25 Apr Why I Flew Ryanair Again (And You Probably Will Too)
Several years ago I wrote this post about my Ryanair horror story. I said I wouldn’t fly them again.
I still get comments on that post and I thought it’s time I should come clean. I have something to tell you…
I did. I flew them again. And Again. And Again.
Tail between my legs, I went back to them, boarding a flight from Madrid to Marrakech. Just the once I thought.
Well these are the flights I’ve taken with them since:
2. Marrakech to Madrid
3. Madrid to Marrakech
4. Faro to Manchester
5. Manchester to Dublin
6. Dublin to Manchester
7. Liverpool to Porto
8. Manchester to Oslo
9. London to Dublin
10. Dublin to Manchester
11. Manchester to Dublin
12. Manchester to Dublin
13. Manchester to Milan
14. Manchester to Milan
15. Milan to Manchester
Why did I go back to that many times?
They had the cheapest fare. It’s as simple as that.
It’s easy to say, “Oh I’ll just fly another airline” but when the difference in price is perhaps 100’s of pounds, it’s difficult to see the point in that. It’s kind of like cutting your nose off to spite your face. Take my flight to Oslo for instance- it cost me £19.99! That’s cheaper than a train ticket from Manchester to London.
There are blog posts all over the Internet with Ryanair horror stories and people swearing they will never fly Ryanair again. This is what a quick Google search threw up:
My Ryanair Horror Stories– The Young Adventuress
Why I will NEVER Fly Ryanair Again– Life is a Butterfly.
‘F$ck you Ryanair’– The Travelling Editor
I Hate Ryanair– Euro Trips.
But I’ve found from personal experience, it’s easier said than done. And you know what, I’ve only had one problem with them since and that was actually my own fault; I forgot to check-in online and only realised it about 3 hours before the flight.
Dare I say…well…actually…I might feel mildly lukewarm to Ryanair…perhaps I secretly even like them now…just a teensy little bit? Did I just say that?
I got savvy
I learnt from my mistakes and will now I always scour through the T&Cs, read the baggage allowance policies and make sure I follow the rules to the letter. I have a cabin bag that fits the Ryanair measurements and I always weigh it before I leave the house. I pre-book extra bags if I need to travel with more stuff, I check-in online and print 2 copies of my boarding pass for good measure, just in case I lose one.
They got nicer
Years ago when I had my disastrous Ryanair experience, I found the Ryanair staff at the airport to be rather rude. When I flew to Porto they even marched up and down the line at the boarding gate with a cardboard box, asking people to put their carryon bag inside it to make sure it was the right size. I had to stuff my bag in that metal cage at the front just to prove it could fit, but the lady claimed it had to go in and out smoothly, so I ended up removing my books. These days they seem much more relaxed and friendly, and I no longer feel like I’m at a military checkpoint. They don’t demand to weigh my bags or get out the tape measure.
They let me take a second bag for free, and that’s kind of nice
The airline has recently eased its cabin bag rules and you can now take a free second bag. It makes such a difference because I can carry a separate handbag without having to squeeze it inside my carryon. I tend to travel with a DSLR camera which is quite bulky, so it’s great that I don’t have to worry about slinging it over my shoulder.
They Fly out of my home Airport
My local airport is Manchester Airport and over the years Ryanair has expanded the number of destinations I can fly to from Manchester. With Ryanair right on my doorstep, I can jet off to Europe like I’m catching a bus.
They improved that ugly website
The old Ryanair website was pretty hideous and an example of some really shocking web design. They finally gave it a makeover and now not only does it look a damn sight better, it’s also much more simple to use and I can actually find information on it! I don’t have waste time ticking boxes, opting out of things and generally getting frustrated over the booking process.
Some tips for flying Ryanair
- Wear your luggage– At TBEX conference in Denver I was given a Scottevest. I thought I would never wear it, but I’ve found it really useful for Ryanair flights. It has lots of different internal pockets, so I can wear my Kindle, my phone, my chargers, my passport, my tickets, my adaptors, my sunglasses…everything that takes up room and adds weight. Take that Ryanair!
- Check-in online– ALWAYS remember to check-in online up to 4 hours before your flight, otherwise this can prove costly. There is an option to check-in at the airport, but it will cost you a handsome fee of €70!
- Pay for your bags online- If you need to check-in a bag, pay for them online when you book, or add a bag to your booking in the Manage Reservation section. It’s more expensive if you add a bag at the airport. The bag drop closes 40 minutes before departure, so make sure you get to the airport on time to drop your bag.
- Don’t forget to print your boarding pass- If you don’t print your boarding pass at home, they’ll charge you a fee at the airport to print it!
- Measure and weigh your bags– Ryanair can be strict with the baggage allowance, so get a tape measure out and measure your bags. Pop them on the scales to make sure they’re not overweight, otherwise it will cost you €10 per kilo in excess baggage!
- Travel light and fly with carryon– The current allowance is one cabin bag per passenger (excluding infants travelling on their parents lap) weighing up to 10kg with maximum dimensions of 55cm x 40cm x 20cm, plus 1 small bag up to 35 x 20 x 20 cms. If your carry on bag is too big, it will cost €60 to be put in the hold.
- They only take 90 bags- If you’re travelling with carry on, they can only take 90 bags. If Ryanair know they are going to have too many bags the staff will start walking down the line, asking people if they don’t mind having their cabin bags put in the hold for free. I usually try and blend in to the background at this point so that they don’t approach me! Other times I’ve noticed that if you’re one of the last few people to board the plane they will just put a tag on your bag without even asking you, which says your bag is to go in the hold. If they do this you have to leave it out on the tarmac for them to take away. To avoid this happening to you, make sure you’re at the front of the line at the boarding gate.
- Keep the extras down– When you go through the booking process Ryanair will try to add on extras like bags, insurance and car rentals, so if you’re trying to keep the costs down you might want to check these haven’t been added to your total at the checkout.
- Avoid paying by credit card when booking– you’ll incur a transaction fee of 2% of the total. Pay by debit card instead if you can.
- Check what airport you’r flying into– Ryanair often flies into secondary airports that are far outside the cities, but the plus side is they usually offer shuttle buses that can take you into the city for a fee. Check what airport you’re flying into and make sure you plan accordingly.
- Priority boarding is a waste– I’ve flown with priority boarding before and thought it wasn’t worth it. Yes I was allowed to skip the line, but I then just had to wait on the bus for everyone else before being whisked to the plane.
- Ryanair now has allocated seating– It used to be the case that there was no allocated seating, so you had to rush to get a seat on the plane. Now there’s allocated seating, so you can pay to choose your seats at the time of booking, or the airline will allocate a seat for you when you check-in online. If you’re travelling with friends or family and want to sit together it might be a good idea to pre-book your seats, but Ryanair flights are short so you could just skip it to save some cash.
There are still things that annoy the hell out of me about Ryanair- that trumpet sound upon landing being one of them- but I know that while the fares are cheap, I’ll continue my love/hate relationship with them.
What do you think of Ryanair? Do you have any stories? I’d love to hear your comments!