Photo credit: RyanAir
So, I have become quite familiar with three of the main budget airlines in Europe. I live fairly close to London Stansted, London Luton and London Southend airports and there are the three main airlines that operate from these airports – RyanAir, EasyJet and WizzAir. So over the next few weeks, I will be posting reviews of each one, you might be surprised to see which one I despise and which ones I love!
Without further ado, lets get started with my most used airline – RyanAir!
RyanAir gets a lot of bad press, especially in the UK where many people deem it to be the worst of the budget airlines. I on the other hand absolutely love RyanAir and don’t have many bad things to say about them at all.
Avoid “Extra Charges”
Now you may have heard that RyanAir add lots of “extra charges” to your booking. This has never been the case for me. You just need to know what you’re looking at.
- You will be presented with lots of pages after you have booked your flight asking you if you would like to have these “optional extras” such as car rental, travel insurance etc. Just answer no to each of these and use your common sense. Of course it’s going to be cheaper to look for travel insurance through websites such as MoneySuperMarket. Nobody is forcing you to take the optional extras!
- Do not use websites such as “edreams” to book RyanAir flights. My mum had quite the shock when they wanted to add £80 to her flights just for booking through them! I tend to look at the flights through SkyScanner which then re-directs you to the RyanAir website where you will book the flights directly.
- Food and drink will cost you extra on the flight. Is it really neccessary to buy that sandwhich and drink? Most RyanAir flights are around 2 hours long, so by the time they have taken your order for the panini, then been down the rest of the plane collecting orders, then prepared the panini and delivered it to your seat, you now only have 20 minutes to eat the food before rubbish is cleared away and the flight lands. Plan ahead, buy food at the airport which will be cheaper and can be eaten at your own leisure, or even better – bring a sandwich from home to save money! Obviously the same can not be done for drinks due to liquid rules.
- Large cabin bag – size 55 cm x 40 cm x 20 cm- FREE!
- Small cabin bag – size 35 cm x 20 cm x 20 cm – FREE!
- Checked in baggage – Subject to charges.
Now baggage is where RyanAir absolutely tops the list of budget airlines for me. Not only do you get to bring on a cabin bag (size 55 cm x 40 cm x 20 cm) for free, you can also then carry on a smaller bag (i.e. a handbag up to the size 35 cm x 20 cm x 20 cm) for free too!
Checked-in items will have a charge and the price currently depends on the popularity of the flight, the location etc.
However from June 2016, the current system of 108 charging brackets with 6 different price bands will be replaced with a fixed fee of £30 for a 20kg bag.
A lot of people moan about this, but if I am using a budget airline, it’s because I’m going somewhere in Europe for a few days and therefore only need a cabin bag. If you’re going somewhere for longer and need a larger checked-in piece of luggage, you may wish to shop around for the best deals.
However, I found that in most cases, having a cheaper airline and paying for baggage still worked out cheaper than flying with some of the more expensive airlines with free baggage!
I have never had any issues with the on-flight customer service. The flights are short and the drinks/food trolleys have a lot of people to see within that time, things are busy but they have always remained professional.
The one area where RyanAir exceeded themselves for me is their online webchat. A few of my friends once gifted me a RyanAir voucher (best birthday present ever!) and I completely forgot to redeem it when making my next booking. I simply gave them my voucher reference and within a week,the £50 had been refunded to my bank account – brilliant!
A lot of people moan about the large fees if you have to change a name on the booking. This is something that I recently looked into as one of my friends isn’t sure whether he will be able to make my planned trips later this year. The fee for renaming the boarding pass is £110 – yes, that’s steep! But I read into it more and the reason behind this makes sense to me! If there was no fee, people would buy up the ridiculously cheap flights (Ryanair often sell off £10 tickets in sales etc) and then re-sell these for more money like people do notoriously for concert tickets. The £110 renaming fee stops this and I’m okay with this!
Comfort of the Planes
Let’s not beat around the bush, the inside of RyanAir planes are UGLY. The dark blue and yellow colour scheme is not a good combination, the material of the chairs looks horrible and the uniform of the staff isn’t flattering at all.
But you know what? I don’t care! The job of an airline is to get me from A to B, not to aesthetically please me the entire way! The planes are relatively comfortable for a short haul flight (they only do short haul flights, so don’t worry about that!), nothing to write home about but nothing to complain about either!
4/5 gold stars from me – thanks for feeding my cheap flight addiction RyanAir!
Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post and all thoughts are my own.
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