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Aer Lingus vs Ryanair

I’m currently getting ready to present at DDD South West in Bristol on June 11th. In addition to the normal work of creating sample code and slides, I also have to figure out flights and a hotel.

In the past I’ve tried to avoid Ryanair. There was a time when it was actually worth paying a little more to fly with Aer Lingus. That’s no longer the case.

I don’t know if it’s the 25% stake that Ryanair owns, or just an inevitable progression in the airline industry, but I can no longer see any difference between Ryanair and Aer Lingus.

That’s not true. There is one difference. The price. Aer Lingus seems to be embracing everything about the Ryanair business model, except the price.

Let’s look at an example.

I’ve just booked return flights to Bristol with Ryanair, flying from Dublin at 21:15 on the 10th of June, returning at 10:55 on the 12th.

The headline cost of the flights were €3.99 each way. Ryanair add a Web Check-in fee of €6 each way, giving a total of €19.98

On Aer Lingus, the cheapest outward flight is €4.99, but it leaves at 6:25 on Friday morning. Of course that would mean missing a day of work and being at the airport at an ungodly hour. There’s an 18:45 flight for €14.99.

But let’s take that €4.99 flight, it makes the comparison more interesting. That’s €1 more than the Ryanair flight. There’s a €4.99 return flight on Sunday, also at a stupidly early time. How does this extra €2 pan out if we proceed to try and book the flight?

As I mentioned, with Ryanair we add a further €12 euro for a total cost of €19.98. You’d imagine the extra fees would be pretty similar for Aer Lingus right? They are departing from and arriving into the same airports after all.

I was stunned to find that Aer Lingus charge €19.99 EACH WAY in “Taxes and Charges”.

Think about that. The Taxes and Charges EACH WAY on an Air Lingus flight cost more than the entire cost of a round-trip ticket with Ryanair.

What are these Taxes? What are these Charges? Why don’t they apply to passengers flying with Ryanair?

And we haven’t even gotten to the extra fees for credit card booking etc.

One of the things that annoy people most about “Low Fares” airlines and indeed other businesses is the extortionate fees for paying by credit card. The online business model allows companies to radically reduce their overheads, but rather than pass on those savings they charge customers for the “convenience”.

With Ryanair and Aer Lingus the fee for paying by card (as if there were another option) is €6 each way, per ticket. Not per transaction…Per Ticket, Per leg of journey. That’s €12 for a return ticket for one person.

Unlike Aer Lingus, Ryanair usually has at least one type of card which allows you to avoid this charge. Annoyingly they keep changing it. I’m in luck this week, I have a prepaid Master Card that I bought at Christmas, and Ryanair allow it to be used without charging the €12 fee.

With Aer Lingus the fee is also €12, but there doesn’t seem to be any way of avoiding it.

So, to sum up.

Ryanair, Headline Ticket Price €3.99 each way. Final Total €19.98
Aer Lingus, Headline Ticket Price €4.99 each way. Final Total €61.96

Some day, very soon Aer Lingus will cease to exist. I don’t know what it’s final demise will look like, but it will vanish. When that happens there will be much hand wringing and questioning about how such a thing could happen.

The answer is simple and we’ve known it for a long time. Aer Lingus is taking the piss.

The quest for syntax highlighting

I’m having a hell of a time displaying source code in blog posts. I’ve found no end of plugins but all of them seem to have issues. Here’s my latest effort, and it seems to be the best solution so far.

I’m using the “SyntaxHighlighter Evolved” plug-in for WordPress. It handles indents which is a good start, I had a lot of trouble getting any solution that maintained the formatting of code, which let’s face it is kind of the point.

public class Controller
    {
        private int _sampleSize;
        private ICoinFlipObserver _observer;

        public Controller(int sampleSize)
        {
            _sampleSize = sampleSize;
        }

        public void AddObserver(ICoinFlipObserver observer)
        {
            _observer</span> = observer;
        }

        public void RunSimulation()
        {

        }
    }

One nice feature is the ability to show the code collapsed, and let the user click to expand it by clicking on it. The title that shows for the collapsed code can also be configured, handy if your post shows multiple listings. Unfortunately once the user has expanded a listing, they can’t collapse it again, this seems like a bug.

Another nice feature of this plugin is the ability to highlight lines of code as seen above with lines 7-9 and 13-16. It’s achieved with a comma separated list of lines, and it allows ranges. There’s another little bug there, when specifying the lines to highlight, I couldn’t say “7-9,13-16”, I had to say “7,7-9,13-16”. It appears the first item needs to be an individual line, after that it works as normal.

If these are the only issues I encounter I’ll be happy to keep using it.

How to build a framework and why you almost never should.

Sample Code
WizardFX

Above is a link to the Sample Project for the “How to Build a Framework” session that I presented at DDD Scotland. Below are the Slides. There’s a good deal of information from the session that isn’t in either the slides or the code so I’ll be doing a full write up as soon as time permits, which will probably be sometime after DDD South West in June.

As always please remember this code was written to demonstrate certain ideas, it isn’t production quality code, use it if you like, but don’t expect too much from it.

Incidentally some of the accompanying tests will be discussed in my Session on Test Driven Development at DDD South West.



And here’s the feedback I received from the attendees in Glasgow who were kind enough to fill in the feedback forms.


DDDScot "Frameworks" Feedback
DDDScot "Frameworks" Feedback

DDD Scotland 2011

Last weekend I headed to Glasgow to speak at DeveloperDeveloperDeveloper Scotland.  My third DDD, my first as a speaker.

The speaking experience is a little different.  I presented during the last session of the day which meant that for the entire day I was “yet to speak”.  Which meant that I spent a good deal of the day sneaking off into quiet corners to run through the slides, or look at some source code.

I also gave a quick Grok Talk on Fitnesse, although I could have passed on that, I spoke last which meant I was still speaking as people flooded back into the room for the after lunch sessions.  A case of one Grok too many I think, but no harm.

I was pretty happy with how my session went. “How to Build a Framework, and why you almost never should” seemed to go down well, it drew a larger attendance than I had expected, considering the excellent sessions that were on at the same time.

The session feedback was very positive.  One or two people suggested slowing things down and spending more time looking at the sample framework. These are two things I was conscious of going in.  Despite cutting huge chunks of what I’d like to have covered, it was still a push to get everything into the 50 minutes or so available.

In retrospect it would have been better to talk less, demo more and give a good write-up to cover anything I couldn’t get to on the day.   Let’s see if I can put that into practice at DDD South West in Bristol next month.  It’s a completely different session, but one I’m looking forward to…”Pushing through the pain of TDD”.

In the meantime, watch this space for the slides, sample code and write-up of the Frameworks Session from DDD Scotland.