Re: riding in one of the safest, most reliable spacecraft ever flown
I remember reading a long time ago that Arianne was deliberately built with manned flight in mind. Whether that was a ruse to get the engineers to do a proper quality job or not I don't know, but the end result is certainly very impressive.
There have been brief flirtations with ideas such as putting a mini-shuttle on top of an Arianne, but there's never been a strong enough financial / geopolitical reason to actually go ahead and do it. Russia's manned launcher is just too well established.
Even the Americans are not strongly motivated politically to get back into putting men on rockets. They're doing it very slowly and always with a beady politician's eye on the budget.