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How to Survive Europe’s Most Hated Airline!

If you have spent any time in Europe then you will almost certainly have heard of Ryanair. Irish-owned airline Ryanair is the marmite of the skies: you either love them or hate them. Most people fall into the latter category, but I actually love Ryanair.

Why do I love them?

Most simply, because they are cheap.

If it wasn’t for Ryanair I would never have spent four days in Venice for an all-inclusive £150. I wouldn’t have flown the four-hour journey from Tenerife to London for only £40. And if it wasn’t for £55 return flights from Västerås Sweden – London then I wouldn’t get home as often as I’d like.

I’m not saying that Ryanair is my favourite airline. Indeed it’s far from it. But Ryanair delivers exactly what it promises – the cheapest fares across Europe. I have occasionally compared prices of a Ryanair flight to its nearest competitor, but Ryanair is always the cheapest by a large margin. So whether I like it or not, Ryanair is the sensible choice for the traveller on a budget. I tend to think of a Ryanair flight in the same way that I think about catching a bus: there will be some standing in line, there will be pushing when the plane arrives, and the rest of the passengers will look thoroughly miserable for most of the journey.

If you want to take advantage of Ryanair’s cheap flights then you have to play their game. Here are some tips to get you started.

Making a booking on Ryanair’s website is undeniably infuriating but once you have done it a few times then you learn to avoid the pit-falls.

Mastering the website is the trickiest part!
  • Always uncheck the boxes

The Ryanair website will try to add on extras as you book. You will have to uncheck the option that selects travel insurance for you, uncheck the box that adds on a Ryanair approved Samsonite bag and uncheck the box that decides you will want to hire a car on arrival.

  • Read the small-print carefully

Double check the breakdown of your booking BEFORE you proceed to the check-out, then you will know if any extra items such as unwanted travel insurance have been added to your bill. Make sure you have read the luggage allowance rules and have chosen the checked baggage option if you intend to take (or bring back) a lot of items.

  • Remember to check-in online

When you book a Ryanair flight it is essential that you have access to a printer as you will be expected to print off your own boarding card. Failure to do this will result in a hefty fee at the airport.

  • Pack your case according to their instructions

Your checked-in baggage must not exceed the allocated weight allowance and you can’t pool resources, so if your bag is overweight and your travel companion’s under then they won’t just add the two together—you will have to stand to one side and redistribute the weight. This happens to a large majority of Ryanair passengers which considerably slows the check-in process for everybody. The problem would be easily solved if everybody read the rules!

  • Don’t ignore the ‘one-bag’ cabin policy

Ryanair operates a strict ‘one bag’ policy in the cabin. That means that handbag, camera, purse and even items purchased inside the airport have to fit inside your carry-on bag and they will check as you board the plane. What’s more, your bag has to be within the Ryanair specified dimensions and any bag deemed to be larger will have to be placed in the basket to prove that it fits.

  • Pay extra if you want Priority Boarding, or be prepared to wait if you haven’t

Unless you have paid for a Ryanair Priority Boarding pass you will not have allocated seating. If you don’t have the pass then don’t stand in the Priority line. I have seen police called to deal with passengers who refused to move into the other line!

  • Take your own food
You will pay for every extra once you are on the plane. If you don’t want to pay up then bring some snacks on board with you. You will  not be able to take liquids with you through security, so buy those afterwards.
  • Research the Arrivals airport before you book your ticket

To keep costs low most Ryanair flights fly into smaller airports that can be over an hour away from the city you actually planned to visit. Ryanair provide a transport bus so you will be able to reach your destination but you should check beforehand how long the journey from airport to destination will take, especially if you have made plans or onward travel arrangements.

It sounds like a lot to remember but really it’s very simple:

When flying with Ryanair read the rules and stick to them.

If you do this, you will benefit from flights that are cheaper than buses and a surprisingly speedy turnaround for boarding and disembarking.

How do you feel about flying with a budget airline? How much are you prepared to sacrifice for cost? Do you like flying with budget airlines, or would you pay extra for better service? Please share your thoughts below!

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  1. says:

    i have enjoyed reading this side of things. i hear so much negative about the airline and truthfully, have NEVER flown them before because of it (i just pay extra). well i just recently booked a ticket via ryan air because it was dirt cheap and haven’t used it yet…but will next month. it is good to read that really i am the one who determines the experience and not them 🙂 thanks for sharing your views on this!
    Megan recently posted..Let’s Talk About Those Other Thai IslandsMy Profile

    1. Thanks for the comment.

      They have always been fine for me and I really hope that you don’t have a bad experience your first time!

  2. says:

    I completely agree with you, ryanair is great because it’s cheap. Sure they try to get you to pay more whenever they can, but if you follow the rules you can easily avoid extra fees and travel cheap. Which, when you are a student like me, determines whether you can afford to travel at all.
    Idun recently posted..Provoked when visiting Pearl HarborMy Profile

    1. I totally agree. If I had the money to fly Business Class on a good airline, then of course I wouldn’t give Ryanair a backward glance. But if I want to travel Europe on the budget that I have then Ryanair is perfect. Plus all the money saved can then be spent on the trip!!

      Thank you for the comment 🙂

  3. I completely agree with you. Sure, RyanAir isn’t the most pleasant to deal with at times, but I’ve had worse flights and customer service with the big name airlines in the United States and paid about 10 times the fare. RyanAir flights aren’t long haul, and if you have realistic expectations of what you’re getting yourself into, a few hours of unpleasantness is worth the savings!
    Amanda @ Farsickness recently posted..Flashback Friday: The Trip That Gave Me My Gypsy SpiritMy Profile

    1. It’s hard to complain about Ryanair when you’ve paid next to nothing for your flight, isn’t it? I flew Aerolineas Argentinas last year and it was easily worse than any Ryanair flight I have ever been on.

      Take a good book, or a laptop with some movies on it and Ryanair is easily survivable!

      Thank you for the comment!

  4. says:

    This is interesting because I’ve only ever heard people raving positively about how cheap RyanAir is, rather than complaining about the low-budget-airline-style service. I might feel differently if I were using them for a lengthy flight, but for quick trips around Europe, I can definitely deal with it not being my easiest, most comfortable flight ever.
    Jessica recently posted..Why You Don’t Remember Your Last VacationMy Profile

    1. I agree and I actually find that I have no less leg-room on a Ryanair flight than some of the long haul flights I have been on. I can cope with the queues, with the pushing, even the arrogant and obnoxious staff when I know I have hardly paid anything for the flight!

      Thanks for the comment 🙂

  5. Alex says:

    I read just recently that the owner of Ryan Air is thinking of offering standing room seats for as little as 1.50 GBP. He was quoted as saying that seatbealts werent really needed on an airplane, so it shouldnt be a problem to promote this.

    1. He’s been saying that for years now. I think he just likes to say controversial things to keep Ryanair in the headlines, and the media lap it up – free publicity!

      I probably wouldn’t stand on a flight – but for £1.50 I might consider it 🙂

  6. says:

    FINALLY someone who agrees with me PEOPLE HAVE TO STOP MOANING. TBH if idiots wanna pay £100 more for the dickheads at easyjet they are welcome, less morons on my flight.

    I got in an argument with my friend because I wanted to buy £15 Ryanair Tickets from Zadar to Stansted (when we were in Split) and she wanted to buy £40 Easyjet tickets from Zagreb to Gatwick when Zagreb was another 5HOUR bus ride away just to avoid Ryanair.

    Some people are morons.
    George recently posted..22 Things You Didn’t Want to Know About MeMy Profile

  7. Robert Tasher says:

    I am about to take my first flight with Ryanair and I am already underwhelmed. I have just received by booking confirmation email and have gone to the Ryanair website to check in. I have been asked to enter my reservation number and the last four digits of the credit card used to buy my ticket. But the last four digits of the card I used to buy my ticket only give me an error message. Why? Because Ryanair tell me, on the booking confirmation email, that the last four digits of my credit card are entirely different from those on the card that I used. They are indeed numbers that don’t appear on any of my credit or debit cards. Not only that, but when the numbers they have put on the book confirmation email are entered with the reservation number… Yes, you’ve guessed it – they also give me an error message.

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