So then I booked a flight on RyanAir

I’m headed to Europe in January for a weekend trip with some friends. And given that the trip is just a few weeks away I finally got around to buying my plane tickets. It is a quick trip – Thursday to Monday – with five flights, visits to three countries (and transits of two others) and most likely more than a few beers along the way. It also will involve flying on five different airlines, including some of the usual suspects. But it also includes a couple firsts for me, one of which is a 700-ish mile flight on RyanAir. Yup, I’m willingly taking a flight on the carrier recently voted the worst short-haul experience in Europe.

It wasn’t easy to do, really. Maybe it was just my laptop but I actually ran in to a bit of trouble with the booking. Eventually I got to the fare summary page and had this awesome list of fees, on top of the base fare:


So, yeah, they apparently charge passengers a fee against having to pay out EU261 claims. And a surcharge to allow for check-in. And an administrative fee which I’m sure covers something like them making more money. And a strange fare discount tossed in there; I have no idea why.

At the end of the day the fare is still only $35. I added on a pre-assigned exit row window seat for $15 more, bringing the grand total up to $50. I will only have my small backpack for this trip so no baggage fees but even if I did check a bag it would still be well under $100 for the flight. The next closest published fare I could find was $188, with a 40+ hour connection in Riga, Latvia. A trip on the same day would run me north of $400 and 9 hours versus the 2 hours on RyanAir.

My expectations are not particularly high. And the flight is around lunch time so I’ll need to remember to pack a picnic to bring on board. But I’m reasonably confident my expectations won’t be left wanting. After all, I’m going in pretty much expecting a mess.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.


  1. I think you will realize that your picnic will be a lot better than the standard BOB food on the usual suspects. The few times I have been on RyanAir I ended up buying a good sandwich in Stansted Airport, and it matched my expectation perfectly.

    My only beef with RyanAir and Easyjet is that they are often only the cheapest airlines for a given route before the list of additional fees, and RyanAir often doesn’t fly to the place you want to go, so you end up adding expensive or time consuming land transport at your destination. So a passenger should always check the usual suspects before making a RyanAir booking.

  2. Still amazed me that they can fly that cheap. You cannot drive your car for the same distance for what they are charging you. Even with those extra fees which in reality they are just breaking to you so you know how much is the actual fare and the other cost.

    Enjoy your quick trip.

  3. enjoy Budapest:)

    and yes they are terrible.2 years ago i took a BTS-LPA flight and it was the worst experience ever.boarding isn’t just a mess,it’s simply ridiculous …the seats recline:well..there is no recline.but u know what the worst thing was that the FAs simply won’t sh@t up!they we’re trying to sells us EVErYTHING from local SIM cards to metro/bus passes and post stamps….lol

  4. Nothing wrong with Ryan air… it’s just that you need to abide by the rules they publish concerning luggage and printing your boarding pass yourself. Don’t do that and you have to pay excessively at check-in.

    But rates are normally cheap and their fleet is good.

  5. Just make sure your backpack doesn’t weigh more than 8kg so they don’t try to make you check it for a billion dollars.

  6. Yes it will be a mess! Although if you have an assigned seat it might not be so bad. I flew RyanAir back in 2008 Belfast City – London Stanstead and I don’t remember having assigned seating (think WN’s open seating policy.) There were 3 of us flying together so we took the 2nd row from the back. They boarded from both the front and back doors, but there didn’t seem to be any organization to it. Passengers just pushed through the gate area and then ran to whichever door they prefered. For a short flight, you’ll be fine.

  7. Ah, RyanAir! That airline and EasyJet were my go-to choices when I backpacked around Europe (I studied abroad in England). Like Carsten mentioned, with RyanAir you have to double-check that you’re really arriving in the main airport, not some out-of-the-way place. Their Paris and Barcelona airports are like that.

    I preferred EasyJet because they often flew into the same airports as the major carriers.

    Have fun in Europe! Some of the best times of my life.

  8. If you search on youtube for ‘cheap flights’ you get an excellent summary of how your flight will go by Fascinating Aida – look for the women in the purple dresses it should be the first result

  9. As an American, be sure to remember to take your (obviously pre-printed) boarding pass and passport to the Document Check Desk before you clear security. Nobody at the gate will do this for you and you have to do this even on intra-Schengen flights. As far as I can tell, the only purpose of this rule is to make flying nastier.

    But, as long as you follow every single rule, you’ll be surprised how painless the experience is, though the $15 for the exit row is worth every penny.

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