Flying high

Ryanair is to our generation what the weather is to our parents. A reliable conversation starter.

No matter where you are or what you're doing, mere mention of the cost cutting airline can provoke an outpouring of shared experiences, urban legend and whispered hopes of a brighter future.

It is, despite all we hate about it, the great unifier of people.

I recently travelled on the laughably self titled - world's favourite airline- and while I confess to hating most of the experience, it does give people a common ground for complaint if nothing else.

It begins with the online battle to avoid paying for extras you don't want -insurance, baggage and priority boarding.

This is followed by the anxious airport experience that the stern faced stewardesses are going to have dodgy scales that will force you to pay extra for your baggage(urban legend has it that so and so's first cousin's best friend once had to pay a fortune even though she weighed her bag before she left her home and it was less than ten kg.)

Once you've successfully passed inspection to get on the plane, the scrum to get a seat on the plane begins - despite the fact that there are three rows of unused seats down the back.

And, when you finally sit back with a sigh of relief, it is inevitable that the person beside you will strike up a conversation on the horrors of flying Ryanair even though it's the cheapest by far. That follows with a list of all the other airlines we tried - but couldn't afford to buy a seat on.

That's the bit we hate the most, we agree, we chose to travel on this plane. We knew what we were getting but - hands spread out in a gesture of defeat - you can't argue with the cost. Ryanair has beaten us, and our expectations, down with low fares.

In a weird way Ryanair is keeping the community spirit alive. The outrage of every experience brings us closer together. Whether it's the stranger in the seat next to you on the plane, or your colleague in work that you never normally chat with, one mention of Ryanair will bring you closer today.

Michael O'Leary - humanitarian.

Who ever would have thought it?