Thursday, September 30, 2010

Idiot’s Guide to Flying Ryanair in 10 Steps

Most people have heard of Ryanair, some for good reasons, others for bad. Having flown with them over 40 times and more than 20 in the last six months alone, I am an avid fan and can attribute much of my travels to the low prices of flights on Ryanair.

How can Ryanair run a profitable airline if they charge 1p a flight?  

I used to get asked questions like this. Ryanair has to pass the same safety standards that all the other European airlines have to pass, so they don’t save money by skimping on safety.

1. First of all Ryanair's target market is not your grandma who doesn’t have a computer or internet. You have to buy your ticket online and then do the online check in and print your boarding pass to avoid extra fees, so you at least need a grandchild who can do this for you.

Ryanair Charity Calendar April - Nicola
2. The Ryanair website is easy enough to use for someone who knows their way around the internet enough to find my blog. The difference is when you go to buy a flight you need to be aware of what options are pre-selected for you and actually read what you are agreeing to.

3. Ryanair charges for paying with anything other than a Prepaid Mastercard. So if you are thinking of flying with Ryanair a few times it is worth getting a Prepaid Mastercard, or like I did, finding a friend who has one and asking if you can borrow it :) The charge is £5 pounds per person each leg of your journey so for a return flight that is £10 extra.

I flew to Venice from London for £8.02. A penny each way for the flight and
£8 for the credit card charge a couple of years ago. This was back when I was still an amateur traveller, I don’t pay the extra credit card charges anymore. 

4. Hand luggage can be a maximum of 15 kilos and has to fit inside their luggage sizer, which I have done over 20 times now, and my backpack just fits if I pack it the right way. They are extremely strict on this, if the wheels stick out, you have to pay the £35 charge to check your bag in the hold, so get it right or check your bag. Only one item of carry-on luggage per person. This includes your handbag ladies and your manbags metros.
5. Ryanair sometimes have a scale at the gate to weigh people’s bags. I have come across this twice in my 40 flights with Ryanair, but don’t get caught out, otherwise you will have to do what I did: Start unpacking your bag and putting all your clothes on! There is no restriction on how many clothes you can wear or how full your pockets are. So get those clothes out and wrap them around your neck if you have to like a scarf!

6. Priority boarding is a waste of time and money. I once saw some people pay for priority only to find we all had to get on a bus to go to the plane from the gate, so the bus had the priority people and the rest of us on it, needless to say they weren’t given priority getting off the bus.

7. When you are doing the online check in make sure the details are correct, get your passport expiry date correct and your name otherwise it costs money to fix it, like £100!
The travel insurance drop down box needs to be changed to ‘No Thanks’ and checked in baggage to 0. 

Ryanair Cabin
8. The airports Ryanair fly’s from are normally small airports not in the city center, so you have to get a bus from the airport to the city or another form of transport, local bus companies normally coordinate their schedule around Ryanair arrivals as this is where they get their business, but factor this cost in when traveling.

9. Don’t call Ryanair, they don’t want to be phoned, as it costs them money to employ people to answer your call and as such they cleverly get the money back when you call their customer service by charging you £1 a minute. Take the hint and don’t call!

10. Always check the terms and conditions on anything you agree to. It is what we call “common sense” in England, sadly it isn’t very common anymore. If you hate Ryanair because you didn’t read the terms and conditions, stop whinging, you get what you pay for, and if you are unsure what that is you deserve their excess fees. Don’t assume anything.

Happy travels.


  1. I loved flying with Ryanair while I was living in the UK. So, SO much cheaper to get around. Even though most of the airports aren't centrally located, they were easy enough to get to/from if you did your planning. Good tips!

  2. These are good points to make, a clear guide to people how not to pay the 'almost' hidden extras RA are famous for. But the one practice you ca't guard against is if they cancel a flight and force you to pay a walk-up fare on another airine - and offer you as compensation the 1p ticket price (provided you pay them an admin charge).