Ryanair FR3072 from London Stansted to Rome Ciampino Flight Review
Ryanair was, without surprise, the cheapest option for me to fly from London to Rome. The downside, it turned out, was the departing airport’s experience was really bad. But all this to deal with for being able to fly for 2 hours for just £37.49. For this trip, I chose the first flight of the day, Ryanair FR3072, from London Stansted to Rome Ciampino for the fare and to get to Rome in time to spend the afternoon in Rome proper.
Getting to London Stansted Airport in time for this 8.10am flight was not an issue with my early arrival from the overnight National Express Bus 737 from Oxford, getting me in to London Stansted Airport at 4.27am, leaving me with almost 4 hours to get to the plane.
London Stansted Airport
I was in for a rude shock after entering the London Stansted Airport terminal building with swarms of people at 4.30am.
The crowd only grew thicker upon reaching the Ryanair check-in row.
Ryanair Visa Check (Non EU/EEA Passengers)
While I have already checked in online and bought a seat too to check-in early, all non EU/EEA passengers must undergo a visa check by Ryanair before being issued the boarding pass, even if you do not need a visa.
The queue for the visa check took me 30 minutes.
Following a quick visa check since Singapore passport holders do not need a Schengen visa, I was issued my hardcopy boarding pass from the counter, along with the validity of my stay in the EU written on both portions of the boarding pass.
If you have not checked in online, this boarding pass costs £55.
If you have checked in online but have not printed a boarding pass and do not use the Ryanair app, this boarding pass costs £20.
This boarding pass for me was free of charge as my online check-in procedures are not completed because of my visa check.
Following the queue for my Ryanair visa check, the longer queue for security was immediately up next.
The queue for security took 34 minutes.
World Duty Free
The process to the gate has just started as there’s now the compulsory walk through duty free.
It’s another up to 25 minutes walk to the gate, which I will be experiencing.
Heading quickly through duty free to complete the walkthrough.
Main Departure Hall
Gates are shown on the screens only about 1 hour before departure.
The huge swarm of people ahead are now sitting and standing around the screens, hoping to have the gate flashed.
I found the Wetherspoons for a potential breakfast spot, but the queue was long and not moving.
Following a short stay at the Escape Lounge, it was time to head to the gate at about 1 hour till departure time, when the gate information is readied on the screens.
Stansted Airport Track Transit System (TTS)
The Stansted Airport Track Transit System (TTS) is the people mover system for Satellites 1 and 2, but as my gate was at Satellite 3, I could only spot the trains.
Stansted Airport Track Transit System (TTS) operates with a fleet of 5 Adtranz C-100 trains and 4 Adtranz CX-100 (Innovia APM 100) trains. The Stansted Airport Track Transit System (TTS) is currently the world’s last operator of the Adtranz C-100 rolling stock.
My Ryanair FR3072 flight was departing from Gate 48 at Satellite 3, which is connected by a pedestrian bridge.
Heading along the tight path to Satellite 3.
Heading down a set of stairs. Not too friendly for those with wheelie luggage.
Continuing along the path.
Getting closer to Ryanair planes.
Heading up the link bridge to Satellite 3, crossing the apron road.
Heading to the Ryanair gates.
I got to Gate 48, but that’s not my flight.
Shortly after the crowd for Rome had gathered a little bit, a gate change was announced to Gate 54.
Heading down the escalator to Gate 54.
This extended gate area feels like a bus terminal.
Alas, another gate change was announced, this time, and finally, to Gate 52. This was just the next door away so it wasn’t too bad.
I thought the path would lead on to a bus, but I was wrong, and the plane was parked just ahead.
As I had purchased Priority & 2 Cabin Bags, I was at the front of the line in the Priority queue, thanks to the third gate change.
9H-QCL would be operating on my Ryanair FR3072 flight from London Stansted to Rome Ciampino.
Boarding through the front door with the built-in fold-away stairs.
The interior of Ryanair’s Boeing 737-800. I was pleased to see the slimline Zodiac seats on my flight.
The good legroom on board Ryanair’s Boeing 737-800. While some hate Ryanair for the tight seats, I’m not seeing and feeling it for myself. Seats do not recline, but they feel like they are in a pre-reclined position, and it’s a great feature since it’s impossible for the person in front to recline into me, guaranteeing my legroom.
I had paid £6 extra for a seat reservation to check-in early and for the views of Rome while landing, but unfortunately, I could not experience the benefit of getting my boarding pass early with the visa check.
The safety card is a safety sticker pasted on the seat back as there are no seat pockets for safety cards.
The air-conditioning vents and reading lights are largely similar to almost all other Boeing 737-800s in the world.
A key difference for Ryanair is that lifejackets are stored above the seat.
I think this is a much safer feature since lifejacket theft would be a lot more difficult, and in an emergency, the lifejacket compartment is clearly visible a few centimeters away from eye level, without the need to feel around the bottom of the seat.
Passengers were still streaming on, and there were some late passengers rushing in at the last minute too due the on-going intense queue for visa checks and security.
Unfortunately, after the gate changes and rushes trying to collect as many passengers as possible, the pilot announced that we have missed out take-off slot, and there will be some waiting at the stand.
The new Boeing 737 MAX 8-200 fitted with 197 seats on board.
A lot of flights were delayed due to the intense airport queues, but surprisingly, there doesn’t seem to be much traffic where I’m looking at from my seat, so not sure what the issue is with the take-off slot.
The fasten seatbelt sign was not turned on while waiting, and passengers could stretch their legs if needed, and visit the toilet.
Plus points for Ryanair for providing paper towels in the toilets.
After about an hour of waiting, the fasten seatbelt sign was turned on, which means it’s finally time to get going.
Pushing back from the stand.
Lights were slightly dimmed for take-off with the blue Boeing Sky Interior being more prominent.
The queue for the runway is more apparently as the taxi got closer, even though it was just a short taxi distance. London Stansted Airport has only 1 runway.
Turning onto Runway 22.
Taking off from Runway 22.
My Ryanair FR3072 departed from London Stansted Airport at 9.25am – 1 hour and 15 minutes delayed.
Passing by hangars at London Stansted Airport.
Passing by the very full Stansted Airport Long Stay Car Park.
Passing by Birchanger Green Roundabout at M11 Junction 8, the main access from the highway to London Stansted Airport.
Passing through some clouds on the way up.
As I already had a buffet breakfast at the Escape Lounge, I didn’t order anything on board this flight, but the usual sales of food and duty-free was on-going.
Flying over the Swiss Alps with a great view of the range without much cloud cover.
Descending into Rome.
I paid £6 for a window seat on the right side of the aircraft just for this scenic arrival view, which I can get only when landing at Rome Ciampino Airport.
Crossing the Tiber.
A welcome sight of Vatican City just ahead.
Looking down towards Villa Borghese and Vatican City.
See you later in the afternoon, Vatican City.
The true scale of Roma Termini can also be appreciated from the sky. It’s super tiring to walk through it, and now the station footprint can truly be seen close-up from the sky.
Just a super long station casually cutting through Rome.
Passing by the Colosseum.
Passing by the most important 5-way railway junction after Roma Termini.
Continuing on to Ciampino.
Following the route of Via Appia and an ancient Roman aqueduct. And of course, the railway.
Flying past Capannelle Railway Station.
Going to get one of the trains soon to head into Rome.
Passing by ASD Roma Road Runners Club.
Flying over the Grande Raccordo Anulare, the great ring road around Rome.
Approaching Rome Ciampino Airport.
Rome Ciampino Giovan Battista Pastine International Airport
My Ryanair FR3072 flight arrived at Rome Ciampino Giovan Battista Pastine International Airport at 12.28pm – 58 minutes delayed.
With the delay, the Ryanair landing jingle was not played.
The compact passenger terminal at Rome Ciampino Giovan Battista Pastine International Airport.
Taxiing back to the terminal building.
Unsurprisingly stopped at a remote stand.
As my seat was towards the rear of the aircraft, I used the rear door to disembark, giving me a bit more tarmac time.
Thanks for the flight, Ryanair.
A lane for walking on the tarmac is painted for passengers.
Looking back at 9H-QCL in the Roman heat. After the cool weather in the UK, the heat was a bit of a shock.
Thankfully, a sheltered walkway is provided after crossing the apron road.
Arrival Hall & Immigration
Heading to the arrival hall for Schengen immigration.
While no questions were asked by Italian immigration on my purpose of visit, I was issued with a rather weakly-inked passport stamp for entry, many many pages behind my last empty page. It took me quite a while to find it.
I went back to the immigration officer to ask if this was okay, and he just facepalmed and told me “ciao”, waving me away.
Thankfully, this did not pose a problem for me when exiting Italy (and Schengen area in general) as the outgoing immigration officer didn’t match the entry stamp to stamp me out of the EU anyway.
The public arrival hall followed after baggage reclaim, which was very very compact. I quite like this setting as everything is straightforward.
Bus bays are displayed on the glass door to the exit.
Onward transport is easily visible after stepping out of the arrival hall.
The façade of Rome Ciampino Giovan Battista Pastine International Airport.
London Stansted Airport was a mess to deal with, making it a long day already early in the morning at 4.30am, even delaying my Ryanair flight from having to cope with last-minute passengers to a missed take-off slot.
The flight itself was rather pleasant with the new Zodiac seat and fuss-free experience, which was all I needed for this cheap flight.
The views landing into Rome were unrivalled, and worth the £6 I paid for a window seat on the right side of the aircraft, putting Ryanair at an advantage for using Rome Ciampino Airport for the spectacular landing views.