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

Updated on October 6, 2018
Les Trois Chenes profile image

I've been an online writer for nine years. I live in Limousin, France, and have fully immersed myself in the culture and food of the region.

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.

Last night, 09 11 2016, I booked a flight from Limoges to Manchester for 9.79 euros. No hidden charges. On top of that no charge for credit card payment, and no insurance traps. Ryanair will soon be the world's favourite airline at this rate. Well done Ryanair!

Oops - spoke too soon - see below for early chek-in latest

Check out Ryanair flights here!

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 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 necessarily be fooled by the price of 9.99 euros that jumps out at you initially.

Booking on line was a minefield, but Ryanair have recently improved the site. Here are my updated tips for getting those excellently priced tickets without falling into any of the Ryanair 'traps for the unaware and unworldly' - ie ME!

Baggage update October 2018

You can now take a handbag on board the plan, max 35cm x 20cm x 20cm, and a duty free shopping bag 35cm x 20cm x 20cm.

Non-Priority: If you do not buy a priority ticket, your second 10kg cabin bag (max 55cm x 40cm x 20cm) will be taken from you at the boarding gate for you to collect on the carousel when you arrive.

Priority & 2 Cabin Bags (previously Priority Boarding) Flexi Plus, Plus or Family Plus: In addition to your small personal bag you can also bring on your 10kg cabin, dimensions as above.

Babies: No allowance for babies aged 8 days to 23 months without a seat, but you can bring a baby bag 5kg max.

Check out Ryanair site for more information.

Make sure you read the baggage information carefully every time you fly as rules change often, 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.

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 fly in winter

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. Read all the rules and regulations carefully
  4. Especially read the Ryanair baggage allowance rules and regulations
  5. My advice for a really budget-friendly holiday is to travel light and take only hand luggage
  6. Read all the tiresome anti-terrorist information carefully: My tip - don't take any liquids, make-up etc. If you take make-up, take the minimum and organise the special, sealable plastic bags in advance. This requirement seems to be less stringent now - but just in case?
  7. 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
  8. 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)
  9. 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 Check In

  1. You can now do your online check 30 days before your flight - they even send you an email to tell you so - but then I tried to check-in it turned out that you can only check-in early if you reserve a seat - otherwise it's four days before flight.
  2. If you don't check in there may be penalties - check the website for changes
  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:

  • Instead of books get a Kindle
  • Pack layers eg - swimsuit, underwear, T-shirt, shirt, light pullover, heavy cardigan, pac-a-mac or light raincoat. If warm wear the T-shirt, if cold - put everything on.
  • Be realistic about what you need - most people pack clothes they don't need or wear
  • Wear you heaviest and bulkiest items if possible. So pack sandals and wear your boots. Pack your light-weight jacket and wear your heavy coat (if it's hot, carry your coat)
  • If you're staying with friends or in a hotel you don't need to pack soap and towels etc
  • If you fly regularly to stay with the same friends or family, consider having a pack which you leave there. I have all my face creams, toothpaste, cosmetics etc, a few T-shirts, pullover and trousers in a bag that I leave so I can carry the minimum on the plane, or I have room to bring back any purchases.

Additional Charges

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

  1. 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 Stansted, Liverpool, Manchester 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

Need help? Special needs?

My 85 year old mother recently flew to France and back with Ryanair and had nothing but praise for their service. She needed a wheel chair and , in her own words, she said that "people were flying around all over the place" to help her.

She also left her handbag with her passport in it in the car in the car park at Leeds Bradford airport and there was a last minute dash by Ryanair staff who drove my sister to the car park and back in time to catch her flight. You just can't ask more than that, can you?

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 (Please check this information)

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
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 (Please check these as they are constantly changing

Bristol airport :
Aéroport international de Bristol (BRS), Wrington, Somerset du Nord BS48 3, Royaume Uni

get directions

East Midlands airport:
Aéroport d'East Midlands (EMA), Lockington, Comté de Leicester DE74 2, Royaume Uni

get directions

Leeds Bradford airport:
Aéroport de Leeds-Bradford (LBA), Guiseley, Leeds LS19 7, Royaume-Uni

get directions

London Stanstead airport:
Aéroport de Londres Stansted (STN), Essex, Royaume Uni

get directions

Manchester Airport:
Manchester Airport (MAN), Manchester M90 1QX, UK

get directions

Ryanair destinations in S W France

Limoges airport:
Aéroport International de Limoges (LIG), 81 Avenue de l'Aéroport, 87100 Limoges, France

get directions

Bergerac airport:
Aéroport de Bergerac-Roumanières (EGC), 24100 Bergerac, France

get directions

Bordeaux Airport:
Aéroport de Bordeaux (BOD), 33700 Mérignac, France

get directions

Poitiers airport:
Aérodrome de Poitiers-Biard (PIS), 86580 Biard, France

get directions

La 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?

See results

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

© 2011 Les Trois Chenes


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