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Ryanair Is The Worst Airline in the World

by on January 16, 2013 · 93 comments

in Trip Reports

Disclaimer: I am fully aware that I am a victim of severe coddling by US airline top-tier elite status and the subsequent culture of getting almost everything for free. I do take responsibility for my lack of planning before flying “LyinAir,” assuming that I’d be able to “figure it out” on the fly. That turned out to be a costly move and this post is to help others avoid the same mistakes in the future.

Right before Christmas I went to Dublin with some friends for a long weekend trip, which was the same trip that I had the harrowing United seating debacle and subsequent lucky upgrade to business class for my friend. I’ve been to Dublin a number of times and I absolutely love it and even have a great group of friends there, so I knew it would be a fun weekend.

However, I wanted to try something different and I don’t think I’ve ever heard a negative thing about Edinburgh, Scotland (well, maybe about the weather). I looked up flights and we were able to get cheap Aer Lingus flights there and due to scheduling, the best option for coming home was Ryanair, which came to $99 per ticket including all taxes and advanced seating assignments in the bulkhead row. I flew Ryanair in college once from Dublin to Paris (Beauvais airport, which was basically a shack in the middle of the woods) and it was perfectly fine. I know they are known for nickel and diming their passengers, but I wasn’t too concerned about baggage since we each had one compliant small carry-on for our one night trip. So far so good.

Edinburgh was great and we spent Sunday walking around the castle and going to the Scotch Whiskey Experience – skipping out on the hokey tour and instead heading straight for the tasting room. It was pretty cold and slightly rainy, so we ended up having a couple scotches – my favorite being the super smoky Ardbeg Uigeadail. The reason why I am telling you this is to at least give an excuse that my indulgence in Scotch was part of the reason for my negligence in this situation. Anyone who has ever been to Scotland (or drinks Scotch) can surely relate.

Enjoying a rare appearance from the sun in Edinburgh!

Enjoying a rare appearance from the sun in Edinburgh!

We headed back to the Sheraton (great hotel) with about 3 hours left to departure and I tried checking in online for our flight and was told that online check-in closes 4 hours prior to departure.

Seriously Ryanair?

We headed to the airport and I knew I was going to likely have to pay a fee, but once at the check-in counter, the agent informed us that she couldn’t even check us in and that we’d have to go to the manual ticketing counter and figure it out with them.

Seriously Ryanair?

A friendly gentleman escorted us and apologized under his breath for the ridiculous policy. Once at the desk the agents informed us it would be an astonishing £60 ($96) per boarding pass to print.

Seriously Ryanair?

Not only that, she would only accept cash, which we didn’t have and if I was going to get slammed with this huge fee, I at least wanted to get double points for it!

Seriously Ryanair?

We went to a kiosk and the friendly man helped us get through about 10 different errors before it finally took one of my credit cards. $288 and a half an hour of my life gone and I finally had our three expensive slips of paper, which I notice didn’t have our priority seating assignments. He told us that was normal and that we’d have to wait in line at the gate and ask them to validate the purchase there – and to bring proof of payment just in case.

Seriously Ryanair?

The gate area was a madhouse, filled with agents lurking and trying to find outside-of-policy carry-on bags. You are allowed one per person and we triple checked the sizes of our bags at the gate and were told all were fine. My friend had a small duffel bag and was pounced upon by two agents for being out of policy. He was able to argue his way out since the sizer did technically fit, but the whole experience was tacky and annoying.

Seriously Ryanair?

At the gate we told the gate agents we had priority boarding and initially they said we did not. After clicking through for a couple minutes, they finally acquiesced and hand wrote our seating assignments on our boarding passes.

My Ryanair boarding pass.

My Ryanair golden ticket…upgrade confirmed?

Priority boarding was called and we were brought outside into a waiting “cell” on the tarmac, where we hunkered down in the cold for about 15 minutes as we watched passengers from the arriving flight disembark from the plane. I thought it was a little bit ridiculous that we started boarding before the passengers were off the arriving flight. I understand they want to turn the plane around as quickly as possible, but making your passengers wait in an unheated holding area is cattle-esque.

Seriously Ryanair?

Ryanair

Our Ryanair plane arrives.

Luxurious tarmac boarding in the pleasant winter Scotland weather

Luxurious and well-thought-out tarmac boarding in the pleasant winter Scotland weather

Once on the plane, we took our seats and everything went smoothly. Ryanair blocks out the seats behind the paid premium seats and stores luggage on them. It looked a little bit like a crime scene, but what else could you expect from Ryanair?

Seats blocked out.

Ryanair First Class Cabin

I ended up sleeping through the flight and I actually preferred the jet flight versus our propeller jet Aer Lingus flight on the way over. They sell every single amenity on-board – nothing is free – but I knew that and wasn’t bothered by it. Upon arrival at Dublin, our friends joked that they’d pick us up 30 minutes after landing since the Ryanair terminal is about a kilometer walk from the passenger pick-up area. It was a hike, but I’d walk two kilometers to get out of paying that $288 boarding pass printing fee!

I have no issues with an airline trying to make money, but treating passengers like livestock and charging insanely ludicrous fees for printing a boarding pass, something that should be simple to do on a kiosk in 2013, is what makes me think Ryanair is the worst airline in the world. Well maybe that’s a little harsh – after all the most important thing while flying is doing so safely and Ryanair has never had a single crash or fatality in its 23 year history, though its operational safety standards often come under scrutiny.

However, customer service-wise, I think it is a disaster of an airline and I’m happy I don’t have to fly them on a regular basis. So if you are flying Ryanair in the future, don’t make the same mistake I did. I should have listened to what my Dad told me from a young age – cheap is expensive!

Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Opinions expressed here are author.s alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through the credit card issuer Affiliate Program.

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  • Maury

    Any opinions about EasyJet? I am flying them in March from Naples to Geneva.

  • Ludwiseb

    Ryanair is a great cheap airline if you stick to their rules. They offer a standard low cost low service product. If you are happy with this and their rules, then they are a good way to travel. Otherwise, I would always recommend paying more for “more service” airlines.

  • Mike

    Worst Airline in the World – Ireland is such a great travel experience and Ryan Air is such a disgrace. Travelling with 10 family members from Dublin to Venice for the start
    of a cruise our $139.00 ticket wound up an average of $470.00 each. Every single checked bag was determined to be overweight and charged huge amounts. Payments
    for this violation was handled like criminal court causing 4 family members to miss boarding the flight. Ryan Air is without a doubt the Worst Airline in the world.

  • Andrew

    I have to say I respectfully disagree with Ryanair being considered the worst airline in the world. It fits a niche market and does it well. When I studied abroad in College I flew Ryanair quite a bit. My friends and I were all aware of the potential extra costs, but we planned accordingly and had no issues. Ryanair has no bells or whistles, but it gets you from A to B cheaply. When you fly Ryanair you have an understanding of what you are getting yourself into (the pay per minute customer service and the rest). Ryanair is great for the price.

  • http://twitter.com/Chad_Gibbs Chad Gibbs

    I flew Easy Jet from Barcelona to London last February. I don’t recall having any problems ( at least nothing like PG had with Rynair) and the flight was $80 or so.

  • Jon

    Sounds worse than Spirit in the US.

  • thepointsguy

    Flew them Madrid-Marrakesh 4 years ago and it was perfectly fine- no frills, but much less aggressive than ryanair

  • http://www.facebook.com/joaquin.murietta.3 Joaquin Murietta

    You should have paid attention while booking. It specifically states the terms around checking in and making sure you have your boarding pass printed up. Your basically slamming Ryanair for your negligence.

  • http://www.facebook.com/joaquin.murietta.3 Joaquin Murietta

    Exactly. AsiaAir is similar. Know the rules.

  • kyle

    flew with them a couple times in europe – i had no issues – but they are very strict on their baggage rules as well.

    at least they use the standard terminals at airports

  • thepointsguy

    I totally take responsibility for not reading through the rules. That doesn’t mean I still can’t hate them for charging me $96 for printing a piece of paper ;-)

  • Johnnycakes112

    Thanks for the informative post. I will not even bother considering RyanAir in the future. I’ll pay more or take slower form of travel to avoid being put in a situation where I may punch an airline employee in the face.

  • http://www.facebook.com/joaquin.murietta.3 Joaquin Murietta

    Good point hehe. Reminds me of when I got fined for riding an uncovered high speed France train with my Eurorail pass.

  • Carsten Varming

    You can check in 15 days before your flight. You ignored all the advice of your readers and now you call RyanAir the worst airline in the world. Not classy.

  • http://twitter.com/robbyshields Robby Shields

    I flew RyanAir to Dublin from Barcelona…we called it a “cattle car,” but it got us from point A to point B. We also booked last minute, so instead of a cheap RyanAir flight, our tickets were like $200. I flew EasyJet all the time, though! They were great 7 out of 8 times. The 1 screw-up was a total and complete nightmare, though. I guess you get what you pay for.

  • http://twitter.com/robbyshields Robby Shields

    I’ve flown them on 4 separate RT tickets. They were fantastic on 7 of 8 flights! One was cancelled due to weather, and let me tell you they don’t give a CRAP about you once the flight is cancelled. I think I was refunded my 34 euros and then was stuck to fend for myself in the middle of England. If your trip is extremely pressing and important, I would consider buying the insurance.

  • iah_phx

    What’s wrong with Ryanair’s policy is that it’s a complete “gotcha” charge. It serves absolutely no logical purpose except to steal money from their passengers. Businesses that impose fees like this are evil. I would agree that Ryanair is the worst airline in the world.

  • Andrew Hobbs

    I don’t dislike Ryanair because of their no frills approach. I object to the deceptive and unfriendly practices by which they attempt to extract the maximum amount of money from their sometimes unsuspecting customers. The online booking process is designed to make minimizing fees difficult if not impossible (credit card fees, foreign transaction fees, currency conversion, etc). Brian’s example of airport check-in fees is classic Ryanair. Full disclosure shouldn’t be an excuse to screw the customer. I refuse to do business with a company whose sole interest is in profit at the expense of taking care of customers.

  • http://www.euanross.com Euan

    easyJet are far better than Ryanir, IMO. easyJet also offer allocated seating on nearly all their flights which makes boarding a much more pleasurable experience.

    Add to that they still have airport check-in desks where you won’t get charged for checking a bag in. Plus they fly to major airports and not airports 100km+ out of the city.

    However, in Ryanair’s defence they are VERY clear on the rules and very well known over here for their lack of slack if you slip up. In addition, the run a lot of routes that if it weren’t for them may not exist.

  • JeanPaulHoulette

    They ARE the worst airline in the world. When the Icelandic volcano blew up a few years ago we were in Dublin and couldn’t get out (obviously). RyanAir was the ONLY airline to go against European Airline rules and not pay for the travel costs associated with these delays. In America, we would never dream that an airline would pay for “Acts of God” but they are supposed to in Europe. Might actually be a good article to write!!

  • http://www.euanross.com Euan

    Nice review, not flown Ryanair for years, normally stick to easyJet if I’m taking a LCC. Last time I flew with them they didn’t fleece you for everything like they do now.

    One small thing, it’s whisky and not whiskey ;)

  • Brian

    The problem with RyanAir has always been the same, and it IS a problem. The old argument, “You should have read the rules…” doesn’t make sense. And here’s why – we that travel a lot, or take in all these travel blogs, KNOW inherently what RyanAir does and charges for (or I should say MOSTLY know). The problem is – if you aren’t a travel fanatic or just plain hardly ever travel – RyanAir is a huge trap. I can’t imagine my parents booking a European vacation – and then simply picking the cheapest fare as most non-travelers do .. and then show up at the airport with their bags and get charged 400-500% more than what they originally paid. There’s only so much “you should have read…” that makes sense. It’d be like going to a gas station, and on the pump are small T&C that say you agree that for every gallon of gas you get, you agree to pay the gas station an extra $10 “light fee” for getting gas under the lights. “You should have read….” Fine print should be banned, period, if it involves extra charges. Companies will always try and take advantage of things like this – until they are stopped. And they, of course, they will complain that they have the right to charge for these things. But printing a boarding pass? And even moreso being unable to print it yourself at a kiosk? $96? That’s crazy, insane, and quite frankly should be illegal. What if you got into a cab, and the cab driver hands you a piece of paper to sign for the ride that’s a full page long, and tells you it’s $20 for the ride, and of course that’s in huge large font on the paper. And then after the cab ride, he charges you $140 because (a) it was an extra $20 for using trunk space (b) it was an extra $35 to sit in the left back seat (c) it was an extra $50 for not calling ahead for the cab (d) it was an extra $15 because it was at night ….. sound ridiculous? Yeah, just as ridiculous as $96 to print a boarding pass that’s impossible to print at the airport. Even if the law is, “If you charge to print for a boarding pass, you must make printing a boarding pass possible at the airport.” would at least make some sense.

    Again, you have to think of the “normal” people in the world that don’t travel nearly as much as we do.

  • Santastico

    Just flew EasyJet in and out of Geneva and had a very good experience.

  • http://twitter.com/WanderngAramean Wandering Aramean

    So you start by saying you recognize it is all your fault for not paying attention but still call them the worst in the world.

    Wow…that’s takes some balls.

    At least you managed to work in some CC referral links; should help you make up the money you “lost” for not paying attention pretty quickly.

  • Mickpaul

    If you hate Ryanair you’ll love this…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HPyl2tOaKxM

  • Jacqueline

    BUT If you know all of the rules, you can get a really cheap flight. My Master’s program was in Edinburgh and during my school breaks I just looked at where Ryanair would send me for 1 pound and went there. I went from Edinburgh to Bologna, Florence to Zadar, Zadar to Edinburgh for 20 pounds TOTAL. If you don’t bring a bag and you are stay up on their policies, it’s a great deal for a really shitty flight that ends up getting you there. Just watch out because often times their airports are 30 miles outside of the city and the only way in is to take the Ryanair shuttle and at 20 pounds this can be more expensive than your 5 pound flight. While at Edinburgh I flew around the UK on ryanair for pennies. Literally. EDI to Bournemouth = 0.01 pound. If you know their policies it’s fun to stick it to them by getting a really cheap flight and getting around all of their fees. HA!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Sue-Dalsing/100000496770351 Sue Dalsing

    We flew them from London to Glasgow and then Glasgow to Rome. All for 14 pounds each plus a bit of tax. First flight was great but then because of some international conference in Rome, they had to divert us from the rinky dink airport they use in Rome and flew us into some place that I still don’t know where it was. This was before I carried a phone everywhere (6 years ago) and only by accident did I find that out. They chartered a bus and drove us 3 hours to the center of Rome after charging us for the bus ride-4x more than the plane ticket cost. Oh well, they saved us the bus fare from the airport. Too bad it was midnight and we still had to get 5 people to Trastevere at midnight.
    Continental had just done something far worse to us, so we took the Ryanair fiasco in our stride.
    With Ryan, you just have to make sure that you follow their checkin and contact rules to a T or baby it is going to cost you. The only reason for that is so they can make money off of rule breakers. And I think they make it into a game so that they can laugh about it later. I can only imagine the conversations in the employee lounge.

  • JR

    I’ve flown a number of European LCCs, including FlyNiki, Wizz Air, Vueling, EasyJet, Jet2.com, Aer Lingus, and of course RyanAir. I agree that RyanAir is the least pleasant to fly on and feels the most sleezy, even of the LCCs. It really isn’t THAT bad though, especially for the amount that I’ve paid for it. It’s enabled me to go to places I wouldn’t have been able to afford otherwise.

    Thankfully I’ve never had an experience as bad as yours, I’m sure that would change my perspective.

  • Noway

    you should have taken a shit on the floor at the terminal…that would teach them

  • brianyyz

    Chiming in with a +1. Don’t be calling them the worst when you know it is your “lack of planning” is the basis of your beef. You got what you wanted.

  • DavidYoung2

    They ARE the worst. It’s one thing to try to make money, but another to have policies so ridiculously out of line with reality (ie, charging to print a boarding pass) that it crosses a line with ‘reasonable.’

    Ryan Air and Spirit — two airlines that, if you choose to fly them, consider yourself lucky if you only have to pay twice the stated fare.

  • Lively

    That’s too much for printing a boarding pass. Knowing the rules or not knowing the rules.

  • Scott Cunning

    They charge $125 for that.

  • Brian

    Brilliant!

  • Scott Cunning

    I don’t understand why some of you are defending this so much. It’s one thing for a carrier to have fees for everything in order to provide a cheap product for those that do not take advantage of extra services, but those fees should be reasonable. $96 for a boarding pass is not reasonable. It’s not even remotely tied to the cost of providing that service.

  • Brian

    Funny they only accept cash, as they know most people would be calling up their credit card companies and initiating chargebacks for the ridiculous amounts.

  • Michael

    This is brilliant!

    They certainly got you by the arse if you don’t follow every term and condition. I’ve heard the best way around everything is to just fly in a Travelvest with your middle finger cocked as you board

  • Justin

    meh… agree for the most part, but ~$300 to print a boarding pass is clearly absurd

    everything else is just standard LCC crap that really isn’t worth whining about

  • Grainnemulcahy

    I am from ireland know exactly what you are talking about – they are the WORST airline in the world and it is partcuklarly hard for elderly people who might not know how to use the interent to check in online or have any way of knowing about it. They have no mercy and SUCK. My elderly mother refuses to ever fly with them and always goes Aer Lingus no matter what the fare difference is becqause she knows the stress and truam, never mind the ultimate cost she always has to oay not matter what she does is not wirht it. Life is too short for their souless actions.

  • Philipp

    I flew Ryanair from “Frankfurt” to Porto back in 2007 and will avoid at all costs to fly it again.

    I flew several times Vueling and Easyjet when I lived in Lisbon and most of the time flights went pretty well. I would fly them again.

    Finally, last October, I helped my parents to plan a trip in Europe and with some advance planning I was able to make them fly LH from Rome to Berlin for only EUR30 each insted of Venice to Budapest for EUR1. I am pretty sure the would bot have saved each the EUR29 and it would cost actually much more to them to take this Ryanair flight.

    This November I might have to fly some Asia Air flights, but from what I heard they are a far better low cost company than Ryanair

  • TheOtherSobeBrian

    I disagree. Its one thing to charge a fee but $96 for printing is ridiculous. RyanAir is a true budget airline and TPG knew what he was getting into but that fee is a pure gotcha, not ala carte service…

  • Amused

    The BP is completely your fault, not the airline’s. They can charge whatever they darn well please for you “piece of paper”. You bloggers are a hoot sometimes.

  • James

    Ha! Great point about the referral links. That’s probably the only reason for the post.

  • http://twitter.com/racingwinds Taylor Michie

    I don’t have a problem with Ryanair. Flew them from Brussels – Marrakech two summers ago, and we had no problems. The tickets were cheap and it got us there when we needed to be … Granted, Charleroi Airport is a bit out of the way, but still a nice space. With advance planning and reading the rules and regulations, the Ryanair experience isn’t terrible.

  • James

    There’s a very clear link when choosing flights: “Fares do not include optional fees/charges. For a full list of Ryanair fees, please click here”.

    The reservation process also very clearly adds the costs up for each checked bag.

  • http://twitter.com/racingwinds Taylor Michie

    It’s absolutely a gotcha. But Ryanair opens checkin 15 days in advance of flying; that’s two weeks of being able to print your boarding pass free of charge.

  • Nothanks

    Seriously Aramean? Closing online check-in four hours ahead is as insane as $96 for printing a ticket that you already bought. There’s nothing ballsy about TPG’s claim, this sounds like a simple case of schadenfreude.

  • http://www.facebook.com/pnet.jain Pnet Jain

    Please keep flying Ryanair. Idiots like you keep tickets cheap for the rest of us who can follow the rules.

  • http://www.cheaptrickstotravel.com/ CheapTrickstoTravel

    I agree, I LOVE Ryanair because it’s cheap and pretty easy. (Spirit Airlines just doesn’t compare in my opinion.) I usually travel light (a small day pack to avoid fees) and go to an internet cafe to print a boarding pass and have never had a problem. The only negative I’ve experienced is that some of their airports are far out of the city and can require expensive transport costs to get there. Before I book I check to see how much that part is going to cost before I book the airline ticket.

  • E5

    NO, SPIRIT AIRLINES are the worst. believe me.

  • Bryan1793

    Recent article that pretty much sums up Ryanair — CEO sounds like a real class act.

    http://skift.com/2012/11/08/airline-boss-says-in-case-of-a-crash-a-seatbelt-wont-save-you/

  • Andrew

    WHY DO YOU READ HIS BLOG THEN?

  • Andrew

    IF HE’S AN IDIOT WHY DO U READ HIS BLOG IDIOT?

  • calbear77

    James, do you work for RyanAir? If not, are you effing kidding me?

  • Andrew

    Is that a time fee or annual fee? Can you use a Points Earning CC? or Just Euro? No CC = Dealbreaker! CC=DONE!

  • http://twitter.com/QuincyBotz Quincy B

    I can’t believe $100 for a boarding pass! I had a choice last summer to fly them or Air Lingus (on a connection flight thru Cork) to London from Malaga, and chose the inconvenient flight because I couldn’t imagine flying Ryan Air, the s***iest airline in the world. I think I paid more too. When I read how they had passengers loading their luggage on the plane, that’s when I drew the line. This is an airline, not a bus! And I really hate to get cheated ($100 boarding passes? You’ve got to be kidding.).

    I hope they go down in flames.

  • calbear77

    I think RyanAir has an army of orc-slaves to troll the comment section of these posts.

    But they make a good point. The first time you fly RyanAir, they get you with all those silly fees because flyers assume that some part of their process must be reasonable and like anything else they are used to. But after that, everyone learns the lesson and they go back to flying RyanAir because everyone else is so damned expensive. It’s ok if somebody treats you like crap when you expect it.

  • Viren

    I am sorry. No sympathy here. I agree that its tough getting used the “Ryanair Way”, which includes printing your boarding pass at home, planning your carry-on, but seriously that is all that it is – > A different way for a REALLY CHEAP price. I have traveled on Ryanair and because I knew what to expect, everything went smoothly. Even on my flight, I saw people being shafted to print boarding passes and pulled aside with overweight carryons, etc.

    Yes no other airline does this. But no other airline offers their prices. The proof is in the pudding. Ryanair has 80 millions passengers a year, the LARGEST in Europe (and largest in the world depending on the metric you use)

  • Discoinferno

    Ryanair will screw you over if you don’t play by their rules. You didn’t, you paid for it. You had plenty of time prior to this to check-in, so whatever the faults of Ryanair (and there are many) in this case you brought it on yourself I’m afraid.

  • dshanker

    sounds like spirit air…

  • Justcallmeryan

    There is another side to Ryanair which you have not acknowledged here, but I will try to elaborate. I have a group of friends who live in a town called Bergamo, in northern Italy. They LOVE Ryanair. Why you ask?

    Before Ryanair came to their local airport as a satellite for Milan, they had no way of affordably flying anywhere. It was an expensive, time consuming trip to Milan to then take an expensive Alitalia flight for their holiday.

    Since Ryanair has come in, they now have access to destinations around Europe for an affordable price. They visit Spain, the UK, Southern France etc, all places that would not have been affordable in the Alitalia days. Yes their T & Cs are pretty strict, but you learn to live with them over time in return for cheap fares. Ryanair also fly strage routes that sometimes may not seem amazing for everyone, but avoid the need to fly to main hub airports. I flew them once from Bergamo (Milan) to Santander in Spain, which in the past would have involved trekking to Milan, then connecting through Madrid, which would have been expensive and a pain in the rear!

    So, strict and annoying for those of us used to traveling in comfort? YES. Difficult to understand T & Cs? YES. Could they have better customer service? YES. Would I choose to fly them over a competitor for a similar price on the same route? NO.

    But worst airline in the world? HARDLY.

  • Paul

    It’s pretty ironic that in the same post where he complains about the money grubbing nature of RyanAir, he’ll manage to slip in an affiliate link in a post that has nothing to do with it

  • MarcK

    Sounds like you are jealous or have some other problem with Brian. Never liked your blog BTW. And James if you don’t like what you see just stay away. Many readers enjoy TPG’s article. So what if he puts in a CC referral link.

  • Anonymous

    duh. I was a student in the UK from 1999-2005 and had to rely on EasyJet and RyanAir a lot. RyanAir has always been the worst. Only thing close is Air India.

  • BluTangle

    ahhhh. Poor Brian had to stand in the cold and spend his money and not get his ears tickled and free pooh bear pudding in a sterling cup.

    Brian still thinks karma is a exclusive club that takes miles for the VIP section.

  • Canderer2

    I’m surprised so many people are critical of this article. No one is asserting that Ryanair should not have the right to do these things. The assertion is that it is a poor practice. The fees described in this article are not clearly described in their Fees section of their website. One should not have to read an airline’s ENTIRE website from start to finish to find important policies like this.

  • JAG

    didn’t read comments, but I just flew them from Germany to Rome last month just before Christmas. Studied up a bit on the “gotchas”, planned and prepared a bit, and all went perfectly fine, EXCEPT that both landings were well beyond horrible – I’m a pilot/flight instructor/check airman so I’ve been through a lot; I’ve never even had a student land so poorly. I also checked their safety record before I booked and it was practically impeccable , but after those landings, I’ll be avoiding Ryan Air in the future. They’re almost certain to have an incident/accident based on those skill demonstrations. I’ll count any higher fair I might have to pay as a life insurance premium.

  • houstonmama

    I agree! They are horrible!

  • AKold

    But that’s the rules with RyanAir and someone with the travel sense of TPG should know how to avoid it.

    You can buy a ticket on RyanAir for 20 Euros! That’s not sustainable … they make their money off fees like this. Read the website and you can avoid it. Or don’t fly them. TPG got what he deserved.

  • seoulflyer

    Personally, I figure “gotcha” schemes work to my advantage.

    The juicy credit card bonuses that most of us here enjoy wouldn’t be possible without them.

    As long as one avoids “gotchas” more often than the average person, one comes out ahead in the end.

  • http://www.triplepundit.com Nick Aster

    Ryan Air is trash. Don’t listen to the people blaming you. No one should be forced to “do homework” to avoid paying for their tricky boarding pass nonsense. They are a genuinely disgusting company and it blows my mind that people continue to give them money. I would gladly pay double to avoid them as a matter of principal.

  • Carlos

    I’ve never had a surprise with RyanAir, but I have gone through a huge amount of stress flying them. Paranoid the whole time that they’d catch something I’d forgotten. It’s no way to fly.

    I have no intention of ever flying them again, but if I do, and if anything happens, I plan to vandalize the shit out of the plane with a permanent marker. That’ll cost them something!

  • http://www.triplepundit.com Nick Aster

    It is. Sprit is based on Ryanair, but so far hasn’t stooped quite to their level.

  • Mary Pendrill

    I travel with Ryanair regularly. I find them perfectly OK for a budget airline and follow the SIMPLE rule of printing my ticket on-line before I go. I don’t feel you can blame an airline for the cost of your mistake. I have never felt I’ve been treated like livestock but have always found the staff pleasant and competent. I fly with them to France and back every month and have been for several years. Their safety record is what interests me most, not whether they charge over-the-top for the self indulgence of drinking Scotch whiskey. So no, I can’t relate.

  • wfb

    Seth, that’s beneath you.

    Seth, did you know the print boarding pass fee at airport check in to be $100? I flew Paris Orly to Rome Ciampino on EasyJet a while back. My Parisian friend, accustomed to European budget airlines, insisted on printing my boarding pass at home to avoid a 10 or 20 Euro fee at the airport. Shocking at the time. $100 for Ryanair? Yes, worst Western airline in the world.

  • Guest

    The boarding pass fee has existed for quite many years and has been critized so many times in European and US press that almost every one should have heard of them… Don’t understand how a blogger can miss it…

  • thepointsguy

    I had never heard of a $100 boarding pass fee and it seems like most others here did not as well. It was not highlighted during the booking process either

  • Yakolev

    I think the title is a pretty broad statement because… it depends. I have traveled to over 82 cities in 28 countries across all 5 continents (I just checked my map on tripadvisor). And that probably wouldn’t be news til I mention that I am only 28 years old and I am not a pilot or flight attendant or work for any travel agency. So, as a student with a big passion for traveling, I can say that Ryanair is responsible for many of those cities pinned on my traveling map.

    I do understand your rage, though. That’s why I don’t recommend Ryanair to everybody. Ryanair is an animal of its own, but it’s a science worth studying. You have to play by their rules in order to reap its benefits. I paid 60 euros for a roundtrip from Oslo to Madrid (3+ hours of flight each way) when I would have paid 250+ with other airlines. But I was mentally ‘ryanized’ before I headed for my trips. I packed lightly, I wore heavy jackets instead of packing them, I studied the Ryanair airports and made sure that the long commuting was worth the low fare price, I printed my boarding pass way in advance. These are things that perhaps Top-Tier Elite Status travelers like you (no offense) wouldn’t even consider for a number of reasons.

    Like you, I think punishing passengers with over sized luggage at the boarding gate and printing out receipts at ridiculous prices is lame and unfortunate. I watched with pity sometimes how people got caught for an extra inch. Sometimes I felt more pitiful for their underpaid employees who had to put up with all that drama. But you know what? That’s necessary for them to stay in business. Do I agree with it? No I don’t. But something’s gotta give. If they were more flexible, they would have been long gone with those prices. That’s how they make money and they dont care whether you like it or not. Ultimately, the market is always right, and if they have a market, you must thank God you at least have other options.

    I learned that if you want to go from point A to point B, safe, on time, and for a bargain, then be as cold and senseless and frivolous as they are and play by their rules. They will do their part with no surprises, but you must do your homework. And by the way, even though the devil is in the details, I don’t think they are that slick when it comes to the small print. Actually, I remember receiving AT LEAST two emails from them after I purchased a ticket; the second email was about a week before the trip announcing that you could check in already and that you would be charged big time if you checked in at the airport.

    It’s a long long topic, but just my 2 cents.

  • Mary

    Brilliantly put. You make some excellent points. To add to the drama of the current weather conditions, I sat on a Ryanair plane for 4 hours yesterday until finally being told we couldn’t fly. People were outraged and the poor flight attendants certainly took an ear-bashing. Passengers were given the option of getting off, which about a quarter did, with the proviso that they couldn’t get back on if the plane did manage to take advantage of a ‘window of opportunity’ to get off the ground. Back in the airport it was like WW3. I got out, found a hotel and let them get on with it. In the end I’ll get my refund from Ryanair and (hopefully) the cost of the hotel. People are SO quick to complain and lose their tempers but in all honesty, the company did the best they could. (More of my 2 cents!)

  • Toppoppett

    Fly with them all the time, have done for years, and never had a bad landing. I think you were just unlucky.

  • Toppoppett

    But they send you an email well in advance clearly stating that you have to book in online! It’s really very simple and I have never read their terms and conditions or any ‘small print’.

  • http://twitter.com/jameskibwe James Miller

    Its simple, I flew with them once to Sweden and I will NEVER fly them again – no matter what! NEVER!

    British Airways is better, you get your checked bag, a central airport and all facilities – like a proper gate and not walking on the tarmac to get to the airport building in the rain!

    Sometimes BA are even cheaper than budget flights too! I will only fly easyJet where they are cheaper, if not, its always BA.

    I am grateful for Ryanair thou, don’t get me wrong; keeps competition high for BA, which benefits me, and the tacky types have their own crap airline to fly leaving the more civilised types to fly BA without the football chanting and booze binges.

  • AceTracer

    Ryanair subsidizes my €10 flights by charging inattentive people like you.

    I’m okay with that.

  • Chino

    Wow, Wandering Aramean comes off as a real tool here (along with the other haters, who should just read something else if they don’t like what they see here). I just unsubscribed from his twitter feed, which I had found moderately useful before.

    Anyway, TPG, I enjoyed the post, but I must disagree with your ultimate assessment, Aerolineas Argentinas currently holds the undisputed title of: The Worst Airline In The World. :)

  • |m|

    The whole drama are not smart enough .. Ryanair the most clever and corruption by big boss. Tired to take over Aer Lingus as well… all you foolish to support Ryanair business as the cheap treat and costs your life forever !

  • http://www.facebook.com/mel.c.thompson Mel C. Thompson

    Corporate Terms and Agreements are all fake contracts anyway. Since no one on earth could actually read all of the contents related to all of the terms boxes they are required to check to get through a day. These are all scam contracts which only exist because governments are in the pockets of airlines and don’t want to regulate them. It is possible for the state to invalidate contracts where the element of surprise, or the mind-numbing detail, or the sheer imbalance of power involved, and/or the desperation of the customers comes into play. For instance, in California, you cannot sign away your right to sue, in many instances, because corporations all decided, en masse, to always include surrendering one’s right to sue no matter how bad you are ripped off in their so-called contracts. After a while the courts invalidated certain industry-wide ripoffs. For instance, in the medical world, for a while, you could not see a doctor unless, before you saw him, you “agreed” ahead of time that basically you would allow him to win any legal dispute that might occur. So I could care less that corporate lawyers can hand us a hundred pages of contracts a day and then claim we are responsible for reading 1,000 pages of contracts a week in order to do ordinary business. Screw that! Such scams should be illegal, whether or not we sign these extortion contracts, period. I know the conservative, “Always Be Personally Responsible” crowd hates that, but too bad. Corporate assholes who bully us by handing us a thousand pages of contracts a week just so we can see the doctor and fill a prescription and book a plane ticket, are evil, period. The fact that they use these fake contracts to legally permit their intent to be horrible, unethical people, does not excuse them. Sorry. Ryanair can kiss my ass.

  • Toppoppett

    Get a life. Ryanair is cheap. You get what you pay for and it’s not that bad, speaking as someone that flies with them once a month and has done for years. Who reads terms and conditions anyway? Good grief. Campaign for something worthwhile and stop using up so much ‘energy’

  • http://travelisfree.com/ Travel is Free

    I have to say that I agree, such fees are absurd. Sure, it’s your fault for not reading… but I’ve shown up last minute without checking in online 100+ times and have never had that problem and have never been charged.
    I sympathize with your complains. But be honest; how many times did you say, “do you know who I am?” or “I’m going to have to write about this on my…”? Be honest!

    But really… it’s simply insane. I’m gonna avoid them as I’m notorious for showing up at the last minute without a care.

  • uglyfatbloke

    I reject outright your suggestion that Ryan Air is the worst…you have clearly never had to deal with EasyJet.

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  • United Fan

    I love whiskey and love taking the train or flying to Edinburgh. But I also love to walk down to the local pub and order an Ale. Depends on my mood and sometimes even my favourite pub lets me down.

    I love United… I am a million miler on United. I also love Ryanair. Have had bad experiences on both.

    You just need to understand why they do what they do. Next time look at the luggage and flight check in line at Ryanair and compare to United’s economy check in. I have never seen any line and there is usually only one or two attendants there. Since they require fewer attendants and fewer costly check-in counter linear feet (how the airport charges rent to the airlines), it saves them millions of pounds on personnel and facility charges.

    Looking at a magazine interview during the summer holiday rush, the president of Ryanair said they set their penalties higher and higher until they get the behaviour they want from travellers like us. During vacation, they have to double the cost to check a bag. That keeps folks from checking bags to prevent having to pay overtime or hire more check-in agents and bag handlers.

    Yes they have found that they have to charge the $96 to their clients to pay close enough attention to enter their details correctly into the computer. Knowing I have to pay 60 quid for them to reprint my boarding pass if I entered in the wrong Passport number makes me pay close attention. If I pay nothing or 10 quid, they have found folks do not. I know it changed my behaviour and I triple checked my numbers.

    Same with check-in. There is a business reason. The data you enter has to be forwarded to the governments where you are going for security reasons. Most of it is automatic, but some will have to be manually handled. From Queuing Theory in Statistics, you know the shorter your processing time before the deadline, the more staff you need to employ. Again 4 hours vs. 30 minutes = less cost to Ryanair.
    Now why I fly Ryanair: On a whim I decided to fly my family of 5 to Dublin for the summer term break. I bought a ticket at the height of the summer travel season only 6 days before the flight and it was only 400 quid round trip. That was 700 less than the next cheapest.
    Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I want to pay for the agent’s time and overhead expenses to type in my passport numbers, I want to pay for a baggage handler to take my bag full of clothes I won’t wear, I want to pay for an agent to print my boarding pass, I want to pay to be able to show up at the airport with 40 minutes before my flight, I want pay to have a large carryon, I want to pay for the airplane to have a longer turn around so I can pick my own seat before I board.
    That is why I am a million miler on United.
    But if I want to take the family on a nice trip and spend the 700 quid on a nicer hotel and better food (maybe a nice glass of whiskey after dinner), Ryanair never lets me down. They almost always are the cheapest, have one of the best on time records, and other than the long walk to their terminals usually require less time in lines at the airport. That is why they are the largest international airline in the world by passenger numbers.
    Before you say I work for the airline, I used to be in the air force (hence why I know about the security checks) and now work in manufacturing (queuing theory applies here too).

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