Ryanair - Low Cost Carrier - What you need to know about cutting costs of budget flights and avoiding traps

Limoges Airport has doubled in size
Limoges Airport has doubled in size | Source

Fly cheap and discover new travel destinations on a budget

Ryanair, love it or hate it, is a great success and a popular low cost carrier. As Ryanair destinations continue to multiply, so do their customers and their cheap fares and reliable flights are enabling not only those on modest incomes, but the positively impecunious, to travel to new, and previously undiscovered regions.

Limousin, in S W France, is one of those new Ryanair destinations and Limoges Airport has doubled in size since I arrived here about thirteen years ago. It has opened this previously hidden rural heartland of France to the average traveller and has enabled a tourist industry to establish itself in this relatively poor, agrarian backwater. You can now visit the beautiful countryside, the lakes and rivers, the medieval towns and fabulous, fairy tale castles for a very reasonable fee. Sometimes, if you can catch the offers, you can bag a real bargain.

Check out Ryanair flights here! Ryanair.com

WARNING - Beware of the E-Dream scam

A website that looks just like Ryanair and is outranking Ryanair on Google is getting revenue by taking bookings and then charging an additional percentage AFTER you've finished the transaction.

When you go to Ryanair, check the name of the site carfefully. Better still, type in ryanair.com yourself rather than use a search engine.

So what's the catch with Ryanair?

No such thing as a free lunch? For lunch read flight. Well, Ryanair have, in the past, released free tickets. I've flown from Limoges to England for 1 centime - yes 0.01 euros. Have a look at the interview below with Michael O'Leary. He is right, there's no really big catch but there are many additional charges and they are really not obvious until you start the booking process, so don't be fooled by the price of 9.99 euros that jumps out at you initially. I for one find that booking on line is a minefield, so here are my tips for getting those excellently priced tickets without falling into any of the Ryanair 'traps for the unaware and unworldly' - ie ME!


Baggage update 21 July 2015

You can now take a handbag and the prescribed cabin bag onto the plane and take a duty free bag. Make sure you read the baggage information carefully and measure your bags. There are cages into which you must be able to fit your bag.

For peace of mind you can buy a bag from the Ryanair site. I've seen people with them at the airport and they look quite nice.

For the last few times I've flown with the company, Ryanair have been offering to put your cabin bags into the hold free of charge.

It remains expensive (extortionate) to take bags in the hold.

My Top Tips for your Budget Ryanair Trip

I know, it doesn't exactly trip off the tongue, and booking your ticket is much trickier. Here goes:

Getting the bargains

  1. No secret here. Check the site regularly and often. Be flexible about times
  2. You'll see that certain periods are cheaper than others
  3. Certain days are cheaper than others
  4. Some flights are seasonal - Leeds Bradford, for example, doesn't start until 27th March 2011

Booking the ticket online

  1. Ask a friend to help you book your ticket - two heads are better than one
  2. Allow plenty of time to read everything and make your booking
  3. Be aware when looking at the prices that there is a 6 euro online booking charge each way and probably an additional £5 or 5€ charge. See below for other add-ons and charges
  4. Read all the rules and regulations carefully
  5. Especially read the Ryanair baggage allowance rules and regulations
  6. My advice for a really budget-friendly holiday is to travel light and take only hand luggage
  7. Read all the tiresome anti-terrorist information
  8. My tip - don't take any liquids, make-up etc. If you take make-up, take the minimum and organise the special, seal-able plastic bags in advance
  9. Remember that your handbag counts as a bag. Make sure it fits into your other hand luggage bag and that this bag is still within size and weight limits
  10. Make sure that you UNCHECK all offers that you don't want
  11. Uncheck insurance if you don't want it. This is hard to do. The NO INSURANCE option is hidden in the middle of a pull-down list
  12. When you get to the part when you have to fill in your details, have all your information ready. Type it in a Word Document first as I find that I get timed out while I dither over filling in the form
  13. Make sure that all your details are correctly filled in and are the same as in your passport and other documents - you'll get stung for any changes, (see below)
  14. Make up your mind before booking as to times, dates and who is going as changes will be mega-costly. On the other hand, I wonder if there is anything to stop you just ditching the tickets and re-booking? Much cheaper. (Please let me know if you've done this).

Ryanair Checkin

  1. You have to carry out an on-line check in between 7 days and 2 hours before your flight (30 days - 2 hours for a preferred seat booking)
  2. If you don't do this you'll be stung! I had to pay a 15 euro 'fine' or 'penalty' when the rules first changed and I missed this on-line check in
  3. The checking in is straightforward, just follow instructions.
  4. Print out your card and take it with you

Hang on to your cash on the flight

  1. Don't cheat with luggage. Measure and weigh your luggage carefully so that you're not caught out at the airport
  2. Take your own food. You can take an empty water bottle through to the lounge and fill up there
  3. Don't take the priority boarding option unless you have special needs, I can't see any advantage myself - everyone will get on the plane
  4. Don't be tempted by scratch cards, duty-free and other sales ploys, of which there are many
  5. Be careful about buying tickets for buses or journeys after the flight through Ryanair. I'm not saying these are a bad thing, and they may be to your advantage. Check out prices of transport from the airport before you arrive at the airport so you can spot a bargain or a trap in advance

The rules, flights, airports, charges etc change frequently. Make sure you check every time. General Terms and Conditions

Top tip for reducing luggage space and weight

Travel cheap and travel light; why carry all those books when you can take your favourite literary friend - Kindle? I belong to a reading group in Limousin, and our members love, love, love their 'reading devices'. Not like reading from a screen at all, so no eye-ache. If you're a voracious reader, what do you do with all those paper books? Where do you store them all and how green are they? Think of all those trees.

I worried about how much it was going to cost me for the books, but so many are free: all those published long enough ago to be out of copyright, so you'll have a world of Classics at the touch of a key.

New books though, are not all that cheap, but this seems to be an anomaly which sould be rectified, but even so, you're not losing anything, are you?

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Ryanair table of fees Page 1 CLICK IMAGE TO VIEW FULL SIZERyanair table of fees Page 2
Ryanair table of fees Page 1 CLICK IMAGE TO VIEW FULL SIZE
Ryanair table of fees Page 1 CLICK IMAGE TO VIEW FULL SIZE
Ryanair table of fees Page 2
Ryanair table of fees Page 2

Additional Charges

Obligatory charges which they may as well have added to the price!

In 2012 they DID add the booking fees to the price (well done!) but they also introduced a 2% credit card fee (not debit card though!)

  1. After that, unless you walk onto the plane with your tiny hand luggage bag and nothing else there are charges which are many and various. Baggage charges are the most obvious, but there are special charges for unusual or valuable baggage such as musical instruments
  2. There are charges for babies, and all manner of services
  3. There are charges for changes to your flight and killer charges of £150 for a change in your name

When you select your flights, Ryanair will calculate the price and you will find a link just underneath the Total price saying "Click here for Further details" This will bring up the page illustrated (if you are in France). Do please read it!

Ryanair Table of Fees (or, as I would put it, FINES)



My experience of travelling with Ryanair

Since moving to France from England eight years ago, I've flown fairly regularly with Ryanair to London Stanstead, Liverpool and Leeds Bradford. I've found the Ryanair flights themselves to be:

  • Perfectly acceptable and business-like
  • The staff to be pleasant and helpful
  • The planes to be clean
  • Flights to be punctual and often early
  • The price to be good and even absolutely marvellous


BBC Panorama interview with Michael O'Leary

Ryanair destinations and Ryanair route map

In the chart below I have only listed flights from Britain to the airports around us in S W France. Please check the Ryanair web site for other destinations. Please be ware, also, that some of these are seasonal only.

Flights between Britain / Ireland and S W France / Europe 2012

Limoges LIG
Bergerac EGC
Bordeaux BOD
La Rochelle LRH
Poitiers PIS
Bristol BRS
Bristol BRS
---
---
 
London Stanstead STN
London Stanstead STN
---
London Stanstead STN
London Stanstead STN
East Midlands EMA
East Midlands EMA
---
---
---
Leeds Bradford LBA
---
---
---
---
Liverpool LPL
Liverpool LPL
---
---
 
---
Bruxelles (Charlesroi) CRL
Bruxelles (Charlesroi) CRL
Bruxelles (Charlesroi) CRL
---
---
---
Bologne BLQ
---
---
---
---
Cork ORK
Cork ORK
---
---
---
Edinburgh EDI
---
---
---
---
Porto OPO
Porto OPO
---
---
---
---
Oslo (Rygge) RYG
---
---
---
---
Dublin DUB
---
---
---
---
---
Girona (Barcelone GRO

Ryanair flights from Britain to Limoges Airport

show route and directions
A markerBristol airport -
Aéroport international de Bristol (BRS), Wrington, Somerset du Nord BS48 3, Royaume Uni
[get directions]

B markerEast Midlands airport -
Aéroport d'East Midlands (EMA), Lockington, Comté de Leicester DE74 2, Royaume Uni
[get directions]

C markerLeeds Bradford airport -
Aéroport de Leeds-Bradford (LBA), Guiseley, Leeds LS19 7, Royaume-Uni
[get directions]

D markerLiverpool airport -
Liverpool Airport, Liverpool L24, Royaume-Uni
[get directions]

E markerLondon Stanstead airport -
Aéroport de Londres Stansted (STN), Essex, Royaume Uni
[get directions]

Ryanair destinations in S W France

show route and directions
A markerLimoges airport -
Aéroport International de Limoges (LIG), 81 Avenue de l'Aéroport, 87100 Limoges, France
[get directions]

B markerBergerac airport -
Aéroport de Bergerac-Roumanières (EGC), 24100 Bergerac, France
[get directions]

C markerBordeaux Airport -
Aéroport de Bordeaux (BOD), 33700 Mérignac, France
[get directions]

D markerPoitiers airport -
Aérodrome de Poitiers-Biard (PIS), 86580 Biard, France
[get directions]

E markerLa Rochelles airport -
Aéroport de La Rochelle-Ile de Ré (LRH), Rue du Jura, 17000 La Rochelle, France
[get directions]

In Conclusion

Don't be put off - just be forewarned and take your time to make your booking - especially the first one;

This article is to help people who want to book tickets. Please don't harangue me about the politics of Ryanair, (the link to the BBC Panorama programme exposes all their various sins), or to the un-greeness (excuse the expression) of air travel - I've included links to some sites dealing with all of that.

Without Ryanair I simply would not be able to see my family more than perhaps once a year, let alone take my son to see his Gran, Aunt and cousins. Whatever their faults, Ryanair and the other low cost carriers have done much to democratise air travel.

If you have any comments about your experience as a passenger, for better or worse, please do share with us in the comments box below.

Words of Warning: I'm an ordinary passenger, not an expert. These are my own observations and are intended only to draw your attention to parts of the on-line booking process that I have found difficult. Ryanair also change their procedure, rules and regulations so please do make sure that you are clear about what you are booking. I can't take any responsibility.

Having said that, if you find discrepencies or notice gaps in this advice, please do leave a comment below so that we can help other people to take advantage of what really are genuinely brilliant offers.

What do you think?

If you have flown with Ryanair, have you been happy with your experience overall?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Mixed
See results without voting

Have a good laugh about it all ... at Ryanair's expense

© 2011 Les Trois Chenes

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Share your experience of flying with Ryanair 10 comments

Les Trois Chenes profile image

Les Trois Chenes 14 months ago from Videix, Limousin, South West France Author

I do so agree, Susan. They make travel cheap and easy for all, not just the few. Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment.


Susan Hambidge profile image

Susan Hambidge 14 months ago from Hertfordshire, England

Great tips here - I use Ryanair a lot - in fact I just got back from a La Rochelle/Stansted trip with them. They are fine as long as you are forewarned and know exactly what to expect and what to look out for. Don't pay budget airline prices and expect a Virgin Atlantic experience and you'll be fine.


Les Trois Chenes profile image

Les Trois Chenes 5 years ago from Videix, Limousin, South West France Author

Hi Brian, many thanks for your comments. Pity Ryanair make it such an ordeal. I'm really happy with the actual flights etc but terrified of making a booking mistake. If the 'Marks and Spencers' of the flight world ever challenge Ryanair I'd happily pay a bit more for a company I thought was on my side!


BrianS profile image

BrianS 5 years ago from Castelnaudary, France

Ryanair are so annoying aren't they, but they are still usually the cheapest as long as you observe the rules. Nice Hub


Les Trois Chenes profile image

Les Trois Chenes 5 years ago from Videix, Limousin, South West France Author

Hi, Runway, hope it stands you in good stead and you have a super time in Europe. Where are you going? Drop in if you can.


Runway profile image

Runway 5 years ago from New York

Thanks for the great tip! I'm going to Europe in a few months and will definitely use this information.


Les Trois Chenes profile image

Les Trois Chenes 5 years ago from Videix, Limousin, South West France Author

Ice, thank you for your professional comments. I do hope I've got it right, but always grateful for any updates.


ice 5 years ago

your are my fav passenger. i m working for Ryanair in a call center and i would like to say that you are the perfect passenger. a passenger who knows the T&C of the company and books on our sit,e not on agencies` sites after that arguing with you that our system changed their flight or that he didn't know we don't have a canx policy.thank you for knowing all this so well


Les Trois Chenes profile image

Les Trois Chenes 5 years ago from Videix, Limousin, South West France Author

Many thanks, Simone, I'm about to book a flight so I'll be having a taste of my own medicine.


Simone Smith profile image

Simone Smith 5 years ago from San Francisco

Wow, great guide! I've always wondered how flying with Ryanair "works" and you've done an excellent job of breaking down the details! Excellent Hub!

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