15 Tips to Survive a Ryanair Flight
Who doesn’t like saving money? I know I certainly do! Ryanair is without a doubt the budget airline to fly with throughout Europe especially if you’re traveling Europe on a budget. I once come across a flight from Bristol to Venice for just £2! However, as with any other budget airline, there are many high-cost fees associated, and well the general act of flying. With that in mind, I’ve decided to compose 15 tips to survive a Ryanair flight!
Purchasing the Ticket
1. Private Browsing
Always, always, always search on a private mode /incognito mode. Using cookies and cache sites track flights you have previously looked at and will not show lower fares because they know you already have an interest in a flight. I’ve probably explained this poorly – but basically its the same thing as when you look at XYZ.com site one day, and then the next day when you’re on Facebook an ad for XYZ.com store pops up on the side – it’s the same mumbo jumbo. Always private browse!
2. Website Location
Whenever booking a flight you should always look at 3 flights using two different country sites and compare prices. For example, say you are flying from the UK to Italy, you should first look up a round trip ticket from Ryanair’s UK site. Then you should look at a one-way fare from U.K. to Italy using Ryanair’s UK site. Lastly, open a new tab and go to Ryanair’s Italian site, and look up the one-way fare for the return portion of the trip (i.e. Italy to U.K.). Keep in mind the return portion will be in local currency (euros in this case) and conversion to pounds will be necessary. It is not always the case but SOMETIMES if you book half of the flight via the departing country’s site, and the other half via the destination country’s site you can save upwards of £10/€10 a person.
3. Payment Matters
While you may be able to utilize X, Y, and Z tricks to save money when booking your flights, don’t forget to be concerned with how you pay. If you pay for a flight in Euros but have a U.K. bank card, expect a foreign transaction card fee from Ryanair in addition to whatever your bank may/may not charge you.
Debit cards are cheaper than credit cards as there is a 2% charge for credit cards.
4. Unaccompanied minors
Ryanair does NOT allow children under 16 to fly on their own. They MUST be accompanied by someone 16 and over.
5. Flying with Families
If a child under 12 is on the reservation it is mandatory that one adult purchases a seat so that their child will get a free seat with them. Up to 4 children will be included in the free seat allocation(rows 18-30) for every 1 adult. Since the adult is required to purchase a seat, the fee is reduced to £4/€4.
6. Reservation Changes
When you purchase your ticket – make sure EVERYTHING is correct. Make sure your name matches your passport to a tee! It will cost you a pretty penny to make changes to your ticket and flight post purchase. Sometimes if you find you had an error – it ends up being cheaper to buy a new flight as opposed to amending a flight.
- A name change fee will cost you £110/€110 during the process, or £160/€160 at the desk per passenger.
- Flight change fees:
- In the low season can range from £30/€30 online to £45/€45 at the desk.
- In the high season, the flight change fees range from £40/€40 online to £60/€60 at the desk.
- If you’re flying internationally to the Canary Islands or the Greek Islands both low and high season fares will be higher!
At the Airport
7. Check in
Check in PRIOR to your flight. Do not wait till you get to the counter. You can check in online or on the Ryanair mobile app. Business plus members can check in at the desk, if you are not it will cost you £45/€45.
If you’ve paid for a seat as opposed to the free allocation you can check in from 30 days prior to your flight up to 2 hours before the scheduled flight.
If you chose to do the free allocated seat you can check in from 4 days prior to your flight up to 2 hours before the scheduled flight.
Business plus customers can check in for free at the desk, but if you’re reading this money saving post on Ryanair – I assume you didn’t pay for a business plus ticket.
8. Boarding Pass
Absolutely Print out your boarding pass prior to your flight. The cost of the ink will definitely be less than the cost of your boarding pass at the counter. If you are an EU/EAA national you can do a mobile boarding pass with the mobile app, if you’re not you have no other choice than to print out your pass or print it at the counter. If you print it out at the counter it will cost you £15/€15.
9. Passport Stamp
If you are a NON-EU/EAA national you MUST get a passport stamp. It will explicitly state it on your boarding pass. There have been horror stories where passengers have failed to get the stamp, made it all way to boarding and were turned away because they didn’t have the stamp – causing them to miss flights and pay exorbitant fees in order to get on another flight. To get the stamp you go right to the Check-in desk for Ryanair and there’s usually one specific lane designated for issuing the stamps. All in all, they’re just confirming your boarding pass information matches with your passport information as one extra step of security. It takes less than 5 minutes, when in doubt just go ask!
10. Boarding process
Speaking of cabin baggage Ryanair only allows 90 cabin bags to be brought onto the plane. If you travel like me and take advantage of the free bag, and you’re trying to minimize time spent at the airport so you can get to your destination sooner -you don’t want to end up waiting in baggage claim. Ryanair doesn’t have an actual boarding process, they operate on a first come first serve basis. While business plus customers do board first, all economy tickets board in the order of which they arrived and queued in line. A.K.A. the minute your gate is released for a Ryanair flight, head over to your gate and queue in line!
11. On the flight
ANY food or drink comes with a fee. Be aware they are not complimentary before you order something! Also if you are one that needs to sleep, bring noise cancellation headphones. You are sure to hear a Ryanair advert blasted over the loudspeakers two or three times on your flight.
12. Transportation at destination
Keep in mind, the reason Ryanair flights are so cheap is mainly due to the fact that they fly OUTSIDE the city center. While you may find a killer deal for £20 round trip, as opposed to a ticket at £30 in a nearer airport, you STILL need to pay for transport to get from the Ryanair airport to the city center. Often most airports are about an hour away from the city center.
13. Wear your luggage
This goes without saying, you ALWAYS wear your heaviest items. Snow boots, winter coats, etc. Honestly, once you make it onto your flight with no problem you can always readjust.
14. Cabin baggage
As with any budget airline flight, you will pay for your bags. Ryanair allows for one bag free of charge plus one personal item. The cabin baggage must be within 55cm x 40cm x 20cm and weigh no more than 10kg. Your personal item can be no larger than 35cm x 20cm x 20cm. If your bag is overweight you will be forced to place it in the aircraft hold and you will have to pay a fee of £50/€50.
15. Checked baggage
Once you have purchased a checked bag allowance you are able to bring 2 checked bags of either 15 kg, or 20 kg depending on what checked allowance you paid for.
- Weight allowance can be pooled! Keep in mind if two people are on a reservation and one person’s bag is overweight, and the other’s is underweight, as long as BOTH bags are under the total weight allowed for two bags that IS ok. You must be on the same reservation.
- Baggage prices depend on routes and sectors.
- If you purchase online, 15 kg bags can range from £10/€10 – £40/€40, and 20 kg bags can range from £10/€10 – £40/€40 + extra £5/€5 – £10/€10.
- If you purchase at the airport – which you never should do, 15 kg bags can range from £25/€25 – £50/€50, and 20 kg bags can range from £25/€25 – £50/€50 + extra £10/€10.
- Overweight bags will cost you £10/€10 per kilo overweight.
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