With airfares as low as €5 and a road map that covers almost every corner of Europe, flying Ryanair is a popular option among budget travellers. In fact, it is the largest airline in all of Europe in terms of passengers carried.
However, not everyone who flies with Ryanair knows what to expect and this has led to the airline landing at the bottom of customer rankings in several surveys. One of the biggest complaints is its many additional fees. Ryanair was one of the first airlines in the world to charge for checked baggage and the extra charges really took off from there. To help you avoid or reduce these fees and have the most enjoyable experience possible, follow these tips when flying with Ryanair.
1- Check your airports
In many cities, Ryanair serves secondary airports which may be hours away from the main city centre. For example, it markets flights to/from Paris but does not serve either of the two airports in the Paris conurbation. Instead, Ryanair flies from Beauvais Airport (BVA), which is over an hour north, and Vatry Airport (XCR), which is over two hours east.
You will usually be able to find direct bus service to/from these outside airports, but be sure to consider time, cost and convenience in your decision. It may make more sense to fly with another carrier at a closer airport. In some cities you will find Ryanair flights from the main airport, but don’t assume this is the case. Be sure to always double-check exactly which airport you are departing from, especially when planning to connect from long-haul international flights.
2- Skip packages and seat selection
For the most part I would suggest not buying a package on Ryanair. Sticking to the ‘Value’ rate and adding all the extras you want to the card will probably be cheaper, as you shouldn’t really need some of the things the packages include, like airport check-in .
The same goes for seat selection. I know some will happily pay more for extra leg room or to secure a seat next to a companion, but if you really want to keep your flight as cheap as possible, choose “Option 2: Select seats later” at the top of the seat selection screen. . Your seat will be randomly assigned free of charge upon check-in.
Remark : if you are traveling with children under 12, you will need to pay an adult seat allocation (around €5) and have the children sit next to that adult free of charge.
3- Refrain from booking Family Plus
It might seem like a nice addition when you’re traveling with the family, but when you’re crunching the numbers, it’s almost never worth it. The Family Plus package includes a 10 kg check-in bag for all passengers, a total 20 kg check-in bag for the whole family and “free seats for children under 12”. That last part sounds like a sales pitch, right? However, children under 12 still enjoy free seat assignments alongside an adult on the same booking – and this only requires a nominal charge of €5 for the adult’s seat assignment.
As I said before, adding necessary extras to the card is almost always the cheapest solution. If you add the Family Plus plan, you’ll be charged extra, per person, for things you don’t even need. Even if a family of four wants to check in five bags, it will be cheaper to pay for them separately. And if you are traveling with a baby (under 2 years old), you are always entitled to an additional baby bag up to 5 kg and two pieces of baby equipment such as a stroller and a car seat, free of charge.
4- Do not book car rental, hotel or insurance through Ryanair
Adding extras when booking should stop once you’ve chosen your luggage. Ryanair will try to sell you insurance, hotels, car rentals and activities. All of these options will be more expensive than what you can find elsewhere, so I recommend that you skip the sales pitch and click the “continue” button at the bottom of the page until you reach the presentation. Next, click on the shopping cart in the upper right corner of the screen to proceed to the checkout page where you will enter your payment information.
5- Print your boarding pass or download the app
It is also important to print or download your boarding pass when you check in online. Of course, Ryanair charges a fee to reprint your boarding pass if you lose it, so make sure it’s in a safe place. To avoid the hassle, I recommend downloading the application Free Ryanair. This will make the check-in process smooth and you can always get a free boarding pass straight to your phone.
Some airports may not accept mobile boarding passes, but as long as you complete the check-in process online or through the app first, you will be able to receive your paper boarding pass at the airport for free.