Ryanair has a bad rap, after all they really are the cream of the crop, bottom feeder, ultra-low fare leader airline. Ryanair charges passengers for everything! They are the leader in unbundling airfares and had lead the race to the bottom. One can argue, the entrance of ultra low cost carriers such as Ryanair has ruined flying. The luxury is gone, and the unbundled fares are here to stay. Yet, despite this, I flew Ryanair between Lisbon and Edinburgh, and I must admit I liked it!
Flying Ryanair – It’s basic
From Lisbon, Ryanair flies from terminal 2. Terminal 2 is a basic low cost terminal with no jet bridges and no lounges. There are a couple of restaurants if you find yourself here early. After check-in and dropping off our pre-paid bags, we had our documents verified and cleared security in a matter of minutes. I did not pay for priority access, not did I feel like I needed it. As there was no line at security.
45 minutes before departure, Ryanair called for boarding. The priority line was literally 2/3s of the aircraft. It was as if everyone but me paid for Priority Boarding! I had already paid €15 for Ryanair’s business class seat aka the exit row. Therefore I didn’t care when I boarded. Boarding last is ok in my book. Priority Boarding really reminding me of a scene from Come Fly With Me.
Boarding on Ryanair is not what I consider typical. Priority boarding and then everyone else. However, instead of boarding onto a plane, everyone was sent to a temporary holding area. Here we stood for 20 minutes while we waited for the incoming aircraft to arrive and unload. The minute the plane was done unloading, a flight attendant waved, and we boarded.
The plane and flight was basic, but very bright. Everything on the plane is blue and bright yellow! I would recommend sunglasses while on board. Also bring headphones, because Ryanair has 100s of announcements. Cabin Crew sale, and the sell hard!
First, menus with overpriced food and drinks are handed out. These are collected at the end of flights. After drinks and food service, duty free sales begin. Finally, lotto tickets! That’s right, Ryanair has pull-tab style lotto tickets for sale! Cash and credit is accepted on Ryanair.
Ryanair’s Unique Cabin
Ryanair is a basic airline with a unique cabin and aircraft configuration. For example, they are one of the only airlines in the world that takes deliveries of all their 737s with air stairs built into the plane’s fuselage. Seeing these in operation is a unique enough reason to fly Ryanair. Why does Ryanair have air stairs? Because they are too cheap to pay for jetways!
The airplane also has no seat-back pockets. This means emergency instructions are printed on the back of each seat! The entire flight you have no choice but to stare at how to evacuate. Both emergency life vests and oxygen are overhead. This reduces the likelihood of items being stolen and makes cabin crew pre-flight check faster.
The cabin bins are also giant flying advertisements. My plane did not have the advertisements, but you can see the borders which usually holds the ads. Instead, just MORE yellow!
Sell, sell, sell. The entire experience is made to be simple and to upsell you!
Extra Fees, but You Can Still Fly Cheaply
When flying Ryanair, you have to be smart. Ryanair will charge you for everything extra. Your ticket price only includes your seat, it does not include any extra. Baggage fees, rather it’s carryon or checked cost extra. Printing your boarding pass, yup that’s extra too! If you want an assigned seat, that will cost you. Even if your bag goes in the overhead cabin, that costs more too! To save money, pre-pay for everything! Also bring your own beverages and snacks.
To save money, it’s cheaper to pay for luggage online (rather checked or carryon) before getting to the airport. Or pay for priority boarding and have your carryon bag free. Just be sure that your carryon is within Ryanair’s tiny dimensions. Your US size carryon is likely to large for Ryanair’s standards. Also, note ALL non-EU citizens must print their boarding passes due to a mandatory passport check. The passport check is free, but ONLY if you pre-print your boarding pass. Otherwise it’s a €/£25 fee! And if you forget to check-in online, that’s another €/£55! Ryanair is so frugal, they will even charge you €/£25 for a lap infant. After all, those extra 10 lbs will cost Ryanair a few more gallons of gas. 😉
Before flying Ryanair, always check the fees page!
Final Thoughts on Ryanair
After flying Ryanair, I must say it wasn’t that bad. It was different and very basic. There was no amenities and I paid €3 for gummy bears which are usually just €1! Yet, besides that it wasn’t bad for a 2.5 hour flight. At just €70 after luggage and seat fees compared to €200+ on others airlines, Ryanair was worth it. No connections and less than the competition.
I will say I do not want to fly Ryanair across the Atlantic, or as my primary airline. Yet, when making short flights across Europe, why not. They really are not all that bad…