Tips for Flying Ryanair
When you think of budget airlines I bet Ryanair is one of the first ones that comes to mind, isn’t it? They advertise prices so low that you figure they can’t be true. Well, they are…sort of. Flying Ryanair can be cheap but it can also test your fine print reading skills and the limits of your patience. Make a wrong move and it could cost you. I recently made my first two trips with the discount carrier and I wanted to share a few things I learned.
Choosing and buying the flight
The first thing to know is that the advertised cost of your ticket really only includes getting your physical person and two cabin bags from point A to point B. That’s it. It doesn’t even include your boarding pass so be sure that you’re handy to a printer before you leave.
They’re serious about being A->B only too. There are signs at the ticket desks telling you not to try to book a connecting flight as they can’t help ensure you make it. Miss your self-made connection? Well, you’ll have to buy a whole new ticket. And there’s a fee for buying at the airport of course.
If you know you’ll be checking a bag, pay for it in advance when you buy your ticket because it’ll be more expensive at the airport. You can choose the amount of weight you’d like to check. Standard suitcase will generally land in the 20kg level (44lbs). It actually cost more for my suitcase to fly from Ibiza to Barcelona than it did for me. Oh well, girl’s gotta have her shoes.
There’s a small chance you can get out of paying altogether if you’re from the EU. Just pay an extra €2 to spin the wheel to get your flight for free. I wonder if anyone actually wins? Probably the person booking the €20 flight and I bet winning doesn’t cover fees.
Make sure your plans are solid because if you need to make a change to your itinerary, you might be better just buying a whole new ticket.
Double check which airport they fly into. Ryanair can say that’s fly to Paris, for example, but it’s actually Beauvais. PITA (pain in the ass) factor is high in getting to or from there. I chose to go Aer Lingus for that leg instead because they flew into Charles de Gaulle, which was a lot more convenient.
Before You Go to the Airport
Check in online. This is a must. If you wait to check in for your flight at the airport you’re going to be facing a €70/£70 fee for the privilege. Just need your boarding pass? That’s €15/£15 please.
Note: if you happen to be flying out of the UK, expect the same fees, just switch € for £. So you’re going to be paying about 20% more.
Online check-in opens 30 days before flights, which I thought was great because that meant that I wouldn’t have to find a printer while travelling. Except… For that first week, you can only complete check in if you oh choose a seat, for a fee of course. In my case it was €3 for one flight and €5 for the other.
You’re going to use your credit card to pay for that right? Yeah, there’s a fee for that. 2% of the ticket price.
At the Airport
Hope you like lining up. As soon as the gate is announced, everyone lines up, even though boarding won’t start for at least 20 minutes and everyone has an allocated seat. Paid for priority boarding? There’s a line for that too. There’s no rhyme or reason with boarding so it’s all rows, all the time.
Thought you were being smart flying carry-on only? Staff came through the boarding line on my two flights and gate checked most rolling bags. You got to stand in the priority line in exchange…along with half the flight. You could try to refuse but they’ll probably come back later and insist. But this isn’t even the gate check where you pick it up on the jetway on your way out. Nope. You’re going to have to go to the baggage carousel and wait with all us schmucks who checked a bag.
Shocking no one, there’s nothing free on board a Ryanair flight. They charge €3 for a newspaper. Any drinks or snacks are extra, even water. Need bus tickets to Dublin City Center? €6 one-way, €10 return – same price as on the bus. How about perfume? Gifts? Toys? Yep, they sell all those on board too. Don’t forget the scratch tickets for charity. Flight attendants make the trip up and down the aisle with these as well.
Would I Fly With Them Again?
Maybe. Even with all the fees they were still cheaper than other airlines and the flight itself was actually more comfortable than some other flights I’ve had with bigger airlines. Make no mistake, they’ll be trying to get their hands into your wallets at every turn from the time you buy the ticket to the time you get off the plane but you can usually swat them away. You do have to be careful though. A slip up could cost you a lot.
Have you flown with Ryanair? Do you have any tips?