AH, the golden age of air travel. Glamorous images of passengers boarding planes dressed in their finery, quaffing in-flight Champagne and caviar, before joyfully arriving at their journey's end looking suitably refreshed.

Not like the crumpled dishcloths that the poor folk attempting to navigate the latest Ryanair debacle no doubt resembled when they finally reached their destinations in recent days.

The low-cost airline has tinkered with its baggage allowance meaning that you now need to pay one fee to check-in a small bag (£8 for up to 10kg), another fee to check-in a large bag (£25 for over 10kg) and must have the correct-sized cabin bag (or – surprise! – pay a fee to put it in the hold).

The upshot of this blatant money-spinning scheme? In a word: chaos. When the rules came into force last week they reportedly sparked lengthy queues that led to some passengers missing flights.

Amid the mayhem Ryanair agreed to waive the fees and said it will allow a grace period of a month before enforcing the policy.

Since the boom of budget carriers in the mid-1990s, there has been frequent bashing of these buses of the skies. Much of the criticism is unjustified. You get what you pay for and if that's no-frills, then so be it.

Then there is Ryanair, a fleet of flying clown cars that when not devising fiendish ways to squeeze cash from its customers, seems to exist only to outdo itself by provoking increasingly mind-boggling headlines.

Some of the antics are downright hilarious such as when Michael O'Leary, the airline's long-standing chief executive, said he was considering putting credit card readers on toilet locks, bringing a whole new meaning to the idea of spending a penny.

But others leave a sour taste, like an incident last month where Ryanair staff failed to remove a racially abusive man from a flight.

I've flown with budget airlines all over the world, but Ryanair is the only one where a suitcase weighing a couple of grams over the specified luggage allowance has been met with unabashed glee at the check-in desk.

I did consider slumping in a corner, glugging down the bottles of wine bought as gifts while donning every item of clothing from ball gowns to bikinis in bid to lighten the load, but eventually – through gritted teeth – coughed up a king's ransom for excess baggage charges.

That pales in comparison to the time I flew on the Ryanair's inaugural flight from Glasgow Prestwick to Bournemouth. Upon arrival, the welcome skirl of bagpipes was drowned out by locals protesting the airline for pulling a route that many relied on to reach their French holiday homes.

A volley of eggs followed as word spread that the late Michael "Kell" Ryan – brother of Ryanair founder Tony Ryan – was among our number. This columnist narrowly avoided being caught in the crossfire.

Still, I'm sure thousands of passengers enjoy a seamless flying experience. Ha! I can't even write that with a straight face. Anyone who flies with Ryanair is a glutton for punishment. These are the same people who probably quite enjoy it when they stub their toe on the bedpost.

O'Leary – a Svengali-like figure who I imagine hatches plots from a lair that wouldn't look out of place among the cribs of Bond villains – famously gives short shrift to the notion of customer satisfaction. A classic gem from the vaults: "You're not getting a refund so f*** off."

On another occasion he said: "All flights are fuelled with Leprechaun wee and my bulls***!"

Some years ago, I read a book about Ryanair by the then Irish Times finance correspondent Siobhan Creaton which revealed that the 200-acre beef farm owned by O'Leary had seen one of its herd of Aberdeen Angus cattle crowned Ireland's "best bull".

The definitive line came from an unnamed source at a rival airline who quipped that they didn't need agricultural experts to tell them "that O'Leary had the best bull".

Hobby horse

DO I need a new hobby? I ask this question because it occurred to me the other day that I'm a bit light on that front. I have my gardening, metal detector and jigsaws. There's the Netflix binges and bucket list of birdwatching but it's mostly, well, pottering.

I'm rapidly going off social media due to the copious number of shouty individuals whose sole goal appears to be whipping themselves into a state of outrage.

Sadly, that has also put the kibosh on many a blissful hour spent watching videos of budding unlikely animal friendships such as a baby sloth hanging out with a cockatiel and so forth. The silver lining is it has freed up time otherwise spent mindlessly scrolling on my phone.

Maybe we all need to consider our hobby choices, not least after a leading surgeon warned last week that fledgling medical students spend so much time on screens that they lack vital practical skills necessary to conduct life-saving operations.

The brilliantly named Roger Kneebone, professor of surgical education at Imperial College London, said that a decline in hands-on pastimes and creative subjects at school has had a detrimental effect on the basic dexterity required to stitch and sew up patients.

Not that I'll be picking up a scalpel any time soon. But it makes you think: what price are screens?

Fireworks dud

MY nerves are shredded courtesy of random fireworks being set off in the streets around my home. I'm not alone. After each ear-splitting bang comes the panicked barking and whimpering of the little dog that lives next door. And it's not even November 5 yet.

I've long been of the mind that the rules around the sale of fireworks – widely available to buy in shops across Scotland from October 15 to November 10 – are far too lax. Why does it need to be three whole weeks before Bonfire Night?

At risk of sounding like a Mumsnet post, a handful of days in advance would surely suffice. You can't legislate for the selfishness of others, so why not nip it in the bud altogether?