I flew up to Scotland the other weekend, by RyanAir. On the way back the plane was a 737-800. It was the same kind of plane as on the flight up, but the inside was dramatically different.
Flying north we had standard velour-covered (or whatever you’d call it: fuzzy cloth) seats, and standard seat-back pockets made of criss-crossed bungee cord.
But southbound we had nasty vinyl-covered seats. Vinyl! Who’d have thought you could still cover seats in such a thing? It looked like the inside of a 1970s Vauxhall Viva!
Worse than that, though: there were no seat-back pockets at all! None!
This arrangement means that the little bits and pieces you want to have to hand — bottle of water, MP3 player, book or magazine, notebook — all have to go on the floor under the seat in front when you’re not holding them.
As well as being inconvenient, those things on the floor all now constitute an added safety risk: if there was some kind of problem before takeoff or after landing, they’d all be sliding about, just perfect for people to trip over or slip on.
So, reduced comfort, convenience and safety. Nice one, RyanAir.