Ryanair, we love you but you’re bringing us down

Ryanair, tasteful as always.
Ryanair, tasteful as always.

We’re heading over to Paris at the end of the year to celebrate New Year’s Eve. Most of our time is booked up with typical holiday plans—getting together with friends, blow out dinners (on the cheap, of course) and relishing winter in Paris.

But we do have four or five days that are wide open and free for a quick jaunt elsewhere. So we turned to one of our new favorite flight search sites, Dohop.com, to see what the options were on Saturday, January 5th in the land of low-cost carriers. Ideally we’d like to pay well under $100 to head to either Rome, Berlin or Barcelona.

After a few searches, we had a winner: $60 for a one-way ticket on Ryanair from Paris (BVA) to Rome (CIA), a full 45% cheaper than the next cheapest price on easyJet. Seems awfully good, right?

Well, here’s where things unwind a bit.

To pass "security," watch this quick advertisement from FedEx. Grrrrrr....

Please just show me the price

Ryanair is a little touchy when it comes to showing their fares and routes on other flight search sites. While they appear in Dohop’s search results, clicking the “Go” button doesn’t link directly to the same result on Ryanair’s site, which would let you book the flight and move on with your day.

Instead, Ryanair requires partner search engines like Dohop, Kayak and Skyscanner to link to Ryanair’s homepage and then travelers must re-enter their search dates.

Okay, not a huge deal.

But before doing a search, you have to agree to Ryanair’s terms and conditions. Just to see that route and price you already saw elsewhere.

Okay, whatever.

But after agreeing to the terms, you have to first complete a “Security check” that grants you permission to use the site (funny, we thought agreeing to the terms granted us permission to use the site).

But click wisely, dear Cheapos, for this Security Check is also an advertisement and will quickly shoot you elsewhere if you click on its image. In my case, it was a giant kangaroo prompting me for a “hopping good” deal on cable TV services. When we stopped back the next day, the ad was for FedEx.

(Spoiler alert! The “security password” is “Ship with FedEx.” Are they going to send TSA after us?)

We entered the advertisement’s security words, but were told we made an error and included the wrong information. We were presented with a new Security Check and a more standard reCAPTCHA form to try again, but then received a 500 server message.

Ryanair flight Paris to Rome

"€51.99" for the evening flight from Paris to Rome.

Getting a little bummed out.

We then clicked back to the homepage, re-entered our search for the third time, and—success!—saw our chosen route and rates.

Finally there it was: €51.99 to go from Paris to Rome. Not bad. Right? (We’ll dismiss the slight difference between $60 and €51.99, which is currently $68, as a currency exchange oddity.)

Too bad we’re not able to take the morning flight for €34.99.

Please just let me figure out how much this is “really” going to cost

Now the fun part: the small print.

Reading Ryanair’s fare details on their website, it shows a €6 web check-in fee. Can I get around the fee by checking in at the airport? Of course not. All travelers are required to check in via the web. And if you booked your flight through a call center or at the airport, you’ll need to pay €12 to check in.

What if you arrive at the airport having forgotten to check in online? [insert sinister laughter from Ryanair here] No problem! If there’s time to re-issue an “alternative form of Boarding Pass” Ryanair will do so, but you’ll be charged a Boarding Pass re-issue fee at the rate set in their Consolidation Table of Fees.

According to this chart, there is no re-issue fee if you booked via Ryanair.com. Ok, that’s nice. However, if you booked through a call center or at the airport, you’re getting charged €60. Not so nice.

Here’s a quick run down of the other charges you can expect, courtesy of the Consolidation Table of Fees and based on booking through Ryanair’s website:

Booked with a credit card: 3% of total transaction value

Priority boarding fee: €5

Reserved seats: €10 (but higher on certain routes)

Musical instrument: €50

Flight change fees: €30 to €60, depending on the route and whether it’s low or high season

Carry on baggage: 1 bag for free. All other bags must be checked.

Fee for checking 1st bag under 15 kg (33 lbs): €15 to €30, depending on the route and whether it’s low or high season

Fee for checking 1st bag under 20 kg (44 lbs): €25 to €40, depending on the route and whether it’s low or high season

Fee for checking 2nd bag under 15 kg (44 lbs): €35 to €50, depending on the route and whether it’s low or high season

Excess baggage fee per kilo if you exceed the limitations set above: €20 per kilo.

So what’s it really cost?

Our trip is for one person traveling with one carry-on and one large suitcase that weighs 50 lbs. So first, the easy part: Shove at least 6 lbs of the weight from the large suitcase into the carry on. No joke – figure it out.

Bam! We just saved €54 (6 lbs = 2.72 kilos. 2.72 kilos x 20 Euros per kilo over.)

Now the rest of the tally:

$68 ticket + €25 ($32.75 USD) luggage fee + 3% transaction charge ($3.02) = $103.77. As much as we’d like to avoid doing the “Ryanair sprint” and not get the worst seat in the house, we can’t rationalize paying an extra cost just to board the plane.

And while this final price almost satisfies our original goal of keeping the flight cost below $100, we can’t help but feel a little, well, gross after going through this whole process. We’d prefer to feel inspired while we plan our trips and right now we’re just feeling kind of stressed out.

Sure, we got a decent deal on the flight, but I guess we’ll have to leave our trombone at home, dare we risk yet another fee.

Has Ryanair brought you down?

Are you down on Ryanair or do you take a different view? Maybe we’re overreacting. After all, those flights can really be cheap. Tell us what you think, Cheapos.

About the author

Pete Meyers
About the author: An Ohio native, Pete Meyers was bred on family road trips and the Beach Boys. When not working at EuroCheapo HQ in NYC, Pete likes to be found eating bouillabaisse anywhere in the south of France.
Posted in: Airlines
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Cheapo Comments

9 Responses to “Ryanair, we love you but you’re bringing us down”
  • Stuart says:

    Good article as per Pete. Just a quick sup.

    Air France and Alitalia are both charging £417 o/w on Saturday 5th January…
    Okay you get a bag but hey that’s tres cher. Makes Ryanair look great value.

    However my top tip would be Orly Rome on Easyjet on 05/01/13.
    90 euros all in. Bish bash bosh.

    So, so much easier…

    ps favoured Euro LCC site is Momondo by Cheap Flights. as well as flights they chuck trains into the mix (tis good value to Berlin, Brussels, Lille and Amsterdam) by train from Paris…

    pps. we don’t do Europe :)

    • Pete Meyers Pete Meyers says:

      Thanks Stuart. Great point about Momondo, too – big fan of their company and another solid option to find low fares.

      But let’s not underestimate the value of a nice bag…!

  • Thanks Pete for sharing this experience with us and for recommending Dohop.

    The EU parliament approved new rules fr on-line shopping in June which might help. The new law requires on-line traders to give buyers precise information on the total price. All EU member states need to implement this rule before June 2014.

    Not sure what this exactly means but I know that easyJet is working changes that will help sites like to Dohop to display total price.

    Kristjan

  • Kfo says:

    My wife and I flew Ryanair this past summer. All was good, but I am tired of the “nickel and dime” charges plus their checked bag weight allowance is less than others. As far as I know it is the lowest of the airlines at 15kg. Most are 20kg or more. When flying with someone else and two checked bags, easyjet, for example, is okay with one bag being 22 kg and the other 18, as long as the total weight is 40 or less. Not Ryanair! We will avoid Ryanair whenever possible. Last year we flew from Stockholm to Edinburgh and did not have many options.

  • Pietro says:

    I totally agree.
    I try and avoid Ryanair wherever and whenever possible.

    Easyjet is way superior in treating its customers a bit more
    like human beings but unfortunately have a smaller network.

    If one counts the stress of having to fight their nickel-and-dime mentality, the time wasted, the aggraviation, etc. it is really worth flying with them only when the price differential is significant.

    What if they had simply quoted Pete € 120,00 for the same deal but without the aggraviation? Pete would have probably accepted and they would have made €20 extra.

    I do know people who take full advantage of some of their routes but what good is for Ryanair to charge them a bare minimum when they could charge a bit more and still get the business?

    As someone has said , life is too short for bad wines so I say: life is to short to be treated like an animal just to save a few bucks…

    And a smile doesn’t cost anything but at Ryanair they are thinking of charging you if you want one :-)

  • RAMONA says:

    Admire your generosity, Pete, to say you “love” Ryanair. Flying economy on any airline (unless you’re in business or first class, that is) and esp flying on Ryanair or EasyJet, genetic heirs of the Marquis de Sade — is torture at the exquisite bottom! Every single one of their policies seems designed not only to extract every last nickel, but to do so with the most gleeful pain, leaving the victims (their pax) without dignity or the ability to even complain — after all, “you knew I was a snake when you brought me into the bar.”

    Southwest by comparison is like flying on Air Force One. I have to congratulate them on so vastly improving their treatment of customers from, say, 15 years ago to what it is today. In the spirit of the season, Cheers to Southwest — and Bah Humbug to Ryanair, Easyjet and their creepy cousins, who degrade the concept of humanity in all their policies.

    • Pete Meyers Pete Meyers says:

      @ RAMONA — your comment cracked us up.

      But I think there’s something to your comparison of Southwest’s ability to be seen as “good budget” versus Ryanair’s position. Cheap + enjoyable don’t have to be mutually exclusive, now do they?

  • RAMONA says:

    So very true. I’ve traveled fairly extensively all over the world, and have recently become very reluctant to fly. Unless Southwest is flying to my destination or I can drive, there is great pause before leaving for the airport, esp for an international flight. Between increasing fares, nonsensical TSA hassles (2-3 security checks within the airport at places like Heathrow, Frankfurt and Hong Kong) and economy grunge experiences, even a trip to fab Barcelona and the Italian and French Rivieras seems in retrospect like twilight in Dante’s inferno.

    On United recently, leaving Frankfurt for San Francisco, the flight attendants were presenting the meal as “chicken or beef.” I asked (politely) what kind of chicken or beef and was told in a loud sarcastic voice “Chicken as in cluck-cluck and beef as in moo moo.” Suppose this was also for the benefit of any others who might have the temerity to inquire about the menu (none did!). Turns out it was breast of chicken and chunks of beef in wine sauce – how hard would that have been to announce? Mind you, this is one of the rare flights that even offers a meal at no additional cost — in Economy!

    Ryanair and EasyJet don’t have ANY comp offerings — but they do offer huge helpings of ignorance, disdain and callous disregard.

    Now where did I put my trowel – will be time soon to plant the tulip bulbs for next season – and of course I’ll need to be around when they start to grow …

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