While some people enjoy planning a trip, others don't. I'm one of those frequent flyers who love the planning process. Whether it's finding budget flights, hotel hunts, or affordable activities, the research part of travel is my forte.
If you've ever planned a European trip, you may have dabbled in the diverse transport options. There are buses, trains, metro, trams, and flights. Although airfares aren't typically pocket-friendly, budget airlines like Ryanair can make flying a standout option.
If you get organized in advance, you can score flights as cheap as $10 one way. Talk about a bargain! Even though budget-friendly flights are all the rage, you may wonder if Ryanair lives up to all the hype. That's where I come in!
I've traveled with Ryanair to spots like Menorca, London, Stockholm, Morocco, Naples, Krakow, Lisbon, and Barcelona. In this guide, I'll break down everything you need to know about flying with Ryanair Airlines. This is a complete Ryanair review, from baggage fees and check-in to carry-on size and flight destinations. Let's roll!
What is Ryanair?
Ryanair has grown to become one of Europe's leading and most recognizable low-cost airlines. Boasting its flashy yellow and blue logo, Ryanair is known for offering affordable travel options across the continent.
Ryanair Airlines offers a base of low fares that attract budget travelers from all over the world. Although it operates in a handful of major airports, Ryanair usually uses secondary airports in Europe.
Who Founded Ryanair?
Established in 1984, Ryanair was founded by Tony Ryan. The first flight route was launched between Waterford in Ireland and London Gatwick in the United Kingdom. Initially, The airline operated as a full-service carrier but shifted its focus to a low-cost model.
Following the leadership of CEO Michael O'Leary, Ryanair Airlines opted for a pursuit of cost-cutting. With the goal of operational efficiency, it was able to offer significantly lower fares than other competitors.
Where Does Ryanair Fly To?
Connecting over 40 different countries with over 2,400 daily flights, Ryanair Airlines is an ideal option for budget travel in Europe. Ryanair flies to most European countries but doesn't operate outside Europe.
If there's one thing that can catch travelers out, it's Ryanair's check-in policy. I've made the mistake of forgetting to check in beforehand and had to pay the fees. Yikes!
With Ryanair, you have to check into your flight online. If you don't check in online and obtain a digital boarding pass, you can do it at the airport, but it will cost you. An airport check-in fee is usually around $60 per person, depending on the location.
Ryanair Baggage Policy
Ryanair baggage costs vary depending on the time of booking and whether you do it after or at the airport. Here are a handful of the fees you can expect to pay:
- Small bag: Free
- Priority and 2 cabin bags: Between $10 and $40 at the time of booking or at the airport
- 10kg Checked bag: Between $20 and $40 at the time of booking or at the airport
- 20kg Checked bag: Between $20 and $70 at the time of booking or at the airport
What size is Ryanair hand luggage? The Ryanair carry-on size limits are 10kg, and the size is 40cm x 25cm x 20cm. If your luggage exceeds the baggage limits, you can expect to pay at least $15 to $20 per kilo.
How to Book a Trip with Ryanair
The Ryanair website is relatively simple, but there are fair things to remember when booking. Follow these steps if you want to book a flight with Ryanair:
- Select your departure airport and destination.
- Choose the flight dates and number of passengers.
- Opt for the flight time that suits you best.
- Pick between the fare options: Basic (one backpack), Regular (one bag, 10kg cabin bag, and reserved seat), and Plus (one bag, 20kg check-in bag, and reserved seat)
The basic fare is the best option if you're a budget traveler. However, keep in mind there are extra fees involved if you want to add a cabin bag, check-in bag, or choose your seat. You could pay from $20 to $40 extra with all these additional costs.
If you're flying with a friend, family member, or loved one and need extra luggage, consider adding one 10kg or 20kg bag to share. This way, you can split the cost and share a bag.
Ryanair Cancellation/Refund Policy
Ryanair tickets are generally non-refundable. If your flight went through and you didn't make it, you're not entitled to a refund.
If Ryanair cancels your flight, you may be entitled to a refund according to Regulation (EC) 261/2004. You may also get a refund if an immediate family member not traveling with you passes away within 28 days of your booked flight or if you or a passenger on your booking is seriously ill or dies before your trip.
What People Are Saying About Ryanair
Ryanair's dedication to cost-cutting and efficiency brings mixed emotions among customers. I remember the first time I flew with Ryanair and had to pay over $150 in late check-in and luggage fees. I was absolutely furious!
But after living in Europe for the past 5 years, I haven't had any problems. Aside from the hefty delays, which usually happen if you book an afternoon or evening flight, I can't complain about this budget-friendly airline.
Some customers are happy with the customer service aspect of Ryanair, raving about the friendly boarding staff and polite flight attendants. However, like other budget airlines, their customer service is practically non-existent when there are issues with your flight.
Other customers aren't pleased with the hidden fees, but if you've ever flown with a budget airline, you already know what to expect. It's also important to book on the official Ryanair website because many customers have had issues booking on third-party sites.
Benefits & Drawbacks
The most significant benefit of flying with Ryanair Airlines is the affordable prices. If you're a budget traveler or backpacker, this is an easy way to score pocket-friendly prices in Europe. Plus, with a multilingual staff and decent customer service, your airport experience will be taken up a notch.
The main drawbacks are hidden fees such as late check-in, seat selection, and luggage fees. Travel delays are also common, especially during the late afternoon and evening.
Is Ryanair Worth it?
Yes, if you're a wallet-conscious traveler. With plenty of connections across 40 different countries, finding an affordable flight is easy.
That said, Ryanair is not worth it if you fly with lots of luggage or in a big group. Assuming you want to sit together, You'll pay extra for the baggage fees and seat selection.
It's also not for those looking for a seamless travel experience. European budget airlines, as opposed to regular airlines, are always a risk and not for the faint of heart. But if you're prepared for the worst, sit back and enjoy the savings.
My Rating: 2.9/5
- Friendly staff members
- Budget-friendly flight costs
- Good connections across Europe
- Hidden fees
- Not ideal if traveling with luggage
- Frequent travel delays
- Bad customer service
Start Planning Your Trip With Ryanair and Pilot!
Now that you're familiar with Ryanair, you can start to craft your ideal travel experience for you, your family, and your friends.