Did my tabloid style title attract your attention? An important note – this article is not sponsored or written for any profit. Bear in mind however, that it may be filled with my own opinions and biases, intertwined with the actual facts. Bottom line: read with caution and use your common sense!
I have flown with Ryanair more than 100 times on various routes since 2015, and I believe that this qualifies me to share my views, tips and tricks, based on an actual experience.
I recently joined the Ryanair Facebook group, and reading through some of the negative comments there literally made me cringe – I wanted to write about Ryanair for a long time, but I feel that now is the time.
Pilots – you do not have direct contact with them, but they will tell you about the weather or turbulences. Always polite, apologetic if needs be, and easy to understand.
Tip: If a pilot announces a message to expect turbulence, in the vast majority of cases there will be. General rule, the closer your destination to the Mediterranean Sea/coast/island is, the more “bumps” to be expected.
Cabin crew – I have never met a rude Ryanair steward or stewardess. They are kind and polite, but at the same time, they certainly know how to deal with a rude customer. They are well trained, and it is a pleasure to observe them working together. You can feel that they really get on with each other too.
Tip: A simple truth: be kind and respectful, and you will receive kindness and respect.
I wanted also to raise a point of the cabin crew “looks”. There is a certain expectancy, that both man and woman stewardess have to be of certain height, build or body weight. With Ryanair, you will meet ordinary people, not “perfect” looking with the “right” measurements people. Everyone is beautiful in their own way, and it is refreshing to see it there. It also makes an interaction or a conversation more natural and a little less formal.
Ryanair has one of the most generous baggage policy from all cheap flights providers in Europe. You are allowed two pieces of baggage, without paying anything extra. The cabin baggage sizes are sufficient for almost everyone for a week or two trip, without the need for checked-in large baggage.
Tip: Ryanair has now changed the baggage policy, to allow both baggage in the cabin, only with the Priority boarding. That actually changes very little and makes it even better! It is a lot more convenient to take only a small baggage on board, and the larger one will be handled for you. You do not have to search for a free space in the cabin, carry it up the stairs at your destination, and it will be a lot easier to get off the plane. Waiting an extra 5 minutes to pick up your baggage later, is a small trade-off for that free “butler service”.
I am fortunate enough to have 3 airports within 1h-1.5h radius from me to fly with Ryanair. Having said that, if you live relatively close to any big city in Europe (and who isn’t?), you are almost guaranteed to be able to fly with Ryanair. They are also expanding their list of destinations constantly.
Tip: An important point to make: some airports can be quite far from the city centre! For instance, in Stockholm, it was over an hour in a bus to the centre and the bus ticket was not cheap either. On the other hand, this could be a blessing. Most times, I rent a car and go “far from the crowd”. It is a lot easier to do that from the airport, which is further away from the city centre.
There is no secret that Ryanair has some (if not the most) competitive prices you can find, for flying in Europe. This alone is a good reason to fly with them.
You could find really amazing deals. We went for many weekend breaks for less than £60 for two people return. I could write a separate article on how to beat “the best price hunt game”. For now, here are a few tips:
Tip: Planning is everything when it comes to flying; you will not find a “last minute” amazing price. Most of our flights, we booked months in advance. We booked some in half-year’s advance too.
Tip: Avoid high peak season, if you can. Just a week’s difference would make a massive savings.
Tip: Due to so many flight destinations with Ryanair, it is worth considering flying to the town close by, and then travel by land on the cheap. You will find an example of this “strategy” here – “Florence Detour”
Finding the best fare requires time, dedication, a bit of luck, and some “out of the box” thinking.
5. Ryanair is not BA, Virgin, Emirates or other
The entire advertising campaign has been built on the premise of choosing the “right” flight provider. It is not difficult to notice that most media (in the UK) are now biased against cheap providers, and promote the likes of BA or Emirates. I have nothing against them as such, but I do not find it logical to pay so much more for my 2-4h flights. I prefer to spend the remainder on the things at the actual destination.
In the end, Ryanair makes travel available to many more people, not only to a few privileged.
6. Travel extras
I book two the most expensive “extras” through Ryanair: parking and car rental. You will not find it cheaper elsewhere – not that I didn’t try! It is convenient, practical, and the most economical way. It is not uncommon to be able to book cars for less than £7/day. You will also find parking cheaper than directly from the airport.
Tip: If you want to sit next to your partner, you must book and pay extra for your seats. If booked in advance you can find £2 or £4/seat deals. For me, there are two best places for seats. The first is right behind the middle (row 15, 16 or 17) for the most comfortable flight. The second is at the back, normally the cheapest, and also the quickest way to exit the airplane.
Tip: Car excess insurance is expensive at Ryanair. Buy your own elsewhere. You can buy an annual car excess insurance for £40 online. At Ryanair, or at the car rental desk, it is normally about £10/day.
The vast majority of Ryanair planes arrive on time. Sure, there are occasional delays, but in my experience, even if there is a 1-2h delay on £50 return ticket – it is nothing I will lose sleep over.
The longest delay experience, I had in Venice. It was actually quite unusual. As it happened, all airport passengers had to be transferred directly from one airport’s runway to a different airport all together. The whole operation took a few hours, but instead of cancelling the flight, Ryanair made it work. Well done.
8. Mixture of customers
First Class, Business Class, or the other – all mixed with Ryanair. Sure there is a “Priority Boarding”, but in the end, all end up in the same place. One time, you will be sitting next to the business woman, and another, by a bodybuilder. It is interesting to observe – put a mix of people from all backgrounds in one large metal box, and see what happens. Almost like MasterCard advert – priceless (to watch).
Tip: When you hear the “check-in is now open message” at the airport, you will quickly notice long forming queues to the check-in desk. Relax, your seat is reserved, waiting for you, and no one else will take it. Take a seat in the vicinity of the desk, and wait for the queue to clear. Then, at the end, you can go and check in. It takes out the stress of queuing, and lets you catch up with the book you always wanted to read!
Ryanair takes safety very seriously. The will ask you to put down your headphones for the safety presentation, and they will make sure your belt is on. There is absolutely no quibbling with them when it comes to safety – do as you’re told.
Tip (or uncomfortable truth for some): Planes fly mostly on autopilot; especially during difficult weather conditions. It includes starting and landing. The computer can make it better than a human. I hope you are ready for self-driving cars.
It can turn this:
In 2 hours or less.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.
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