When you fly on a “discount airline” in the United States, like Southwest or JetBlue, the experience doesn’t differ much from the non-discount airline like Delta or Continental. When you fly a discount airline in Europe, like Ryan Air, it’s significantly different.
A La Carte Pricing
We flew Ryan Air from London Luton to Dublin International for £5 each. Amazing price huh? That’s until you learn of Ryan Air’s business model. It’s 100% a la carte. You only pay £5 for your ticket but you pay money to check in, check a bag, talk to a customer service rep, … everything.
The biggest tip we can give for Ryan Air, and every airline really, is to read the website and fine print to ensure you haven’t missed anything. Once you book a ticket, it will cost you money anytime you need a service provided with the help of a Ryan Air employee.
- Check-in at the airport: £30 (check this, online check-in is free)
- Check a bag: £10
- If the bag is overweight, it is £0.50 per kg
- Calling customer service: £1 per minute!
If you have a non-EU passport, you will need to get a “visa check” at a separate counter in order to be allowed on a flight. Without a visa check, you will be denied boarding. Be sure to check the time the passport check counter closes because it closes before all fights depart!
Many people say that flying Ryan Air is like taking a bus in the sky. Having taken some buses (like Chinatown buses and Greyhound buses), I have to say that flying Ryan Air is a lot better!
Our flight was an hour and they used every minute to try to sell us something. First, there were the food and drinks. After that, they had cigarettes and duty free type items. Just when you thought they were done selling, they had “e-cigarettes,” which are smokeless cigarettes. The flight attendents did more selling than anything else!
We had heard about advertisements being everywhere but, in a likely sign of the economic times, the only ones we saw were ING insurance ads on the overhead storage bins. No ads on the tray tables this time (though we did see them on a domestic flight several weeks ago!).
Overall, the experience was a positive one because we were able to get from London to Dublin for less than $50 USD a person one-way. While they’ll try to “get you” at every opportunity, you can get a fairly inexpensive flight if you know the system.