Flying on Ryanair is often one of the cheapest ways to fly point-to-point in Europe. However, the major complain people always have regarding Ryanair is their never-ending pursuit of ancillary revenue — they nickel and dime the passenger for seemingly everything. After all, Ryanair is the airline that infamously once tried to charge for use of the toilet, and has floated the idea of standing room only seats on its aircraft, just to fit more passengers onboard. Another major complaint about Ryanair is the rather predatory booking process on their website. Though the website has a much friendlier user interface than it used to, the booking process is downright cumbersome!
This post is meant to walk you through the booking procedure with Ryanair, so you can avoid accidentally paying for extra things that you don’t want! Once you successfully do this, Ryanair can fly you for really, really cheap within Europe. I had a decent flight with them last month.
4. Enter your name
6. If you’re checking bags, you’re going to want to pay for it earlier rather than later. Select “Add” and then choose your baggage selection. Please note that it is NOT possible to pay for a bag that weighs more than 20kg. You MUST pay for two bags if your bag weight more than 20kg. I experienced this frustration on my recent flight with Ryanair, and boy was it an obnoxious experience!
Though their policy states that you can buy up to two bags for a maximum combined weight of 35kg, no single bag can be in excess of 20kg — at least that’s the way the policy was enforced at Treviso Airport.
Cabin bags are permitted to be up to 10kg, and if they’re deemed over-sized by the gate agent, they will not just gate-check them for free like US airlines. They will gate-check your bag after charging you €50!
7. Choose assigned seats if you choose. It costs €5 for an assigned seat, and €10 for a “Premium” Seat. Priority boarding is included with the “Premium” seat, and with the long queues that often build up with Ryanair flights, it’s not a bad idea. Interestingly enough, extra leg-room seats cost the same as “premium” seats, so I would recommend on selecting one of those if you choose to pay for a seat assignment. I sat in seat 1C on my flight, and had plenty of room. If you choose not to pick an assigned seat, you will be automatically assigned one by the airline. If you’re traveling with someone, or with children, it maybe best to pick seats to ensure that you’re seated together.
12. It’s not over yet — you could PLAY to WIN! Or not… it sneakily adds a €2 charge to your account if you choose to PLAY to WIN. In perusing the Terms & Conditions, it’s interesting to note that the user may be charged anywhere between 1 and 10 euros to PLAY to WIN… wow! And they only pick one winner per week — this is the largest airline in Europe, people — those odds just ain’t that great.
13. Once you put in your contact and payment info, check out the text that says, “Your debit/credit card will now be charged 157.17 USD (108.11 EUR more information), you will be redirected to the next page for confirmation of this transaction.” Call me crazy, but the foreign exchange rate sounds a bit off. I’ll click for more info, thank you!
14. Click “more information” and you will see that Ryanair is doing you the favor of royally screwing you in your foreign exchange rate. They are charging a rate of $1.45USD: €1 when the going rate is $1.36USD: €1. On a purchase as large as this one, that would cost you about $10!
15. To ensure you don’t get screwed by this ridiculous exchange rate, uncheck the box in the disclaimer. You usually get the best rate if you just let your credit card / bank do the conversion for you since it will be billing in euros. If you have a credit card that does not charge foreign transaction fees, you’re good to go. If your card or bank DOES charge foreign transaction fees, it’ll likely cost you around 3% — still less than this bad exchange rate that’s proposed by Ryanair.
16. Review your charges. I decided on checking a 20kg bag and getting an assigned seat in row 1. I also opted to use a credit card. Those things upped my ticket price significantly, so you can see how Ryanair thrives on ancillary revenue like this.
17. Finally — Book the darned thing!
18. Important reminder: you MUST check-in online AND print out your boarding pass PRIOR to arriving at the airport. You are able to do this up to 30 days prior to your flight. Failure to do so results in either a €70 check-in fee at the airport or at €15 “boarding card re-issue fee” at the airport. Seriously.
As long as you are aware of these extra potential fees on Ryanair’s website, you shouldn’t have too much of a problem booking your ticket. After all, their tickets are many times exponentially less expensive than the next cheapest option. If you master the caveats of their booking process, you can really travel cheaply within Europe on Ryanair!