What are your experiences of Ryanair, or any other budget airline?
Low-cost airlines seem to be the ‘new big thing’ in travel. The cost of flying across a continent has never been cheaper or more accessible. Leading the way in this is market, is everybody’s favourite Irish airline, Ryanair.
I have flown with Ryanair once, and it certainly won’t be the last. In fact, I am planning my next trip with them now (a post to follow shortly). The budget airline seems to get some stick for it punctuality and its customer service. But I must say, I have not had any problems with them. The idea that I can fly to the other side of Europe with them for less than I can catch the train to Plymouth (two hours away) quite frankly makes me immediately love them. The cheapest one way flight with Ryanair that I have ever seen, was London Stansted to Timisoara (Romania) for £4.99. A ticket to the other side of Europe for less than a fiver.
Ryanair can be summed up with the clichéd phrase: ‘it does what it says on the tin’. Your ticket is basically your backside on a seat going wherever you’re going (plus one small cabin bag – all you need!). It is ‘no thrills’, but what more do you want, really? There is the option to add checked baggage, extra legroom, flexibility and all the other add-ons that budget airlines incessantly blast at you via email. But quite often, this will put your price up so high, that all the extras will cost more than your flight:
Booking my flight with Ryanair from Bologna to Bristol, it would have cost more for my bag to go to Italy than it would for me! Besides, the airport fiasco is so much easier without checked baggage. You can just walk right into security without having a check-in desk queue and then go straight into the departure lounge. At the other end, there is no waiting for your bag at the carousel, meaning you’re out of the airport an on your trip much faster.
Also note that Ryanair, as well as some other budget airlines, require you to either print your boarding pass yourself in advance and show up to the airport with it, or have it ready and downloaded on your phone or device. TOP TIP: They do not provide you with a paper boarding pass. If you show up to the airport expecting one, you will be whacked with a boarding pass fee of £15 or 15 Euros. Business Plus passengers can check in free at the airport, but this ticket type comes at extra cost.
Once you’ve cleared security and have waited in the lounge, the boarding process is the same as any other airline. Ryanair’s planes’ interiors are kitted out with blue seats which have a bright yellow backing. When people think of budget airlines, they generally think of uncomfortable seats which are so close together, you’re basically sat on someone’s lap, with a miniscule amount of legroom. When I flew to Budapest with Ryanair, I was pleasantly surprised. Sure, there’s not lots of room, but there’s enough. The seats were comfortable enough and my legs had enough space for the two and a half hour flight.
That’s a brief rundown of Ryanair. Now let’s look at where you can fly from the UK with Ryanair at their cheapest prices. The following flights are all one way and leave from the UK. They were searched on Ryanair’s website on 4th March 2017.
- Cologne, Germany:
For £9.99 you can fly from Stansted to the German city of Cologne. Located in Western Germany, near the Rhineland, Cologne is famous for its Gothic-looking cathedral. The city is an ideal city break location, especially during November and December when the Germans go all out for their Christmas markets.
2. Berlin, Germany:
For £12.99 you can have a trip from Glasgow to the German capital. Many of the sights of Berlin are world-famous and need no mention. The city is an ideal location for history-buffs to hop to for a few days.
3. Brussels, Belgium:
For £14.99, you can go from Manchester to the Belgian capital. With a flight time of little over an hour, it makes the perfect place for a quick chocolate and beer trip.
4. Barcelona, Spain:
For £16.99, you could visit one of Spain’s most popular cities from Edinburgh. Barcelona is one of the most popular city break destinations in Europe. No wonder when you can be there for lest than £20.
5. Pisa, Italy:
For just £14.99, you could leave Leeds behind for a break visiting the world’s most famous architectural mishap. Pisa, and its famous tower, are worth a visit in their own right. But why not combine it with a visit to Florence while you’re there. It’s only an hour’s train ride.
6. Venice, Italy:
For £16.99, you could fly to the floating city from Bristol. Venice needs no introduction. For £16.99, there’s no excuse not to go and explore it!
7. Copenhagen, Denmark:
Just £9.99 from London Luton is the Danish capital. The only thing between you and the famous mermaid resident (click here for a report of my visit) and exploring the famous Nyhavn is a tenner.
That is a flavour of some of the places Ryanair can take you on a budget. Other tempting one-way fares for under £30 include:
- Marrakech, Morocco – £27.89 from London Luton
- Krakow, Poland – £24.99 from Bournemouth
- Riga, Latvia – £22.49 rom Leeds
- Prague, Czech Republic – £21.99 from Liverpool
- Budapest, Hungary – £25.99 from Manchester
- Tallinn, Estonia – £26.99 from Stansted (see my report on a visit to the beautiful Tallinn here)
- Podgorica, Montenegro – £25.19 from Stansted.
That is a flavour of where Ryanair, and your budget, can take you. Travel doesn’t have to blow the bank and I believe that the increasing development of budget airlines both proves and helps that point. So get your passport and start exploring what Europe has to offer.
Comment below with your favourite budget airline trips.
Thanks for reading and happy travels,