I’m sure that I told you that I went to Belgium.
But did I tell you that I flew there.
Via a budget airline.
And not just any airline mind you.
A few years ago, I had a horrible experience flying with Norwegian and Vueling.
For the very first time too!
I don’t know how I get myself into these weird situations.
And they always seem to follow me around.
In fact, I made a vow never to fly a budget airline ever again.
Except for easyJet!
And by all accounts, I kept my word.
This time around, I decided to take him to Belgium, and I’ll tell you all about it next week!
Right now, I want to tell you about Ryanair.
You only have to google it, and you’ll come up with thousands and thousands of reports.
Some of them very good.
Most of them awful!
I hear you thunder.
It hasn’t been the same for me.
I’m not an expert or anything!
But I’ve flown with Ryanair a few times.
And I’ve never had a problem with the airline.
The first time I flew with Ryanair was a €4.99 return flight Berlin – Birmingham – Berlin.
And that was it.
‘Mind you, the tax was about 20 quid!
So a grand total of €24.99!
I was perfectly fine with that!
I was a little nervous.
We flew Berlin-Brussels-Berlin and paid altogether, just €102,37.
And that included one suitcase (both ways) and paid-for alllocated seating, so that we were sure to be sitting together!
Not only that, but there was even an early booking discount too!
€50.00 each for a return flight to Brussels, surely wasn’t too bad!
For our forth-coming family trip, we paid €456.94 for three (3) people.
The flights themselves cost us a mere €32.63 each from Berlin.
And €69.36 each from Bucharest.
Altogether costing €305.94, or a little over €102 per person, which I thought was pretty fair.
The killer was the luggage fee.
A very harsh €130.00 for 2 bags. That’s €65.00 per person, or €30/€35 each way!
We could have actually paid less, but we were still undecided as to how many suitcases we wanted to take, so I didn’t add them to our initial booking.
On reflection, that was a mistake.
If I remember correctly, the luggage charge would have been €18.00 each way. Per person. By the time, we actually decided, and I logged on the next day, it had increased to €30.00 – €35.00 per person!
So we booked two suitcases instead.
And well, it wasn’t too bad as we only ended up paying €22.00 more.
We also opted to pay €21.00 (€3.50 per person each way) – for reserved seating, as my husband didn’t fancy sitting next to a drunk neighbour!
One hears stories!
WHAT IS A BUDGET AIRLINE?
A budget airline, otherwise known as a low-cost carrier, low-cost airline, or discount carrier, is an airline without most of the traditional services provided in the fare, resulting in very low fares and less comfort!
The airline would thus operate with fewer “luxuries” such as checking-in your own luggage at “BagDrop,” printing out your Boarding Card from home, weighing and putting the airport labels on your luggage, removing the seat-back video screen, not offering complimentary food, drink or in-flight entertainment, or if they do, then a snack rather than a meal, or drinks served in cups, rather than the (mini) bottle.
Think poor ol’ Air Berlin.
Air Berlin was really a budget airline that tried to aspire to the heights of a market-acclaimed scheduled airline.
In the olden days, they were called “economy” airlines, but not any more!
WHAT IS A NO-FRILLS BUDGET AIRLINE?
A no-frills budget airline is an airline in which non-essential features have been utterly removed to keep the price low.
To make up for the revenue lost in decreased ticket prices, the airline operates a lower cost structure arising from removing services such as complimentary food, in-flight entertainment, business-class seating, reclining seats, window blinds, and in-flight magazines.
They can also reduce operation cost by “sharing” on the ground airline staff, reducing the size of seats, using less popular airports, flying in the wee or early hours of the night or day, only operating during mid or high season, using a single type of aircraft, a faster turnaround, selling scratch cards and advertising, and charging for “extras” such as food, basic beverages, priority boarding, seat allocation, upgrades, luggage, and using the airport check-in desk!
In short, they’re not going to make you bring your own seat, but it’s pretty close!
WHAT IS RYANAIR?
Ryanair is an Irish no-frills budget airline founded in 1984, with it’s HQ Head in Dublin.
Ryanair operates more than 400 Boeing 737-800 aircrafts, serves 34 countries in Europe, Africa (Morocco), and the Middle East (Israel and Jordan) and is often in the press because of it’s rapid expansion, it’s controversial features, and the success of its low-cost business model.
HOW TO MAKE FLYING WITH RYANAIR MORE PLEASANT!
- CHECK-IN ONLINE:
- It’s easy to do. You can either go to the Ryanair website or check-in by downloading and using the Ryanair App via your smartphone, ipad, or laptop. Just follow the step-by-step guide, with your reservation number and email address used to make the booking, at hand. If you’re non-EU, other rules might apply. Liz Carlson – Young Adventuress – was shocked to discover that as an American, she couldn’t check-in online and ended up having to pay an extra €200 for one flight, and not being allowed to go on the plane altogether! If you’re non-EU, please confirm with the airline!
- DON’T FORGET! If you’re an EU Citizen, you MUST check-in BEFORE you get to the airport counter. If you don’t, you could be liable to pay a minimum airport check-in fee of €55/£55 per person!
2. PRINT OUT BOARDING PASS:
- THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT: If you don’t, or can’t access your boarding pass, you might be forced to buy another ticket! My friend KemKem & her husband – Next Bite of Life – had a horrendous time when she couldn’t log on at the airport, and show her mobile boarding pass
- You have been warned!
3. READ ALL THE INSTRUCTIONS:
- Loads of people get caught out, because they weren’t aware that Ryanair has smaller bag sizes, and that the airline charges for pretty much everything
- But the thing is. It was right there. They said it on their website
But did you read it?
Did you ‘eck?
4. LEAVE PLENTY OF TIME:
- All UK / Irish airlines, are strict about closing the check-in counter 40 minutes before the flight, so if you haven’t checked in, aren’t at the airport, sent in your luggage, etc, you won’t be taking that flight
- That counts for easyJet, British Airways, Virgin Airlines, or any other UK / Ireland -based airline
5. BE AWARE OF AIRPORT LOCATIONS:
- Budget airlines are cheap for a reason. Most airports used are in the middle of no-where, or certainly, out-of-town. For example, Berlin Schönefeld Airport isn’t even in Berlin. It’s in Brandenburg! Stansted Airport is 40 minutes away from London, and costs between £5 – £20 extra to get there. Frankfurt Hahn is no where near Frankfurt am Main, or even Frankfurt Oder!
- Don’t be caught out. Check which airport you’ll actually be flying to!
6. CHECK BOOKING DETAILS:
- A flight change starts from €35/£35 per person each way, but a spelling mistake will cost you dearly, as it would be considered a name change
- And the cost? A whopping €115/£115 – €160/£160 per passenger!
As of 15.01.18, you can only bring one (1) small bag on board, unless you purchase Priority & 2 Cabin Bags!
- One (1) small bag e.g. handbag, laptop bag etc. not exceeding 35cm x 20cm x 20cm
- One (1) cabin bag, not exceeding 55cm x 40cm x 20cm in size and 10kg in weight
- One (1) small bag on board (35cm x 20cm x 20cm)
- If you have a second cabin bag (55cm x 40cm x 20cm) with you, you won’t be allowed to take it on board, but will be put in the aircraft hold free of charge. Make sure your valuables are in the first bag, and you are able to lock up the second one!
- NOTE: Oversized cabin baggage will be refused at the boarding gate. And if you’re lucky / unlucky, they might put it in the aircraft hold for a small matter of €50/£50!
- If you’re not sure if your bag is “small enough,” cough up, and check it in!
- You can take duty-free bags into the cabin, along with your hand luggage
8. BOOK LUGGAGE AT INITIAL STAGE:
As I told you above. I did really well in January, and then messed up, when I made a booking two months later!
- The main thing to remember is that you can actually purchase up to 3 checked bags of 20 kilos each, either at the initial booking or right up to two hours (2) hours before the scheduled flight departure time
- A higher baggage fee of €40/£40 per person, per one way flight applies, when checked bags are purchased after initial booking via My Booking, a Ryanair call centre, or at the airport ticket desk, which is why everybody moans!
- During peak travel periods, such as Christmas, Easter, the Summer Holidays, and on popular selected routes, the fee for a checked bag will be €35/£35 per person, per one way flight, as I found out to my chagrin…!
- You can of course, pool or share bought checked baggage allowances with the rest of the people in your party, if they’re included on the same flight reservation, and you’re all checked in together!
9. BE CAREFUL NOT TO GO OVERWEIGHT WITH LUGGAGE:
- You won’t like it, and could be charged an excess baggage fee at €11/£11 per kilo!
10. RESERVE SEATING:
- If you’re flying solo, then ignore this
- If you’re flying with your family or your mates, and you want to sit together, then buy reserved seating. Our teen is almost sixteen (16), and isn’t really bothered about where he sits. But I am!
- Think of it this way. If you were on a inter-city train, would you reserve your seat, or leave it to chance? I usually pay €9.00 for a reserved seat on Deutsche Bahn, so €3.00 – €4.00 is perfectly fine!
- Having said that, the cheaper the airline, the crazier people seem to get. And who wants a psycho sitting next to their child?
11. FLY WITH KIDS:
12. BRING YOUR OWN REFRESHMENTS:
- Every budget airline, makes their income / commission by selling items on board. Ryanair is no different. However, snacks aren’t going to be cheap
- A couple of years ago, there was a riot when it was said that Ryanair might actually charge for water or for using the bathroom! Personally, I thought it was a publicity stunt. And I was right!
- But just to be on the safe side. Bring your own
Snack that is
- If you’re an Erasmus student, and you have a valid ESN card, you are able to get a further 15% off eight (8) one way flights throughout the academic year, AND you also get a free 20kg check-in bag!
I bet, most of you didn’t know that!
14. GET THE APP:
- It’s free, and it doesn’t cost a single thing!
15. BOOK A TAXI AT THE AIRPORT / RESERVE AIRPORT BUS / TRAIN:
- If you’re going to be at an airport in the middle of no-where, then the best thing you can do, is to either pre-book a taxi, or even pre-book tickets on the local airport bus or train. I use HolidayTaxis. And they were enormously helpful and very kind, even though I burst into tears and was blubbering, ‘cos I got stuck at the airport in Barcelona, and didn’t know what to do!
- If you’re in a remote area, there’s bound to be transport available, but if you’re arriving or departing in the wee hours, it could get complicated!
- In the less industrialised zones of Europe, your hotel, hostel, or apartment owner, will more than readily arrange transportation. In Croatia, we ordered a taxi to take us to the train station, and it cost less than a glass of wine!
- In many cases, they might even drive you to the airport themselves!
16. DON’T GET DRUNK!
- Leave the drinking until you get to your cheap sunny destination!
17. FLY ANYWAY!
- If Richard Quest a reknown British Business Traveller from CNN, can do it. So can you!
By the way, if you’re looking to book a hotel for your next Ryanair destination. See what I did there! I have a 15% discount off your next booking with Booking.com. Just click right here to redeem it!
Note: You must book between March 5th – April 8th, and the travel dates must be between March 23rd – April 8th.
‘Need I say more.
SO IS RYANAIR WORTH THE PLUNGE?
Well, it depends.
- If you’ve got a corporate meeting to go to. I wouldn’t
- If you’ve got a business anything at all. I wouldn’t
- If you’re transferring onto another flight. I wouldn’t
- If you’re on a tight schedule. I wouldn’t
- If you’re on the holiday of a life-time. I certainly wouldn’t!
- Image is what working in a corporate firm is all about. If your organisation, can’t afford to send you on a reliable schedule-flight costing between €150 – €200, change your job!
- If, on the other hand, it’s a private thing, you’re flexible, and you’re looking to save some pennies, or in my case, it’s the quickest way to get from A to B, then go for it
- If you keep in mind that a no-frills airline means exactly what it says on the box, then absolutely
- If you can lower your expectations, assume nothing, and prepare for the unexpected, you’ll come out on top
- If you cut down on luggage, or drastically take none at all, you won’t have any nasty surprises
- If you can give yourself plenty of time, wear all your coats and jumpers, keep calm and meditate, you’ll do fine
- If you follow the airline rules, understand that you get what you pay for, and you’re ready to pay for all the benefits that you want – ‘cos a 20-ish Victoria who was happy to pay $3 for a hostel in Prague, is utterly different from the Victoria of today who might even go as far as paying €225 per night for a luxury premium villa, overlooking the valley at an exclusive Resort in Udaipur – India! You’d pay for the extras if they’re important to you.
If all you want is to get from A to B, quickly and safely within (mostly) Europe, then Ryanair is as good as any other airline in the sky, and you’ll probably have a pretty good time!
RYANAIR – A NO-FRILLS BUDGET AIRLINE. IS IT WORTH THE PLUNGE?
This article isn’t sponsored by Ryanair, or any other airline! And the merry time that I’m bound to have on my next Ryanair flight, is my very own!
I went to Belgium. Yay! Find out more, next week!
I’ll be continuing my last visit to the UK and telling you all about it, later in the season!
I’ll be at the Deutschland Premiere of the hilariously funny, very minimal dialogue, dry, slightly dark, refined humour, and the comedy of the banal – Mad Office, otherwise known as Büro Absurd! The successful duo – Trygve Wakenshaw & Barnie Duncan – will be doing their act, for the very first time in Germany!
I’ll be there on 29.03.18 taking place at BAR JEDER VERNUNFT, and the show will go on until 11.04.18.
And by the way, they were the biggest hit of the season at Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2017! No German, or any other language will be necessary. I’m guessing that tickets will sell out fast!
Can you guess which one it’ll be?
Save the Date!
I’ll be there. Will you?
If you’re not in Berlin in March, I really can’t help you!
March / April is going to be fresh!
See you next week!
Watch this space!
Note! I never travel without insurance as you never know what might happen.
I learnt my lesson in Spain. And obviously, in countries like Qatar, where technically the risk is higher, I can’t imagine going that far beyond WITHOUT INSURANCE. No siree! You can get yours here, at World Nomads!
Please note that there are now affiliate links (for the very first time) connected to this post. Please consider using the links, because every time some sort of accommodation or travel insurance is booked via my links, I get a little percentage, but at no extra cost to yourself!
A win-win for all!
Thanks a million!