I flew with Ryanair three times during my adventures in Europe this year. My advice is, know how to play their game. Yes, they are budget. Yes, everything and anything will be at additional cost. As long as you know what to expect and are informed you should have no issues.
The most important thing you used to have to know when traveling with Ryanair was to PRINT YOUR BOARDING PASSES! A friend of mine told me how his mate didn’t do this and was going to be charged more than his entire flight cost at the airport because he hadn’t brought his boarding pass with him, so he just didn’t bother flying. I believe the fee actually was somewhere around 70 GBP (130 AUD or 88 EUR). I rechecked this and it seems as of July 2014 it is now 15 GBP (28 AUD or 19 EUR).
There is also a new Ryanair app, probably to compete with that of Easyjet’s, which according to their website you can apparently use now when checking in but as always, consult their site for up to date information to ensure you know the most current fees and information.
Before I booked my first Ryanair flight I read many reviews and did a lot of research to make sure I wasn’t going to get slugged with any fees for not adhering to their baggage rules. I would be checking a bag that weighed around 15 kg for all my flights (which I pre-purchased online when booking) and had a small backpack as a carry on so it was irirly simple and I had no troubles.
My experiences with Ryanair include the following:
1. Girona (Barcelona) to Marrakech, Morocco
2. Marrakech, Morocco to Seville, Spain
3. Budapest, Hungary to Rome (Ciampino), Italy
When I arrived at Rome (Ciampino) airport it took 40 minutes for our luggage to surface out of the carousel. I’m not sure if this was a Ryanair issue or an airport issue but either way it was pretty annoying. Otherwise, all luggage experiences were fine.
There wasn’t many options leaving Barcelona for Marrakech the days surrounding the date I needed to be in Morocco, which is why I decided to go with Ryanair. They leave from Girona, although its branded as Barcelona on their website, it is another place completely and located around an hour away from the city. I took a shuttle bus to the airport, which is almost predominately operated by Ryanair, from the bus station in Barcelona. It was about 12 EUR for a one way fare from memory, so do factor this time and cost into a decision to fly with the airline from ‘Barcelona’.
All of the staff I encountered with the airline were polite and friendly. Ryanair flight attendants serve refreshments and meals on board for an additional fee. The only thing I tried on any of the flights was a couscous which was perfectly edible.
This sounds petty, but one of the most annoying things I found on Ryanair was the cabin interior. It’s this awful yellow colour which is distracting and a bit in your face. Perhaps more irritating though, was the absence of a pocket on the seat in front of you, meaning if you want to read something there’s no place to put it but under the seat in front instead.
The seats are the usual you would expect from a budget carrier and the leg room is all right, nothing too out of the ordinary on either of these factors. One flight I happened to be placed in the exit row though by sheer luck since I didn’t pre-purchase seating, jackpot!
Ryanair is generally good value for money and you are getting what you pay for since they often have very low cost fares available to a multitude of destinations around Europe. It’s a no frills, budget service and although you’re probably never going to be overjoyed with the experience, it could certainly be much more frustrating than it is. In fact, this year they seem to be making strides in trying to really improve their brand in regards to customer satisfaction and if I needed a cheap flight, I would certainly use them again.
Image credit: corporate.ryanair.com