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Airline Review: Ryanair

I promised myself that I would never fly with Ryanair. I heard too many stories of rude employees, strict rules and bad management. I always preferred to pay a little bit more for an airline I know and trusted. When I flew to Ireland in January the price difference between the airlines was too big though and Ryanair clearly won when comparing the prices.

Too many additional costs

I flew out to Dublin from Eindhoven in the Netherlands in January and flew back the same route couple of days later. I have to admit that I was surprised by Ryanair. When I booked the flight couple of weeks earlier I created a reminder in my calendar to check in online as soon as it is possible, which normally is 14 days before departure. I also printed out my ticket early enough and checked that everything was right. I heard that if you don’t have your ticket with you they charge you 40 € to print it out at the airport.

I also only had carry on luggage which made the flight more affordable. Something I hated about the booking process was that you always have additional costs after you selected a flight: 2 Euros passenger fee, 6 Euros web checkin, 12 Euros admin fee etc… At the end I paid another 20 € to the actual price. It was still much more cheaper than other airlines.

ryanair-review

Get an extra carry on bag to save costs

For weekend trips I bought a bag which is accepted as carry on by all airlines. At both flights they checked if my bag would fit into on of these standardized boxes. If it wouldn’t they would have charged me another 40-50 Euros for checking in my bag.

If you want a good seat you should line up at the gate early. At Ryanair you don’t have a reserved seat as you usually have at other airlines, with them you actually have to fight for it. So it you are a group traveling together you should line up early.

Find cheap Ryanair flights and cheaper alternatives

If you are looking for cheap Ryanair flights you should check out Skyscanner and Momondo. Two great search engines that help you finding the cheapest flights around the world!

Did you fly with Ryanair before? What do you think of this Airline?

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42 comments on “Airline Review: Ryanair

    • Peter on

      I’d say more than messy. Cost me a couple hundred dollars and two days of my vacation when they canceled my return flight with less than a fortnight’s notice.

      They’re like betting on a futures market: you essentially pay less and accept the risk that they may utterly screw you.

      Reply
    • Terri Bawden on

      I would NEVER fly Ryanair again! We paid $277 one way from Bordeaux to Marseille which was reasonable, but they charged us $283 more at the airport simply because we did not print out our boarding passes in advance! No matter that we did not have internet or a printer while traveling. We did not know about this policy until we arrived at the airport. They would not refund our ticket, and even worse, they acted mad at us for being upset! What a ripoff!

      Reply
  1. Christian Hammerdorfer on

    I was actually pleasantly surprised with Ryanair when I flew them from Madrid to Marrakech. In response to your con, no food or drink, they do have food and drinks, but you have to pay for them, and even when you take into account the amount you are going to spend on them (10 euro maximum) you are still saving a ton of money over the majors. I also found the flight attendants to be some of the friendliest i have ever experiences. I also found that the exit rows are always free, maybe because people think you have to pay extra for them, which is not actually the case. When it comes to travel, I do it for the experience, not the comfort of the airplane or hotel. Ryanair, like hostels, is a great way get the most travel for your budget.

    Reply
  2. Shannon Ostrowsky on

    I flew them for one trip and i never will again. i almost had to check my douffle bag and ended up having to shove a bunch of my clothes in my boyfriends backpack. then when going back by myself, i left stuff at his place b/c i knew it wouldnt get past them. im cheap but i might just pay a little extra next time…

    Reply
    • seba on

      That is exactly what I observed while flying with them. Many people shoving their stuff in their full bags because they’ve been asked to check it in or pay a fee…

      Reply
  3. Michelle on

    I think you have to keep your expectations reasonable. For a 2 hour flight Ryanair are bearable, just. I find it strange people will line up for an hour or more to “get a seat” on a short flight. I have never had a problem getting a seat, room for my bag, and in fact I usually end up in an exit row.

    Even if the worst thing possible happened, I ended up in a middle seat, I would rather that for 2 hours than stand in line for an hour.

    I do wish they would ease up on the 1 bag rule, I always end up shoving my bag/purse into my suitcase/backpack just for walking onto the plan, then as soon as I am on the plane pull it back out again so I can access the things I need.

    Reply
  4. sandy7 on

    These guys are indeed awful, absolutly awful. I ended up in a line with an employee shouting at my about the amount of luggage in my bag but it was fine on the way over. I opend it and took out a carrier bag so it was okay but then she wouldnt take it from me until I requed – the whole service was run by morons

    Reply
  5. Simon P on

    But only line up early if you’re in a big group! The English in particular love to line up a long time before their flights. They need to relax. Seriously, I only flew Ryanair of Easyjet for years and my partner and we have yet to not get seats together.

    Reply
  6. Melvin on

    Ryan Air should be a No Go for every traveler!

    They are a risk for your life!

    A pilot had to do a safety round when approaching Dublin too low. Afterwards he got pressure by his boss and threatened that if he would do that 2 more times, he would get fired!

    That’s a No Go!

    Reply
    • Rafael Sarres de Almeida on

      Where did you get that information? It is very serious, can you prove it? I personally do not believe it, even thinking that there is such an idiot boss that only thinks about money, risking a multi million aircraft would not be a very good way to save the company’s money.
      I do not believe it.

      Reply
  7. vivi on

    Cheap and does the job! However i also wish they would ease up on the one baggage policy, last time they made me stuff 1 poster into my luggage becuase it was classes as anther baggae which was ridiculous really.
    And wish they did auto seat allocation beforehand, although its cheap so i cant complain especially as I am not willing to pay for extras on budget airlines!

    Reply
  8. Mish on

    Every time we fly Ryanair, we say “never again”. But we lose our willpower pretty quickly because (as you noticed too) the tickets are often so much cheaper – despite all the add-ons they cheekily wangle out of you.

    The Ryanair staff are usually rude, the plane is often quite dirty (because of the tight turnaround at the airport to pack in as many flights as possible), and those constant in-flight adverts for electronic cigarettes drive me insane. But until a better service at a similar price comes along, I think we’re destined to lose our willpower whenever Ryanair is an option!

    Reply
  9. Meg from LandingStanding on

    I hate all the added on expenses and the fact that most RyanAir flights operate out of airports that are far from the city centers (i.e Flying in and out of Paris is a 1.5 hour bus ride out of the city). But the costs for tickets are so low, its hard to not buy… What an I say, I hate to love them!

    Reply
  10. Charles K on

    We just created an airline reviews website (http://www.shelterous.com) for passengers to see other people’s experience. Ryanair is pretty bad on our ratings and one of the reasons why people keep flying this airline is for the price, which makes sense, but specially for a certain kind of passengers. This airline is all right for students and adolescents, but never book a seat for your grandma that is flying by herself or for unaccompanied minors. Sometimes it is better to pay a little bit more for the quality of service from more qualitative brands.
    The idea when booking a flight is to follow 7 simple rules that will prevent you from airlines’ hassles (read more: http://blog.shelterous.com/2012/10/the-7-basic-rules-to-prevent-from-airline-hassles-while-flying/).
    Very nice blog by the way

    Reply
  11. Runaway Brit on

    I just wrote a piece about Ryanair because I actually use them all the time. Even with their add-ons they always work out around £80 cheaper on the route I often take. Plus their airport in Sweden is actually about 10 mins from where I live, saving me loads more on Swedish public transport.

    I stick to their guidelines and I have never had an issue with them. I have never been delayed, and I always get a window seat (my preference). I never queue up early – I don’t see the point in worrying about where to sit on a short flight. Plus, a few years ago when many of my friends were stranded in Stansted airport due to snow, my Ryanair flight took off on time 🙂

    If Ryanair didn’t exist I would not have travelled as much as I do, and I wouldn’t get to see my family as often as I do, so I am pretty happy that they exist!

    I could do without the cheesy fanfare at the end though!

    Reply
  12. Cat of Sunshine and Siestas on

    MY husband is a military pilot and has warned me dozens of times of the lax safety training, low fuel reserves, etc. But since it’s cheap and has the best offering of destinations from where I live, it seems to keep getting my business. Next up is Bologna in January, much to the displeasure of my husband!!

    Reply
  13. Rafael Sarres de Almeida on

    I have flown worth Ryanair and, as long as you stick with their rules, it is a good airline. People complain because their “hand” luggage is not as small as they should be, and they have to pay. The airline have right to do so, if other airlines are not strict about it and permit big luggage as hand luggage, this does not make Ryanair wrong.
    The funny thing that I saw was that the same check in employee was ordering the line near the gate and collecting the boarding passes. They really optimize business processes.

    Reply
  14. Dariece - Goats On The Road on

    Thats’s one of the downsides of the budget airlines of the world…with all of them there are always extra costs, for everything! Even to have a glass of water on the flight. But like you said, there’s such a huge difference in the price that you can’t help but take the cheaper airline.

    We fly with budget airlines 99% of the time, so we’re used to these things! Never Ryan Air, but with Easy Jet in Europe.

    Cheers for the post.

    Reply
  15. George on

    Play a new record commenters Ryanair is riduculously cheap and I have flown nearly 50x with them and never had a problem. Ryanair is my favourite airline and I would fly with them 100x over the knobends at Easyjet whose morals are FAR looser if anyone actually took the time to look at them. Photoshoot at a holocaust memorial Easyjet? Oh yea nothing says high fashion like millions of dead Jews. If that was Ryanair we would have never heard the end of it.
    http://georgeonthego.org/2012/08/18/why-i-love-ryanair/

    Reply
  16. Tim on

    In my own experience, quite often regular fares outperform Ryanair’s due to involved transaction costs of using Ryanair. Comparing total costs (including airport to city transportation costs), in especially short-distance flights (e.g. Netherlands or Germany to London) other transportations options are at often at better cost, such as Stenaline (GBP 48 including train tickets in both Netherlands as the UK) or even for the budget-conscious traveller Eurostar/Megabus. Customers get constrained to the idea of a relationship between Ryanair and “cheap fares”, while this isn’t the case if flying last-minute (JetAirFly has a pricing model descending for lastminute flights) or often with short-distance flights. In the end, whether or not Ryanair’s fares are worth it completely depend on one’s personal situation and geographic distance.

    Taking the uncertainty of Game Theory, what % of less expenses are you willing to risk for extra charges, such as discovering 1kg additional weight at the airport, seeing your hand baggage has expanded with just 1 CM and doesn’t fit? Interesting is that strictness of Ryanair’s rules depend on the country.

    Reply
  17. Eartha on

    Yes I flew with them before… A flight from Bristol to Dublin ( I think ) and all your observations and tips above are on point. I only traveled with a mate of mine so we didn’t have too much trouble with the seats. I would definitely fly with them again if the price is right… 🙂
    Eartha

    Reply
  18. Kasha on

    I’ve used Ryanair many times due to the low cost. Personally, I think you get what you pay for. If you need a cheap flight, then Ryanair gives you that, without the frills and freebies.

    If you want an enhanced experience, you CAN reserve your seat beforehand (less seat stress), you CAN buy food and drinks and you CAN check in luggage (less hassle with the hand luggage allowances). If you’ve got the cash, then you can make it a better experience. Or you can always book with another airline.

    I guess it all comes down to expectations. For backpackers and budget travellers (like me), I get to go to my destinations quickly and, most importantly, for an affordable price!

    Reply
  19. Tiana Kai on

    I just flew with them yesterday for the first time and wasn’t shocked at all. I expected no frills and long lines, so I went mentally prepared.

    I don’t get it why people are still shocked by them. They’re the lowest airline around, so you get what you pay for…the extra fees are complete rubbish though.

    Reply
  20. jessie on

    still not better at ryanair? it is years ago (guess it was 1998) but they overbooked our flight. So we weren’t able to take it.

    we were 4 persons and they said “two of you can fly now. the rest one or two days later” … we got redress in form of meal vouchers for the airport and i am not sure anymore but i guess they paid the transfers from/to the airport. that time we lived round about two hours from the aiprort away.

    Reply
    • Eve on

      It is the worst experience I have every fly. I would never fly with this airline again and I would pay more for better airlines. One luggage policy is completely rubbish. When we fly back from Mallorca to London the staff from boarding asked us to put my cross-body bag into my hand carry and also the duty free shoppings and even the camera that my husband was carrying on his neck! I have never experience this before and felt like they are bullying!!!

      Reply
  21. Heather on

    I’ve only been on one flight before that was a free-for-all when it cames to seats. Chaos is right! Sometimes you’ve got to push some old ladies out of the way to get your favourite site. Ryanair: recommended for those without shame.

    Reply
  22. RyanairReview on

    The ‘too many additional costs’ part of this post reveals exactly the low cost carrier’s business model. To display an attractive fare they omit to mention directly the other cost you have to pay. And Ryanair know perfectly how to do that. It is sometimes less interesting to fly with a low cost airline than a standard one when adding this costs even though the initial fare was much cheaper than the competitors.

    Reply
  23. Tom Berringer on

    I had no problems or surprises on a cheap Ryanair flight Stansted to Tours. Just kept the luggage and expectations light and low.

    Reply
  24. Ramani Krishna on

    My experience has led me to conclude, that any time I feel the urge to be transported as livestock, Ryanair will be my first choice.

    Reply
  25. Nauman on

    I have terrible experience of flying with Ryanair. I flew from Copenhagen to Venice this June. First of all, airhostess requested me to sit on the exit row coz it was all unoccupied. when i sat there, they didn’t allow me to have my eatables and my Coat with me because they said that this exit row so it is not allowed to put anything with you during takeoff and landing period (Now i know why it is always empty). During the whole flight, there were non-stop terrible announcements of selling items such as perfumes, cosmetics, jewelry drinks. the volume of announcements was so high that i could not sleep. I promised to myself that i will never travel with this airline.

    Reply
  26. Alex Ciossek on

    Would like to see an updated review on this as things have changed. And I hope to fly with them again as they now have a great mobile app that I don’t have to stamp my ticket for a “Visa Check”. They were great! I flew Dublin to Memmingen and Rome to Edinburg and quite enjoyed it. I did my research and paid for my luggage early which saved me money. Also printing early and such. I had headphones so I was fully entertained and didn’t wake up during most of the flight. I am very small (5ft. 1) so i was comfortable and even if I grew 5 inches this winter I still think I could be comfortable. I sat next to very nice people and was able to talk to them without being interrupted by advertisements and such. Very nice considering I saved over $400 dollars with other airlines. Although I wish I could have been able to afford to fly closer to Nurnberg, the time i spent in memmingen was nice and had good food that filled me for my train ride up to Nurnberg! I love saving money on flights so this was perfect for me!

    Reply
  27. Shashank on

    It is the worst airline that could actually exist. I and my brother where stranded in Ibiza airport. We left for Ibiza being assured about our id. My brother forgot his passport but was carrying another id but we were allowed to board the plane in Barcelona to Ibiza but while returning we were stopped and said we cannot board the plane. As my brother had a flight next day to USA we had to reach Barcelona that night. The staff was extremely rude and told us to fuck off and lodge a complaint. We eventually had to buy tickets of another Airline and reach Barcelona. How can you make your passengers stranded in an Island. They should not have allowed us to board the flight in Barcelona, but they did and abandoned us in Ibiza without a way to return. This was inhuman and cruel.

    Reply
  28. donald peterson on

    This airiline has real scam going. You buy your ticket online at their website and nothing is said when they issue a confirmation number via email that you must check-in via email BEFORE YOU ARRIVE AT THE AIRPORT. If you do not check-in online prior to arriving at your departure airport they will charge you 45 euros to issue you a boarding pass. This is NO JOKE and Ryanair employees at the airport will admit it is your only choice other than to buy a ticket with another airline. Totally brainwashed are these employees. AGAIN, YOU MUST CHECK IN ONLINE PRIOR TO ARRIVING AT AIRPORT WITHOUT RYAN AIR WARNING YOU. This scam happened to me TWICE in one day since I had a connecting flight. Normally I always check in at the airline “check in” counter with my confirmation number to get my boarding pass. NOT WITH RYAN AIR!! Forget it!! This company is absolutely corrupt. They will send you to another Ryan agent to pay the large penalty for not checking in online prior to. I was enraged with them but they simply brushed me off. I was not the only one either. At Barcelona airport I witnessed at least 8 other passengers also paying for this scam. Ryan Air, NEVER again. STUPID COMPANY

    Reply