Travel Tip Tuesday: Mastering RyanAir

Travel Tip: RyanAir’s budget-friendly costs are great – just beware of hidden costs!

Why It’s Important: There’s no denying that RyanAir is a great deal – I recently scored 50 Euro round-trip plane tickets to Rome and $68 tickets to London. The trip to Greece that we just took was a mere $120 round-trip. Amazing!! That is until the costs start piling up to a point where you aren’t saving any money. To be able to operate as a low-cost airline, obviously RyanAir is going to need to find ways to make up for the incredibly low airfare costs you enjoy when booking the flight. As long as you understand those going in, RyanAir can still be a great deal!

The budget-friendly airline - worth the cost, if you plan ahead!

The budget-friendly airline – worth the cost, if you plan ahead!

When you book the flight, the first cost you see will be the airline ticket. On the following pages comes the additional costs. The first will be if you want to book a “priority seat” or not. If you choose not too, the experience will be a bit of a cattle call. You wait until those with a priority seat boards the plane first, and then you will be next – finding seats with the general masses. (In what I see as a bit of a slap in the face, the option to not choose a seat also means you use the back door of the plane.)

If you choose to pick a seat, plan on paying either 15E or 10E depending on the location. When we’ve flown RyanAir, we’ve always opted to pay the price of the priority seat. In my opinion, it is definitely worth the price to avoid any headaches of the pushing for seats. I’d rather get to my seat and get settled. But if you don’t mind it, you can avoid those seating costs right off the bat.

RyanAir is interesting in that you usually have to walk out to the plane or take a bus to it.

RyanAir is interesting in that you usually have to walk out to the plane or take a bus to it.

The next option you have is picking whether or not you will be checking a bag. If you are, you are given two weight options with the heavier obviously costing more. We learned an expensive lesson on our way home from Greece this last weekend when it came to luggage. When we flew out, we did some good packing and managed to abide by the carry-on rules avoiding any undue fees. We knew we would be checking at least one bag on the way home as we planned to buy bottles of Olive Oil that would no doubt bust the 100ml rule. But, I knew the checked bag would only be 35E because of the low weight so I was a bit surprised when it turned out it would actually be 50E. Apparently, what we should have done was go online and pay the checked bag fee there (but only up to 2 hours before the flight), otherwise, it is considered a gate check bag and the price goes up. Even though I had already checked us in for the flight home (RyanAir allows a 30-day to 2 hrs pre-flight check-in) and I had printed our boarding passes, I still could have gone in and paid the lower checked bag fee. Lesson learned!

If you look close, you will see the cock-pit door open. Pretty unheard of in the states, but the pilot door remains open until just before take-off!

If you look close, you will see the cock-pit door open. Pretty unheard of in the states, but the pilot door remains open until just before take-off!

The next optional fee will be whether or not you want to pay for transportation once you reach your destination. Most of the time this is a no, but it may be the best option depending on where you are going. Some of RyanAir’s airports are not mainstream and therefore a bit farther out. In Dublin, it flew right into the main airport, so we didn’t need transportation – same for Greece. However, I’ll be going to London with a friend next month and the airport is a bit out of town. It was a better deal to pay for the RyanAir transport than pay the high London train costs. Do a little research before deciding on this one!

Those are the main costs you will face pre-booking. The fun – and amusing ones – come on board. Again, this is not an airline that is going to offer complimentary snacks and beverages, so it is best to plan ahead and bring snacks with you. Beverages are trickier as airport gift shops have notoriously high prices, so you may be better off waiting until you are on the flight.

The RyanAir menu - it is an entire book of items you could order!

The RyanAir menu – it is an entire book of items you could order!

Now, while flying to Greece, we flew during “Happy Hour” so most items were half off, which at that point isn’t a bad deal. In fact, it is entertaining looking through this booklet. When we flew a year ago to Dublin, they even offered smokeless cigarettes but those have since been removed. You still can get a number of interesting items though – including lottery scratch-offs and perfume! (Although I could have done without the noisemaker toys they sold to kids…why this seems like a good idea, I have no idea!)

The menu!

The menu!

Those are clearly all optional and best avoided due to high inflation – if nothing else, the multiple sales pitches throughout the flight are at least amusing!

So, if you opt not to book a seat, check a bag, use their transportation or buy snacks or goods – the cost is unbeatable. And even adding one or two of those choices won’t break the bank. With a little planning, RyanAir will still be the best deal out there.

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