reduced to a pathetic self-denier by Michael O’Leary’s commercial empire and his grinning messenger boy. 

When those intelligent priority few have made their journey onto the aeroplane, the mad scramble begins. It’s as if the concept of free-seating makes some people fear that perhaps there aren’t enough to go around. For others, it is altogether too taxing, and their search for an assigned seat code on their boarding pass merits scorn, not pity. 

A vampire beast from Albania or somewhere equally unfortunate, resembling an overweight cheeky girl, physically manhandles me past the seat I had eyed up. 

“You cannot sit here,” she barks, exposing two fang-like teeth. “Why, who is it for?” “Not you.” I am enjoying this. “The Queen?” “Yes” she replies, without even the tiniest slither of irony. “Oh”. “Yes”. She turns. Our romantic tete-a-tete is over. At least until I get lost on some dark Transylvanian night.

My blood-sucking friend is not the only one. All the staff, ironically dressed in the joyful sunshine yellow and brilliant blue livery of the airline, seem to be sporting the almost-dead do-I-give-a-shit look. Perhaps the mandatory company breakfast is freshly squeezed lemon juice. In your eye.

Forget the never-ending pain of Judas’ perpetual skin-peeling punishment, travelling with Ryanair surely represents the most fitting retribution for sinners

As two Italian women squabble over a space in the laughably small baggage lockers, I remark to another sour-faced hostess that it’s like a school trip but with real grown-ups. “Tell me about it,” she says with a hint of a smile. I am lifted by her human-like emotion.

The aeroplane thankfully takes off in one piece. Strangely, this annoys me to a certain degree. It would move the experience from utterly deplorable to vaguely humorous, but no – it seems their pilots are actually capable.

But what of their in-flight entertainment? Well, the living House of Horrors that populate the cabin are good for a ten minute gander, but quickly become rather nauseous to look at.

There is, however, a special offer on my flight for Fortune Cookies – reduced from €3 to €2. Personally, I think you’ve got to have serious depression issues if you want to buy a fortune cookie on an aeroplane, but apparently you could win a Ryanair flight voucher for a free return trip in the future. I think I’d prefer a comforting ‘Things will get better soon’.

What certainly won’t make things better is the Ryanair Hot Breakfast, a bargain at €5, which is apparently ‘As good as homemade’. Perhaps if you live in a Siberian gulag.

Some of you might think me naïve not to have expected such a deplorable experience. Granted – I knew what to expect. But the worst was to come.

Indeed, I had fully expected the typical Ryanair treatment when it came to our arrival airport, and had envisaged being abandoned in some industrial wasteland a mere hours drive from the city I had paid to fly to. I was wrong. Instead, disembarking at an out-of-town terminal for the wrong town defied even conventional budget airline disbelief. The resultant bus trip took longer than the hellish experience that preceded it.

Read Dante. Shiver. Then fly with Ryanair and get a taste of the real thing.


  1. Wow… Who said journalism was going down the pan? If the grotesque amount of upper-class snobbery wasn’t enough to confound a reply then the sheer idiocy of stereotyping the majority of people who fly Ryanair as either a) foreign, b) below societal norms or c) lacking any form of brain power definitely does. The lack of journalistic integrity combined with pure idiocy beggars belief in this case. It may be all well and good for the double-barrelled named wannabe Bullingdon club members to pass judgement on those below their status but most of us plebs would prefer to be in the seven circles of hell than have to plough through such badly written dribble.

    “The aeroplane thankfully takes off in one piece. Strangely, this annoys me to a certain degree”. It annoys me too. I had to read this rubbish in an otherwise well-written paper.

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  2. I feel the need to defend Henry here. His name isn’t double-barrelled but is simply three separate names. Cheers.

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  3. So you would turn down a flight to Italy for £5 each way? :S

    Plus, what relevence does this article have on anything? Ok, so Ryanair have flights well in our student budgets but then since if we take the advice of this article we should be travelling first class (ha) and spending a hell of a lot more… who is this relevent to?

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  4. what a pile of shite… katy’s right that it’s completely irrelevant to anything, and is just an excuse for a posh ‘plonker’ to have a bit of a moan!

    to be fair, “Some of you might think me naïve not to have expected such a deplorable experience.” – i didn’t think you naïve henry, just a bit of a twat…

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  5. 17 Mar ’10 at 3:20 pm

    normal bloke!!

    he doesn’t even wear decent shirts either. he’s a fake snob.

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  6. This article is about as entertaining as seeing your favourite childhood pet being exhumed from your backgarden and then brutually savaged by wolves.

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  7. I often think I couldnt hate Henry James Foy anymore, but he always, always manages to further his claims to be the biggest cock at York University

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  8. 17 Mar ’10 at 6:43 pm

    Halifax Student

    Oh Tabs, people in glass houses don’t throw stones.

    He isn’t as much of a cock as the idiot you’ve spent your entire time here deepthroating at any available opportunity.

    At least Foy didn’t think he could win a campus-wide election when even people in his own college reckon he’s a total cock. And let’s face it, it takes one to know one…

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  9. 17 Mar ’10 at 6:58 pm

    Credit where Credits due...

    “His name isn’t double-barrelled but is simply three separate names.”

    Isn’t that….worse?

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  10. I’ve often flown with Ryanair (as an Int’l student who needs to fly twice a term I hardly have any choice with the ridiculous prices by BA and co). Despite never having had priority boarding I’ve never failed to get a window seat and never had to use elbows. As for careless parents and the like, travelling is ALWAYS hectic; on my last trip, Swiss Air, there were many of them too and even worse those business men who glare at you if you dare to wear trainers and shout into their phones.

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  11. Eurgh this whole article made me really cringe!

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  12. Foy isn’t a cock. He just treads the thin line between self confidence and arrogance. Occasionally he can tread the wrong way but he is still a good guy. Cant handle his grappa though!

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  13. 17 Mar ’10 at 8:31 pm

    Pierre Van Hooijdonk

    I have absolutely no doubt that ‘Halifax Student’ is actually just Foy sticking up for himself.

    Spot on Tabs. What a bell-end.

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  14. Halifax student, I have a number of points to make regarding your comment. 1) people trying to make valid points dont quote John Terry. 2) I believe Ive defended Rob twice on here, once last year, and once this year. Hardly every opportunity now is it? 3) Whether I give fellatio to another man is my business and my business only 4) takes one to know one is an unacceptable phrase for anyone over the age of 8 to use. Love you xxxx

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  15. Also, you mention the fact that Rob didnt win the election, but the man Foy himself was championing, or, in your words, deepthroating, also lost. What does that mean?

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  16. Did this story occur on your gap yah by any chance?

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  17. 20 Mar ’10 at 12:46 am

    recent ryanair victim

    flew ryanair today grim grim grim, this article is completely true. Although the smokeless cigarettes “for your smoking pleasure” deserve a mention

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  18. 20 Mar ’10 at 9:24 am

    Normally a Foy fan

    …but this is surely a low? It’s not even funny- just a bit uncomfortable to read.

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  19. At least he hasn’t pretended not to hold these opinions… I found it a bit better than what the comments made it out to be, if still potentially offensive in places. Also, not that you probably care Henry, but I’m not sure it is a theological certainty that Judas went to hell.

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  20. Wow, and this is the reason that no matter how much i want a career in journalism i will never write for the clique of nouse.

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  21. You wanna hurt me? Go right ahead if it makes you feel any better. I’m an easy target. Yeah, you’re right, I talk too much. I also listen too much. I could be a cold-hearted cynic like you… but I don’t like to hurt people’s feelings. Well, you think what you want about me; I’m not changing. I like… I like me. My wife likes me. My customers like me. ‘Cause I’m the real article. What you see is what you get.

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  22. 23 Mar ’10 at 3:07 pm

    Muntasaurus Rex

    Henry James Foy is rubbish at netball.

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  23. A lot of the comments are really unfair towards Henry James Foy. Ok, so you don’t like his article, but there is no reason for personal attacks.

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  24. A lot of the comments are really unfair towards Henry James Fop. Ok, so his article is pompous and arrogant, but it’s not his fault that he’s better than the rest of us.

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  25. I stopped reading this after the first two paragraphs! Boring as hell.

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