How safe is it to fly with Ryanair?

  • We all know how great it feels when we find a cheap flight via Ryanair, but are you actually getting what you paid for?

    Recently I've heard stories about Ryanair's reputation when it comes to safety procedures. I heard that most of the time they ignore the safety procedures required by law to operate a flight. Since they're a budget airline, they keep turnarounds under 25 minutes, and there have been reports that this is putting passengers in danger.

    Mostly I'm referring to the statements made in the terrifyingly scary documentary shown on Channel 4 about two undercover reporters who show safety and health procedures being ignored, and exhausted cabin crew complaining about the number of hours they are forced to work, and negative experiences they had with the airline.

    Another scary moment in the video, is when the instructor tells the class that passengers seating in 1A, will most definitely die if there is any sort of incident where the aircraft collides, as there is some metal rod that can shoot through the passenger's skull.

    Also see a Guardian article.

    How safe is it to actually travel with this airline, how are such practices not enforced by the law, and routinely checked?

    Slightly off topic answer (would comment bug don have enough reputation on this site yet): To give some ball park figures, to put things in perspective (taken from my radiation safety lectures in Uni): The risk of dieing in an airline accident is less than one in a million per 1000 miles travelled Where travelling 100 miles in a car has about the same risk.* So chances are you have a greater risk driving to the air port than the actual flight. *So does one Chest X-ray or each day being over 60

    The only objective way to answer this question is with a ratio of deaths or injuries per traveler miles. @KateGregory's answer addresses this. But that does not seem to be the type of answer the OP is looking for, as evidenced by both the inflammatory language of the question, and the fact that a less objective answer (although not a bad one) was accepted. This question seems to me to be a rant about RyanAir, and not an honest question. Such a rant may well be deserved, but is not appropriate here.

    It is an honest question, since I very often travel with Ryanair, and I want to know what I'm getting myself into :)

    You will be perfectly safe. Your wallet, however, is in extreme danger from all the extra fees and charges.

    Your sanity, no.

    Presumably the "seat 1A" problem only affects one type of aircraft, and that would affect every airline operating that aircraft. The FAA/CAA would probably have something to say about that.

    The video is not available in my country. Is there another resource @BrownEyes?

  • The number of fatalities caused by a certain airline does NOT reflect how safe that airline is. The number of fatalities can be very high due to a single accident which is caused by reasons not related to the safety of the airline in question.

    Usually people tend to think of safety only when it comes to airplanes, this is wrong. The safety of an airline is much more than that, it is embedded in every single thing, it is more of a culture than just a bunch of policies and procedures.

    In general, I would rather fly in a twenty-year-old Ryanair airplane than in a one-year-old plane in an African airline. Why is that? EU civil authorities have very strict policies and procedures, lately they've even started forcing the new safety principle called SMS (Safety Management System) which simply involves all parts of the airlines in the safety, including the higher management since the first principle of this system is to put the liability and responsibility on the higher management instead of just blaming some employee when something happens under (human error).

    Also, the random checks conducted by the EU authorities are a pain in the ass to all airlines, they are brutal and serious. They will have no problem issuing all kinds of punishments if they have a finding, including suspending the airline. I personally deal with this stuff in my job and I know how good they are.

    Talking of crew duty hours, just to let you know, as a crew member for long time I met a lot of crew members from all over the world, we all have the same complaint (duty hours). It is a universal thing for crew members to complain about. That's due to the anti-routine schedules where crew members have to work weekends and holidays and nights etc. But AFAIK, in EU crew members can not exceed 100 credit hours per month, and that's even less than in the US or the middle east where crew members can fly up to 120 credit hours.

    One more thing, crew members who fly for domestic or regional airlines, such as Ryanair, tend to complain more about working hours because they need more flights to reach the 100 credit hours, unlike flying for international airlines, where you can make the same amount of credit hours in 4 or 5 long-haul flights. When I first joined I needed like forty domestic legs to reach 70 hours, but once I had enough seniority I could make the same by flying three flights to the US only!

    Bottom line, EU civil authorities are the best when it comes to the safety of different airlines, either the EU ones or the foreign ones that fly to the EU. So, having permission to operate in the EU is enough proof that the airline is safe enough. This is my opinion as a safety person.

    +1 for all the relevant information and the insider's insights but isn't the (expected) number of fatalities per unit (passenger, km) exactly what safety *is*, by definition? The only thing is that our *empirical estimate* of this fatality rate is very unreliable because fatalities are so rare and “lumpy”, which is why we have to rely on indirect things like policies and procedures to assess it. The point is that having no fatalities over a significant period is not evidence that the airline is better than others but it still shows that safety is at least not disastrously low.

    @Annoyed the less fatalities is the goal, not the definition. It really doesn't matter, for example, Saudi airlines has around 400 fatalities because of a single accident (the mid-air collision) which is caused by the ATC. So can you judge the safety of that airlines but the 400 fatalities? the safety is measured by compliance to safety policies and by the safety awareness of that airlines.

    @HaLaBi: I was sure that accident was attributed to the crew of the Kazakh plane, though if the Indian airport had more modern equipment it could have been prevented.

    Safety is the probability of surviving your flight. We can't measure that by counting past fatalities, because there's more noise than signal in the historic data, which is why we have to measure it by other means.

    In fact none of the ryanair aircraft aged 20 years, the oldest one delivered in Dec2002

    Insulting Africans is du jour, so I am not surprised. Typical garbage sweeping statement without any data to back your assertion which fails to recognize Africa is made up of fifty plus countries.

    What's a 'credit hour'?

    How can they be still operational with these cheap fares? How do they make money? Do they do not pay well their employees?

    @stephabmg this answer is 7 years old.

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Content dated before 7/24/2021 11:53 AM