Why I Don’t Mind Flying Ryanair, Europe’s Most Hated Airline

Filed Under: Other Airlines

I live in London and hold Oneworld Sapphire status in the British Airways Executive Club program. I try and fly British Airways where I can, however more often than not, the low cost carriers offer a better value proposition than BA or other full service airlines do, and Ryanair is almost always the cheapest option.

London Stansted is Ryanair’s biggest hub, and depending on the month of the year they fly to up to 170 destinations, direct. Europeans love to hate Ryanair, yet they have become Europe’s biggest airline by being good at what they do.

I admit I was terrified taking my first Ryanair flight to Copenhagen two years ago after hearing so many horror stories about them, but it was a perfectly acceptable experience. Since then I’ve flown Ryanair at least 20 times (and more than any other European airline) and have come to realise that while it’s not remotely glamorous, I can deal with it and make it work for me.

They are transparent about who they are and what they offer

Ryanair promises low fares direct to hundreds of destinations.

That’s it. No more, no less.

No loyalty program, no champagne, no flat-beds, no incredible customer service, no slick marketing campaigns. They don’t under promise and over deliver, they deliver exactly what they say they will. No more, no less.

If you just want a seat from A to B they will provide it to you at a low price. They offer plenty of optional extras if you are willing to pay for them.

Simple and transparent.

I have learnt their rules and so use them to my advantage

Ryanair’s rules aren’t that different to most ultra low cost carriers around the world.

You need to pre-book checked luggage, seat assignments, and check-in online or else you can do this for a fee at the airport. Most of my Ryanair flights are for two or three day weekends away in mainland Europe which I can easily do with hand luggage only and I can check-in online a few days before. When I arrive at the airport I can head straight to the gate just as I would with a full service carrier for an affordable and efficient trip.

Also, I know that when they say that the ‘boarding gate closes 30 minutes before departure’ it doesn’t actually mean that, it means that they would like everyone lined up at the gate 30 minutes before departure but because they have 20 minute turnarounds the incoming aircraft won’t have even landed 30 minutes before departure.

They’ve never measured or weighed my hand-baggage

Plenty of low cost carriers around the world have strictly weighed and measured my hand baggage and will force me to check it in if it exceeds any limits. Ryanair have never done this to me.

99% of the passengers who fly Ryanair are aware of and stick to the hand baggage limits so there’s little need for staff to check everyone.

Note Ryanair have recently changed their hand baggage rules so that only those passengers who have paid the minimal fee for priority boarding can take a full size hand baggage onboard — all others must gate check the bag for free. Given they only have room for 90 full size bags onboard there’s a good chance your full size cabin bag would be gate checked anyway. This does now mean there’s plenty of overhead space onboard because less than 90 people pay for priority boarding on each flight.

Everyone can still take a small cabin item onboard such as a small backpack.

I keep my human interactions to the absolute minimum

Ryanair staff aren’t a very happy bunch. Given their working conditions, I wouldn’t be either. The passengers often aren’t either. I almost fell over when the Ryanair gate agent called me ‘Sir’ when boarding my last flight. So I limit my interactions with them. If I fly alone on Ryanair I take my tablet loaded with my favourite TV shows and watch things for most of the journey — on the airport train, as I’m queued up for boarding, as I’m waiting for departure, during most of the flight, and while I’m waiting to disembark. Of course I have my tablet in flight mode and remove my headphones for the safety announcement, which I could probably recite from memory by now.

I’ve never bought anything on board despite their constant attempts to sell me things. A polite hello when boarding and goodbye when disembarking is more than enough for me.

I’ve never landed in the middle of nowhere

There are plenty of ‘secondary’ or more like ‘thirdly’ airports Ryanair fly to that I would never dream of flying to, like Stockholm Skavsta, Paris Beauvais, and Frankfurt Hahn, because it’s too time consuming and frustrating to get to or from there. Ben is going to have fun schlepping out to Charleroi for his Air Belgium flight next month.

Ryanair has allowed me to fly cheaply and directly to many unusual and exotic destinations like Malta, Romania, and Slovakia. Somehow I’ve always managed to fly into the main airports of those cities on Ryanair and it’s identical to landing on a full service airline.

Ryanair’s main Frankfurt airport isn’t that close to Frankfurt!

No more onboard advertising

Ryanair used to shove advertising in your face by using their overhead bins as billboards but I haven’t seen these ads on any of their flights for well over a year.

Sit down and zone out

In limiting my human interactions, I sit down, politely listen to the safety demonstration, press play, and lose myself in my favourite TV series and the flight passes quickly. I really forget I’m even on a Ryanair flight to be honest.

They offer more direct flights at more convenient times to more destinations

To maximize my weekends away I’m usually looking for flights leaving Fridays between 6pm and about 8pm. Ryanair realise many other people are too, so have dozens and dozens of flights leaving during this window and they only fly direct. British Airways might have a direct flight to the same destination, but it might only be once a day and might leave at 9am.

Alternatively I could take a connecting flight on a full service carrier like Lufthansa and not arrive at my destination until 1am, rather than 10pm. This makes no sense for a weekend away.

London Stansted Airport, Ryanair’s biggest hub

I’ve never had a flight cancelled or severely delayed (touch-wood)

In 2017, Ryanair operated 600,000 flights, with 88% of these being on-time. American Airlines for the same period was 79%. The most delayed Ryanair flight I’ve ever had was 30 minutes. I know they cancelled thousands of flights over the last few months due to staff shortages, though I managed to escape this. I don’t believe they have any consistent irregular operations policy, and if I’d suffered a cancelled flight perhaps my opinion of them would be completely different.

The worst thing about flying Ryanair: the frustrating visa check

Ryanair are the only European airline I know of that have this frustrating policy where non-EU passport holders are required to print their boarding pass so it can be ‘visa checked’ prior to going through security. EU passport holders can use mobile boarding passes without the check. The visa check involves a Ryanair check-in member glancing vaguely at your boarding pass and passport and scribbling something on the boarding pass. Ryanair’s reasoning for this is that if they fly you to a country you don’t have the eligibility to enter, they will have to bear the cost of flying you back again.

Why this can’t be done at the boarding gate when the agent checks your boarding pass against your passport anyway is absolutely beyond me.

Particularly at Ryanair’s largest hubs, any ground crew walking around the check-in area get mobbed with non-Europeans trying to get this frustrating step done without having to line up forever in the regular bag drop line.

Sometimes there’s a Menzies-type service desk who will do it for you, sometimes you can find floating ground crew members, occasionally you have to queue. Other European LCCs like Easyjet and Vueling do not have this annoying requirement. If I was ever stuck in a lift with Ryanair’s ‘eccentric’ CEO, changing this is the one request I would make of him.

Bottom line

I’d much rather be drinking champagne in a spacious first class suite while being served a multi-course gourmet meal by a gracious, sophisticated crew member. But a chance to visit a new country on a direct flight leaving exactly when I want for less than the price of transport to the airport is equally compelling. And it means I get to do it every month.

I wouldn’t say I’d ‘happily’ fly Ryanair again. But I’ll realise the purpose it serves, the benefit for me, and find another ground crew member to get that darn visa check done again and again.

Would you or have you ever flown Ryanair?

  1. Hi. You realize that most people come here are business class flier right? They want to figure out how to get points and miles to fly in suites. To me, the idea of flying on Ryanair is like sleeping on a toilet.

  2. Great first official post, James! I confess that despite living near London for a year and a half I have never flown RyanAir. It’s just such a hassle to get to/from Stansted or Luton Airports.

  3. Sorry to say, but I already don’t like your posts. Writing a positive story about Ryanair and not even mentioning their inacceptable working conditions for crews etc. is something I can not support.

  4. This is just the post I needed. I’ve never flown Ryanair, but need a few positioning flights between a flight from Asia to FCO and OSL to the US this summer. I thought I would just do AF/KLM but they are more than double the cost of Ryanair. The free gate check of bags makes me think I can maybe get away with not paying for a checked bag. Thanks for the post!

  5. Appreciate the attemptbut I’m not convinced. I flew them once And will never repeat even if it’s the last airline that exists.

    Sides that good luck on the new journey with OMAAT and the fresh take on LCC is well needed.

  6. @Mike, to be fair, he did mention the working conditions and linked to an article about it.

  7. Wow; I found James’s first post to be both interesting (even though it’s unlikely I will ever fly Ryanair) and very easy to read. But the first comment is a hyphen-slap. Go figure:-)

  8. Thanks for the post! Have flown Ryanair a few times before and was perfectly content. Cheap and get me to my destination on time. I have had worse experience on AA domestic/BA intra-Europe flights and honestly won’t pay a premium for “full-service” airlines.

  9. Back in 2012 I travelled from STN to MAD. I remember that because the weather was pretty bad in Madrid we had to hold pattern. However we had to divert to Valencia because we didn’t have the fuel to hold for the requested time. If I don’t remeber wrong in that same period THREE Ryanair flights had to divert due to being underfueled. That was one of the scariest days of my life and since then I promised myself to never fly any ulccs (easyjet, Ryanair, etc)

  10. Please do mention than London stansted is actually nit London as Charleroi is not Brussels south as they call it,its another big city out of Brussels,no thank you i ve never flew Ryancrap nor will i do in a thousand years.

  11. Congrats James

    Nice report..but to answer your question..NO!..the last time I travelled Economy was 25 years ago..it was with SQ..I do not think it is comparable to Ryan Air or EU Eco flights..Even a great SQ flight would not make me fly Eco again..I know snobbish alarm!..but if you have the chance and ways to fly premium..why would I bother change it?..yes, for the sake of saving money…but everyone has different priorities..for me the more privacy I get..the better service I encountered..that is my way of enjoying my flight..short or long..

  12. Well ..you forgot two main points. They got acceptable now, because they fly to more main airports like FRA or BCN. Before it was a hassle if you didn’t live close to one of those remote airports. But for a weekend trip from FRA to BCN and holding no *A Status one would be crazy to pay the premium for LH. And the 2nd point which makes them acceptable are the great one-way fared tratitonal airlines don’t offer within Europe.

  13. Frankfurt Hahn isn’t really Ryanair’s main airport for Frankfurt today. There are more flights from FRA (yes, the LH hub…) than from Hahn. They moved a lot of planes for HHN to FRA because of discounts given by Fraport. And HHN is now in financial trouble because Ryanair runs away…

  14. Being also a BA silver member I also use Ryanair regularly, BA often have far better departure times and it’s far easier to get to City/Heathrow/Gatwick in the morning than trekking to Stansted and I’ll get fast track security, lounge access, free seat selection etc. Flying back to London Ryanair are often the cheapest by far and the lounges can be poor or nonexistent at the overseas airport, therefore that’s when I’ll use them.

    4000 avios plus £17.50 and a £16 Ryanair ticket on the way back, bargain short break.

  15. An Aussie here lived in London now US good summary I thought same but actually it was a pleasant recent experience with them. Whilst not on topic on this blog I think framed in context ie to get intra europe there is relevance here for us. I think it was a well written piece and learned something new. Cheers James

  16. brilliant article James!

    I agree with your argument. I’ve contemplated (and flown) some absurdly long itineraries just to stick with OW, but it’s very tiring, especially for short flights.

    Hope to see future articles from you soon

  17. >Ben is going to have fun schlepping out to Charleroi

    What if he can Schlappig out to Charleroi instead?

  18. Interestingly, the last couple Ryanair flights I’ve had I wasn’t subject to the visa check and used the mobile pass as a non-EU passport holder, for whatever reason.

    Regardless, I’ve no hesitation flying them or recommending them to others, so long as they read the rules carefully.

  19. You need to correct the spelling of Stansted. Which is no more difficult to get to than Gatwick; and, if you’re travelling there from elsewhere than London, it’s easier to reach by train than LHR.

    A few weeks back Ben linked to the lovely Fascinating Aida song on Youtube, “Cheap Flights”. It sums up my view on Ryanair. If they’re flying where you want, when you want, then great. For my life, BA or KLM are usually pretty much the same price but with a nicer (or, rather, less bad) experience.

  20. Nice article. Someday, I may try Ryanair. This article gives me the courage to do so. Once in a while, the secondary airport is closer to where I want to go.

  21. For visa check they should try TravelDoc (TravelDoc.Aero).

    Great first article James, you almost made me try Ryanair.

  22. I completely agree with you, James. Ryanair is perfectly acceptable for the average flier, assuming you know how to play ‘the Ryanair Game’ (printing boarding passes early, not going so much as a gram over the weight limit on checked bags, bringing your own food eyc). I flew with them recently from STN-TLS and the flights were fine. The only reason I don’t like flying with them is that Stansted is pretty much impossible to get to by public transport from where I live, and driving there takes forever. Another particularly bad Ryanair ‘second airport’ offender is Glasgow Prestwick, which is basically halfway to the English border.

  23. It’s terrible you spend money on a LCC that treats their employees like shit.

    How about supporting an airline that offer pension savings, a humane rest period a decent pay with benefits?

  24. Ryanair popped up in Google Flights as a possible option on a Athens-Mykonos route I was looking at. I didn’t know they flew domestic Greece flights. The times didn’t work for me and I heard only horrible things, so I passed. I guess I could reconsider for small intra Europe hops. Thanks for the description.

  25. “I’d much rather be drinking champagne in a spacious first class suite while being served a multi-course gourmet meal by a gracious, sophisticated crew member.”

    Given that almost all of their destinations (barring a few in the Middle East and North Africa) are in Europe, chances are you wouldn’t be getting that on other airlines anyway. Unless you’re on one of those fifth-freedom routes operated by an Asian or South American airline, you’re getting an economy seat with slightly better catering and lounge access with other airlines in Europe (the last 2 if you’re in business class). It isn’t like the alternatives in Europe are that much luxurious these days.

  26. Enjoyed the post. Being based in California I fly Southwest a few times a year. It’s not my favorite airline, but with all the directs and cheap fares it’s difficult not to use them strategically. Your use of Ryanair sounded familiar.

    One question to you. Where and how do you use seating options on Ryanair?

    I’ve gotten pretty good at doing this on Southwest, which is different than any other US airline. If I were to fly with Ryanair what is the best strategy for seating? Thanks Jimmy.

  27. I’ve flown Ryanair a few times within Europe when their schedules and prices worked. I knew what I was getting myself into fully and it was fine. It’s all about attitude and setting expectations accordingly.

  28. @Julia
    It is so sadly true..that is way nobody cares to pay more for C class as the product is no more than Eco class with free bev and meal..

  29. I fly Ryanair regularly and have had flights cancelled or delayed a few times in the last 6 months or so due to various storms or snowfall. I was very impressed by how Ryanair handled these, on the occasion of cancelled flights I was able to reschedule flights twice in one day in minutes over webchat.

    On the occasion a flight was significantly delayed due to snow, I received an email from Ryanair about an hour after the flight was officially delayed with options to reschedule or cancel with full refund. I chose to cancel and unlike some other airlines I know where applying for a refund is like having to draw up a legal document, just a few clicks on a link from the email and a few days later the money was back in my account.

    Lastly, I recently had to change a return date on a flight and was able to do this in seconds online, just chose the date I wanted and pay the difference in fare which was £7. Other airlines I know of treat it as if you’ve committed a crime if you want to change dates and charge a hefty penalty.

    I went through a period of hating Ryanair but they’ve upped their game a lot recently and I’m back to liking them again.

  30. James, you acknowledged the bad working conditions that Ryanair creates for their workforce, yet you do support these conditions and the company by saving a buck and now by promoting them here on OMAAT!!! Think again whether your personal gain is worth slashing away the dignity and rights of Ryanair’s workforce!

  31. I am a Oneworld Emerald and often fly Ryanair. They are actually my favorite low cost airline. I actually talk a few times to the cabin crew and they seemed quite cheerfull.

    I agree with James, its hard to justify the cost of flying BA or another legacy carrier on short flights.

  32. BA is turning into Ryanair anyways. All these full service airlines have lost their only way to compete on anything other than price… their brand.

    Good write up, not everything needs to be about business class.

  33. @James, great first piece. Sorry for all the negative comments, I thought it was an interesting and well written post on a topic not usually covered to much at OMAAT. I guess some people will find anything to complain about but don’t worry about them.

    Looking forward to seeing your future pieces!

  34. @ buzz
    Good point..

    That is way you have choices..save money and fly Ryan Air or you fly your fav airline and enjoy avios, lounges etc..

  35. Wait, what? A new perspective on things? How dare this site

    God forbid someone writes about travel from a new perspective here … from actual experience, no less.

    Keep the posts coming. Good stuff.

  36. @Jimmy Gottfredson

    You can choose your seats when you make your booking. There’s different price ranges depending on how close to the front the seat is. You can easily change your mind on your seat at any time afterwards, just get your booking on the app or online and chose from any available seats and pay the difference if applicable.

    I’ve never been on Southwest so have no idea how that works.

  37. Ignore the haters buddy – i’m not a regular poster, but it’s nice to see a spectrum of articles rather than constant J and F. Also a fan to FINALLY see something UK specific as a fellow Londoner. Thanks – look forward to your future posts!

  38. Nice post, James. Welcome!
    I flew Ryanair once, and was somewhat apprehensive. Expecting everything to be dreadful. But it was no problem. I like the fact that the seats don’t recline. I’d fly them again.
    I think this may be a case where Ryanair is benefiting from diminished expectations. We all expect the experience to be awful. When it turns out about the same as short haul econ on other carriers, we are surprised. In a good way.

  39. Congrats on the byline, James. This was great, but I would have loved to have read more about WHICH of the secondary airports are convenient enough to access by public transport to make it worth versus the primary ones. I also was expecting at least a brief impression of their “hard product” such as it exists (seats, seat pitch, and possible strategies for minimizing the cost of plum seat assignments much like Travis did for Frontier).

  40. I appreciate this post!
    Though I would never fly a discounter, and only fly first class, I frequently need to fly my exteded family members here or there. I always buy the cheapest tickets for them.
    It is good to know I am not making them totally suffer.

  41. @elteetrav

    Fly Low..has become the new black..
    and it is okay now to be treated like cargo..what a modern time we have !!

  42. I regularly see Ryanair checking hand luggage – they target those with wheeled suitcases quite often.

    If you’re at the check in counter they will also sometimes insist on weighing your hand luggage.

  43. James… just ignore the business travelers on this blog. Its really nice to see a blog that’s aimed for the common people that fly in economy. I fly in premium economy often. I would love to see more articles about premium economy.

  44. People here don’t seem to realise that the likes of Ryanair and EasyJet are the work horses of Europe and enable the lives of so many Europeans and allow them to do things that would otherwise not be possible.

    So Ryanair fly in to secondary airports in places that people have never heard of? Guess what – real people live near those airports and they need to get places too. I regularly travel Ryanair to visit my family, without Ryanair I would have to add an extra half day on to my journey each way as my hometown is not near any major airport.

    I know long distance romances that have blossomed and turned in to marriages made possible by the fact that Ryanair fly from the small airport local to the guys home. Otherwise the nearest major airport would have been much to far away to be feasible and those romances would have fizzled out.

    I know mums and dads who were able to take jobs abroad and fly home every single weekend to their families due to Ryanair.

    I know people who were able to emigrate away from areas of high unemployment and were able to cope with the loneliness because they had a Ryanair or Easyjet flight that could take them to visit home at an affordable price. And those same flights have meant that they can visit often enough to stay in touch with their families and communities and to be there for the births, marriages and the funerals that are a part of life.

    Ryanair isn’t just about going on a holiday or a business trip and giving you a flight at a price a few quid cheaper. Ryanair is a lifeline for so many people around Europe for whom so many things would not otherwise be possible. So think of the regular people around Europe and their travel needs before you get all snobby about Ryanair and EasyJet.

  45. While I wouldn’t fly Ryanair from personal experience I get the feeling that some people are bashing James too much for flying it. Let him fly with whomever he wants, that’s his own business… So frustrating seeing people have the need to inculcate others how they need to live

  46. James, welcome and good luck! Never mind the trolls in the comments.

    As for the article, amen to that! I’ve avoiding Ryanair like the plague for years, but since their recent reinvention of their rules, I no longer have any issues flying with them. Ever since European legacies dropped the ball on service, there’s really no reason anymore to opt for a less convenient routing at a higher price. The likes of Alex Cruz at BA believe that they can succeed by winning the race to the bottom, except they’ll never be as good at the LCC game as Ryanair, all the while offering a more restrictive hub-and-spoke route network.

    I don’t even mind some of the optional extras: the buy-on-board snacks are actually kind of decent, and certainly better than what some legacies now offer for sale. Sure, the seats aren’t great, yet somehow they’re still better than on Iberia A320s, for example.

    Add to that great fares, improved baggage rules, mobile boarding passes and a fairly good app, and there’s no really point in avoiding Ryanair anymore. The legacies have successfully obliterated what set them apart, and so better schedules and better fares prevail.

  47. Never flown Ryanscare and no intention of flying them.

    KLM’s LCC Transavia on the other hand is a delight to fly. Nice things about easyjet have been said.

  48. James… you’re already more articulate, interesting and reasonable than the others. Nice article.

    The trolls feigning outrage over working conditions… what??? no-one puts a gun to the employees’ heads. I’m sure those that really hate it gain experience and jump ship to another airline. I would (I’m a pilot actually)

    The same idiots that are outraged about human rights and Middle East carriers, yet most likely vote for Trump who is outrageously racist, and attacks his own citizens on a daily basis, including free speech and even free religion.

    James, you’re in for a bumpy ride on this site. I like your perspective and writing. I hope you last.

  49. “There are plenty of ‘secondary’ or more like ‘thirdly’ airports…”

    The word you were looking for here was ‘tertiary.’

    I liked the article, though. However, there’s still zero chance I will ever fly Ryanair.

  50. I couldn’t get past the first sentence.

    “However” is an adverb not a conjunction like “and.” So that means it needs a semicolon; however, I guess you can also get away with a period.

  51. First, James (Author) I am not bashing you..I just do not agree in some aspects over Ryan Air..

    The PR management of Ryan Air is deeply touched and wants the copyright for their new ad..

    For the others..
    I do not care if you like Ryan Air so badly..just think that some of their employees are sufferring because of its aggressive policies..just think for a while when your paying your one pound ticket..how does it get so cheap..your personal gain comparing to those who are exploited..

  52. James, nice first post. Welcome. I agree that a change from constant J and F reviews is refreshing.
    To all those scolding him for supporting a carrier with poor staff working conditions: Do you avoid BA (which pays 20-yr old Mixed Fleet recruits very poorly and rosters them on very stressful schedules) and Air Canada (ditto for Rouge cabin crew)? Try living on a Mixed Fleet or Rouge salary in London or in Toronto or Vancouver with extremely high housing costs, taxes and cost of living.
    Pedantic correction for James: I think you are misusing “direct” (a flight with a stop but no change of a/c) when you actually mean “nonstop”.

  53. @ Andy

    I hope you are not one of those pilot who are being exploited..curious what your employer and your colleagues think about your opinion..

  54. @Mike Nobody is forcing you to like his posts, and not even to read them, so simply move on.

  55. @Myles

    It’s Ryanair, not Ryan Air. Or is that part of the ridiculous snobbery?

    As for a PR ad, its the truth and those really entitled people should get off their high horse and stop pretending to care about low wages when really it’s just an excuse not to mingle with the peasants on Ryanair. How can you talk about something when you’ve never even used it? If you’ve never used it then go away as otherwise your opinion is ignorant and irrelevant.

  56. James:
    Thanks for a great article! Yes, it is great to fly J, but Not all of us have limitless bank accounts or travel perks through our employer where we are Up In The Air like George Clooney.

    Welcome aboard!

    And yes, Lucky, it would be great to see some PE reviews as well!

  57. It’s fascinating how many are so concerned about low wages on Ryanair yet are happy to frequent low wage hotels and shops in the US (even lower than Ryanair) and buy clothes produced in Asian sweatshops.

    Yes, yes I’m sure one or two of you are very ethical – the law of averages says most of you aren’t.

  58. @Jay
    ..Ryanair or Ryan Air..same LCC..
    ..right, never tried it and will never do..
    ..this is good!..who is calling pax..peasants now?, who is the snob here?…have you read your own comment..who is the ignorant here…LOL..

  59. @Myles

    It’s the attitude of snobs Myles – people who haven’t flown economy in over 25 years don’t like to hang out with ‘the peasants’. I know the type. I’ve flown with them in business and they’re @rseholes.

    Anyway I’m done. Ryanair is there for those who need it. The rest can sod off.

  60. Thank You, James, been on Easyjet like 10x in 4 years maybe take another look @ Ryan..


  61. @ Jay
    We are having our verbal fencing at the moment but I do not regard you in a negative way…I might come a bit snobbish…but I am not a bad person either..
    Well, you are right..it is not easy to know it differently as I have not flown Eco or be in situation with a LCC for so many years..
    Well, I can not vouche for anyone flying premium class to be a decent person..
    but you sound like an interesting person to talk to..I might even lower my partition for chat…

  62. Great article, I’m OWE and have always been apprehensive about Ryanair as I’ve heard so many bad things about it.. but am taking it for the first time in 3 weeks since it’s the only carrier flying BCN-RAK early in the morning. One quick question re. the luggage check in/ visa check – I gather they’re done at the same check in line? how bad are the queues really, esp. around 5 am in BCN? Would appreciate if someone can share his/her insight! TIA

  63. I flew Ryanair several times, and I was pleased. But then, I did not suffer any delays, nor did they strand me somewhere for several days – which happens as well!

    Interesting first article, though to say that Malta etc is “exotic” is pretty ethnocentric. Just like a Maltese person saying that the UK is exotic 😉

  64. @ Jeffrey
    what have you expected he comes from the land down under..they see Malta exotic as we see Fidshi exotic..

    Sorry James, it was just too good not say anything, LOL!!

  65. “I know that when they say that the ‘boarding gate closes 30 minutes before departure’ it doesn’t actually mean that.”

    This is actually not true for a handful of gates at Stansted, in particular where you scan your ticket upstairs and take stairs down to a 2nd lobby. I literally missed the 30 minute cutoff and had to pay a £100 fee to standby for a later flight because the gate agent said boarding closed. I literally watched 30 people waitnknt a queue snaking down the stairs to board a plane from the other side of a metal pole. She closed the flight for boarding any additional pax. Ryanair is deceptive and you have to play exactly by their rules.

  66. First of all: great first post! Happy to read more from authors based in Europe!

    I have flown Ryanair and thought it’s probably great value for money but the experience doesn’t really compare to BA an the likes… While I also don’t think they’re treating their employees well, I will fly on them if the difference to a full-service airline is too big. Like I flew PMI-MAD for ~€15 on Ryanair while IB would have cost me ~€30. The difference just does not justify the premium…
    But still… waiting on the jet bridge for 30 minutes was no fun

    Thanks for the post and keep up the good work!
    All the best

  67. So to sum up in a nutshell; James have a day job, but likes to travel on weekends.

    Hence he flies RyanAir since they have flights on Fridays timed for wage slaves wanting to forget their daily slog and get hammered in exotic destinations across Europe?

    So really it’s not about cost or service, simply that RyanAir leisure flight times work for leisure flights. Shocking.

    That said Welcome James, and hope you don’t scared away like the last attorney Lucky had writing for him

  68. Welcome James!
    Very nice article! This translates my life.
    Used to fly full-carriers back when I was in Brazil, even when travelling in Europe to enjoy some perks (lounge, priority lanes, checked bag…).
    Now I’m living in Ireland where Ryanair have some very convenient departure times specially to London, every second week I fly to LGW Airport – 20min train to Clapham.
    Why pay the double for a 40min flight with BA if the service onboard is the same in Y?
    For longer flights – 3h plus I prefer get full service.
    But for short city breaks in France, Italy, Spain – I’m completely fine with Ryanair or Aerlingus

  69. Great post!

    Question – When you say flights are “direct” do mean “nonstop” or simply “no change of airplane?”

  70. What’s going on all with all these socialist BS that if employer don’t give great conditions I won’t use them. Don’t. You think that if you don’t they will change? They won’t.
    Loved the article.

  71. Awesome post.

    While I will not walk onto an aircraft for a flight longer than 4 hours unless I am in J or F, I totally get the sense of flying a LCC like Ryanair.

    Based in Sydney, I do a lot of SYD – MEL as I have family in MEL, and while my preferred carrier is Virgin, based on FF affiliation, I always check out other options and have been know to fly Tiger. Its an hour in the air – and if the price difference is worth it – will do it. I do find Tiger annoying in SYD as they only have 2 check in desks and you need to stand in line for a long time to get served – MEL is awesome as they have the self serve kiosks and luggage belts. On board its not much different.

    In Asia I also do Air Asia – and Air Asia X Premium as I can get a SYD KUL or vice versa for anything from $315 to $900 for a 9 hour flight in a lie flat seat.

    Not everything about this hobby or addiction is about points and status for me, sometimes the common sense of a much lower fare is the sensible way to go. To me a SYD MEL flight is just like getting on a suburban train from the outer suburbs where I live and work and head to the city for an appointment or a training day etc

  72. I live in California and have flown Southwest regularly for 30 years. (Southwest didn’t invent LCC. They copied PSA which started in 1949 with $19 LAX-LAS fares and a commercial sung by Frank Sinatra!)

    I don’t enjoy as many high-end adventures as many of the OMAAT readers and posters. But I enjoy reading the stories. I can travel vicariously by way of them, and learn about places and the miles hobby.

    In May 2017, I did get to take my first trip to Italy via BA. My return from MXP to LHR on BA was a miserable experience. The check-in was totally screwed up and held everyone up. I had to rush to catch my flight. Security was slow. Then I had to jog through a seemingly-endless shopping mall. Air conditioning was poor. By the time I reached the gate, I was soppy wet. I get on the seat, we takeoff, and I learn I cannot even get a glass of water without paying Oscar for it.

    I guess I’m spoiled. LCC Southwest gives me water, a soft drink, or coffee for “free.” Hard to understand how legacy carrier BA, especially with its plan to install non-reclining seats, is worth more than flights on a LCC.

    As James makes the point, Ryanair is exactly what it represents itself to be … unlike BA.

    For those who wish to maximize their points/miles and dollars/pounds/euros, Ryanair can make positioning flights feasible, as James points out, or spoil oneself with luxury at a hotel or resort with money saved on a 1.5 hour flight.

    I haven’t had the opportunity to experience Ryanair or other LCC in Europe. But I will consider it for future trips; especially Charleroi when I again go to Memorial Day services at the Ardennes American Cemetery where my cousin is buried.

    I remember many years ago watching a Sunday news program that interviewed Herb Kelleher, the attorney for Southwest’s start-up and became its long-time, lionized president.

    Sam Donaldson put it to Herb in strong words: “How can you compare Southwest’s better on-time record and lower fares with American and United when Southwest doesn’t fly into JFK or Logan (Boston)?”

    Herb’s response was classic: “Nobody said we have to be stupid.”

  73. Sorry, but I found that really difficult to read. Seventy five percent of those commas need to go!

    Take this as a constructive suggestion and you’ll give your readers a more fluent article which is far more enjoyable to read.

  74. I have flown Ryanair a few times. Most of the people in this comments section really have no idea. Ryanair is perfectly fine and in fact, I would say Ryanair is far better than British Airways, United or American Airlines. Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it. Ryanair is cheap and cheerful and most of the time provides exactly what you need. Nothing more nothing less.
    By the way I thought this post was great.

  75. James, lucky you. No long delayed flights on Ryanair. My last flight, several years ago, was from Spain to The Netherlands. Ryanair loaded the plane full of people, then announced they wouldn’t leave for another 3 HOURS due to a strike in France. 3 HOURS locked up in a small plane with families (kids) and not moving is a NIGHTMARE for me. Ryanair knew full well the plane wouldn’t depart when loading it. They just don’t care for the well-being of the passengers. I guess flying around France was too expensive for them.
    Because I panicked, they let me sit near the front door (which never closed) for 3 hours, which helped.
    Yes, if all goes well Ryanair is acceptable but if something goes wrong, expect the worst.

  76. Agree with James. For flights within Europe there isn’t much available in a premium experience so you might as well find a carrier that fits your travel patterns and pocketbook. I’d rather not waste miles, points or €500 for a “Business Class” seat which is nothing more than an economy seat with an empty seat in the middle. I’ve flown Ryanair, Joon, and EasyJet in the last few years – it wasn’t torture.

    Good job!

  77. Welcome James,
    Thanks for the reasoned intro to Ryanair. Some points that we frequent flyers would also be interested in
    a) Snagging seats at booking time? Exit rows, costs?
    b) Getting to STN? Train from Liverpool St? Approaching STN by car, is there an entry-fee for the airport and how to dodge this? eg by dropping off at a nearby hotel, like the Ibis at BHX is walkable to the terminal
    c) Check-in / bag drop lines? Cut-off time is 45m ahead at bag-drop?
    d) Lounge option at Stansted? Paid entry or Amex/Priority Pass etc?
    e) Security? How is it , my recollection is that STN security lines are terrible on a Friday night? Is there a priority line and how fast is it?
    f) Walking to/from the aircraft thru the rain, bring an umbrella?
    g) Seat comfort/spacing compared with say BA’s rock-hard slimline-sardine seats
    h) Checked-bag delivery time & how baggage problems are handled
    i) Other unexpected nasties like the $40 fee if you didn’t print your BP?

    For me, while it’s nice to read about your successes, the the greatest benefit of this blog is to draw attention to unexpected nasties which could ruin your whole vacation. Does Ryanair have anything like BA’s ridiculous “conformance” at T5 where even though your plane may be late and not yet at the gate, BA’s nasty computer always auto-offloads you if you haven’t passed the security-check 35 minutes ahead of the scheduled departure time?

  78. It goes without saying that the best value is in off-peak flights, often 30-50% below those departing 6-8 pm as per your example. In that situation the LCCs make greater sense and I would choose them.
    The need to print the boarding pass is a major PITA and it defies belief that they persist with this lunacy ( presumably it generates profit via the exorbitant charges?).

  79. Hey James,

    Thanks for the article and timely. Was considering taking Ryanair from Dublin to Glasgow in the next 12 months. Ignore the haters. Not everyone that reads here is flying 1st class or Business class international every trip, even if we can afford it (I’d rather take multiple trips). As for pay, most of these people are staying at hotels and eat at restaurants that pay significantly less than ryanair pays their employees so they are nothing but hypocrites.

    Great 1st post! Thanks

  80. I flew them once. Or maybe that was Easyjet. My recollection was if you were checking luggage and had paid a few extra pounds, you got to skip a very long check-in line .

    Of course, the mind is the 4th thing to go, so it could have just been a dream I had while flying Cathay first to Asia.
    Nice first post.
    Congrats. I hope you’re being paid the EU minimum of 2 Euros per word.

  81. Great first post! I’d argue that Ryanair’s visa check for non-EU nationals isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. A good number of people who the policy applies to aren’t in Europe long term, aren’t familiar with Ryanair’s fee schedule, or don’t have access to a printer (or some combination). Getting your boarding pass printed at the airport, surprise, gets you hit with the fee. In my experience you also may not be stopped without a visa check until the gate. It’s a small sample size, but I’ve had friends forget the visa check, run back to get it, and run back to their gate, to varying degrees of success. Being rebooked/paying the missed departure fee easily got Ryanair an extra couple hundred euros in revenue and I would be shocked if that happening is rare. Predatory? Yes, but it is Ryanair..

  82. Great post mate! Ive flown RyanAir twice when I used to live in London. Just like you said, took me from point A to point B for 25 euros. Uncomfortable? Yes. But for short flights and that price, as a student, I was more than happy.

  83. Excellent post James! It was refreshing to read this take on the ultra-low cost carriers in Europe. I agree that if you manage your expectations and use them for short weekend breaks, the Ryanairs and Easyjets of the world provide a worthwhile service. I used to use them occasionally for weekend trips when I lived in London too and never had a horror story to tell. I found them efficient and bare bones. I have no problem flying low cost carriers on short-haul routings, though I mainly travel long-haul. In any case, very well-written and cogent post!

  84. I think it’s a great post, and sums up my experience with Ryanair perfectly.

    The most important value proposition of Ryanair for me is that it flies to many more European destinations non-stop, than BA or any other alliance airlines from Heathrow, especially in France and Eastern Europe, and flying non-stop saves so much time.

    Wizzair also has the same annoying visa check policy, so Ryanair isn’t the only one out there!

  85. You forgot to write:
    Sponsored by Ryanair!
    No no no.. you can’t fool us James.
    This is a BIG NO AIRLINE!

  86. To be honest all the bile directed at Ryanair in the press is almost exclusively from the English. They’re not happy that an IRISH airline is the de facto regional airline of the UK and the largest airline in Europe. The Brits also don’t like that O’ Leary is a no nonsense straight talking CEO who calls bullshit on IAG whenever he can.

  87. Count me Raj+1!
    Welcome James! You offer variety. I can safely assume you have read the comment section before so I won’t bother to apologize for the variety you will encounter here.
    It takes all kinds to make the world go round!

  88. My only Ryanair flights came back when they were semi-acceptable. They didn’t have food, the lines at the airport were lame and HHN is absolutely terrible and wasn’t worth it, but they still had a little seat recline (I need a crack of the recline, not much, to be comfortable at all) and even when you had more than 10 kilos, the checked bag was free. I never minded the WN style seating, and I just went up the back stairs to get my choice. I wouldn’t fly them now that they’ve gone far worse, though I’ve flown a few Euro LCCs (EasyJet, Transavia France, Vueling) and understanding the game is definitely key.

  89. Don’t give a tinkers tit how they treat their employees. We all have a choice and I choose to fly Ryanair when cheapest and convenient.

  90. A refreshingly different post!

    I hate Ryanair with a passion but one huge thing they have is that they fly to a huge range of destinations so it all depends on each traveller’s needs. I think it is safe to say that the vast majority of non-Europe based travellers, if thinking about flying to Germany, would only think of Frankfurt or maybe Munich. But FR also flies to Cologne, Leipzig, Karlsruhe, Bremen etc I am sure we all agree that being able to get to your destination on a direct flight is a good thing.

  91. So lovely to finally hear a European point of view! I feel exactly the same way about Ryanair. As long as the price is as low as it usually is, that’s an incredible value.

    Minor: FR turnarounds take 25, not 20 minutes

  92. While I generally agree with this post, I was stopped and charged by the gate staff on a recent FCO-BCN flight for a bag sizing/weighing and it radically changed my view of their value proposition. (My model for expected value–or expected cost, rather–of their tickets now includes surprise ancillaries.)

    I admit that my bag ultimately did not fit the sizer but what annoyed me was that quite a number of fellow passengers had bigger bags and they weren’t stopped. Curious what others–who have also been charged some unexpected ancillary fee–think of Ryan Air and the budget carriers, and for those who haven’t yet, would it change your view of Ryan Air?

  93. I also must admit, as an avid airline flier and preferably up front.. I have also flown Ryanair a number of times recently (being forced to due to limited seats out of AGP) and have most disappointingly only had positive experiences. I’ve relayed this information to my partner who refuses to acknowledge it and still refuses to fly them..

  94. Good piece. No babbling about CC’s or signup bonuses, just very useful information. Well done.

  95. Great post! Would love to read more about regional and LCC flying in Europe, in addition to all the premium class reviews. Flying business for a 10 hour flight makes sense, for a 1 hour flight Ryanair can just be the best choice.

  96. Great post! More please for those of us that enjoy Ben’s travel’s but have to sit in the more basic parts of the plane. If poss do the same with easyJet, premium economy too which is growing in provision rapidly. Final and more on message suggestion is take a look at the options to bid cash for upgrades. Did this with Virgin Australia and Aer Lingus and it is a best value way to enjoy the nicer part of the plane.

  97. @James thumbs up for the first post. And to the naysayers who think it’s not on topic for a miles and points blog:
    1. Ryanair is an acceptable means of starting/ending an ex-EU journey, which is how *real* UK-based travel hackers travel in J and F for routinely lower prices than ex-UK.
    2. How is this post any different than say Lucky posting about Spirit Airlines?

  98. Suggestions about paying for Priority Boarding minimising interaction etc are spot on.
    I have never cared about the visual advertising – it is the continual strident audio advertising that annoys me.
    I find Easyjet vastly less stressful, and, given the unlimited weight of handbaggage with EZY, barely any more expensive.
    I did fly RYR for more convenient flight times last year, and they diverted for crosswinds when other airlines waited in the air for a few minutes.
    That cost us hours, so I am off them now.

  99. @ Mo – London has 5 airports (6 if you count SEN) and only LCY is actually located ‘in’ London. The travel time to each London airport depends largely on what part of London you live in and as I live in the inner north its actually quicker for me to get to STN than to LHR or LGW.

  100. @ Claus – thanks for the positive feedback. I’ve flown just about every LCC in Europe so will be covering them in future posts. They range in quality and comfort enormously – there’s LCCs like Norwegian I love flying and then there’s Wizz and Vueling I avoid like the plague.

  101. @ Guy Doron – gosh I wish they would invest in anything that removes this darn visa check! But I can understand their business model means they do not invest in anything that does not lower prices or increase revenue and the visa check is neither.

  102. @ Julia – its true most European airlines ‘Euro business class’ product is barely distinguishable from their economy product – I’ve flown BA business class within Europe plenty of times.
    Turkish and Aeroflot are some of the only European airlines that do offer a proper premium product with seating more akin to domestic first than economy.

  103. @sam – easyJet are just getting better and better at the moment. Each flight I take with them I like them more and more. Clean, new planes, happy, smartly-dressed staff, punctual flights and mobile boarding passes (so no visa check).
    They’re usually slightly more expensive than Ryanair as they do have a slightly higher cost base but I definitely choose them when I can.

  104. @ James

    Hey James, you’re absolutely right, it *IS* spelt “Stansted”. Which is why it’s bizarre that the picture caption in the post reads:
    “London Stanstead Airport, Ryanair’s biggest hub”

    You have also just commented:
    “London has 5 airports (6 if you count SEN) and only LCY is actually located ‘in’ London”
    …which ain’t right – Heathrow is in the London Borough of Hillingdon (and is inside the M25, which is the other definition of “London” that people often use).

    But I’d agree with you that, out of the two, easyJet is more customer-friendly (maybe I mean “less ccustomer-unfriendly”) than Ryanair. And it is less prone to flying to airports which may bear the name of the destination city but are, in fact, nowhere near them,

  105. Vueling, Ryan Air, Wizz Air, Easy Jet…LCC..what is different?…pls. do not fool yourself…alright, democracy and freedom of..whatever!! Let them fly low..as the others want to fly premium..

  106. @ The nice Paul — a-ha! Good pick up! I was going crazy trying to spot the spelling error as it wasn’t in the main text!
    Caption updated — thanks.

  107. Enjoyed this, I am from Ireland and Ryanair has opened so may doors for us, I couldn’t count the cities and countries I’ve been to for €50 or less return.

    Few tips – check in closes 2 hours before hand, if you leave it as close to that deadline as possible you’re more likely to get a better seat (they hope people will pay for them so leave them until the end to give away for free).

    The second bag rule is now enforced so you do need priority to bring them on board, they are checked at the gate and you receive them from the carousel at your destination. I’ve yet to see them check for weight or size (not in a long time anyway).

    If renting a car, Ryanair’s website is actually quite good, giving multiple providers and options at a good rate.

    Ryanair hotels gives you 10% if your booking back as Ryanair credit after you stay, sometimes it’s the same price as Booking.com etc so is worth using, sometimes it isn’t so check around.

    Looking forward to more posts like this one.

  108. I use it to fly eastern European countries. Ryanair nonstop is way better than british 1stop every single time.

    Stansted for me is super to get living in Cambridge. That said if British or any main carrier flies direct from LHR, I pretty much always go that route instead.

    Been ok Ryanair 5-6 times past year. Flown British twice as much.

  109. @DKB : A tip about booking car-hire through Ryanair – Don’t! Instead, ring up the car-hire company (Hertz, Avis, etc.) and tell them what price Ryanair, acting as an Agent, has quoted for hiring you one of their (the hire-car company’s) cars. In my experience, the hire-car company will gladly better the quotation and offer better Ts&Cs.

    @James : Any cash savings you get through flying Ryanair should be banked and kept for a rainy day. You will need the money when Ryanair leaves you stranded somewhere (in my daughter’s case, it was Marrakech) and refuses to arrange for you to be transported home in a reasonable timescale. Either that, or make sure you have a very good travel insurance policy!

  110. I travel on FR using an Australian passport and haven’t had to do the visa check in the last year or so. Once you OLCI if you see a garbled version of your passport number up top, you’re good to go.

  111. Just to add – I’ve compared copies of boarding passes from 2016 vs 2017/2018, the old ones say “Visa Check” on them. The new ones don’t and I’ve never had any issues (in fact in 2017 I was told by the check-in agent I didn’t need to get it checked anymore).

  112. Thanks for the info on Ryanair. I’ve never flown them (mainly out of reliability fears) although I have quite happily flown easyJet. Most flights in Western Europe are only an hour or two, which I can endure as long as I am reasonably sure I will get there!

  113. Great report James and now they have cleaned up their working conditions, I hope it will convince some readers to fly Ryan Air. As you say, it just needs a change of attitude . This website does tend to concentrate on first and business class and getting points on US credit cards and I suggested a few months back that the website do more economy and LCC flight reports and do more ”outside USA” reports . One interesting fact about Ryan Air is that they base crew and aircraft in different locations like Paphos ,Cyprus and Budapest,Hungary. This gives them greater flexibility on many issues.
    I live in Paphos and fly Ryan Air regularly to Stansted , 4 hours 30 minutes costing about Euro 120 return in winter and Euro 300 in summer. and it is easy to adapt to the different LCC conditions. Keep up your European reports ,I like them

  114. We fly them in when we go to Europe. Had trouble once in Luron when agent could not find the Visa stamp, which delayed us and made us miss the 30 minute gate closure policy. They said we could not hoard but in the end relented.

    Had an hour and a half delay in Milan once but I have that at home, also. I would not want to fly them on a long flight, but they don’t really fly long flights. The less I spend on these short flights, the more I can spend on everything I go to Europe to do!

  115. Flown them once. Never again.

    I will even, at a push fly U2 (EasyJet), but not FR (RyanAir).

  116. I really liked this post. It was well-written and refreshing to see a different take with its focus on a budget carrier and from someone based in London. I have become a big fan of OMAAT reading @Lucky’s posts, but I really think this is additive to the OMAAT brand and product. In any case, judging by the huge number of comments (this one will be #129 or 130), a great deal of interest has been generated!

  117. Great article! Finally some info about air travel for the 95% of the planet.
    Welcome James!

  118. I really don’t understand the argument of “the company doesn’t treat their staff well, boycott them.” The logic seems to be that mistreated employees would be happier unemployed.

    Anyways, considering the abysmal “business” class offered by the mainline euro carriers, and it’s no wonder that the LCCs have taken over. What on earth do people think they get from an intra-euro LH/BA flight that is so special it’s worth the cost? Flying ryanair is like flying spirit. Understand what it is and what it isn’t and you’ll be fine.

  119. Great post. Thanks for the tip about the visa checks for non EU passport holders. The article has given me the courage to try them out next month.

  120. @Skylar: “James mate you clearly have no-idea how to use a hyphen.”

    His usage of hyphens is far better than yours, given what you just posted here.

  121. @damian

    Some here do not mind to belong to the 5%..on the contrary..

    @andy 11235

    Are you serious??..why not be treated decently with an income which enables to live properly and therefore enjoy life?…Well, at least I know who will be a willing slave here..!


    just make sure, you have a valid visa!..I would not recommend Hungary at the moment..

  122. @James thank you very much for the article and welcome. That’s a line i should have included in my first comment.

    Reading these comments has been highly entertaining. People have issues.

    Anyway back to the topic of why Ryanair is very much hated in Europe – i think there’s no country where this became more apparent at an official level than in Germany after the collapse of Air Berlin where the LH lobbying made sure that Ryanair doesn’t get a slice of AB. On the other hand, LH’s own LCC was offering working conditions & Pay similar to Ryanair and they struggled to get crew. Cue to Ryanair now getting a nice slice of Air Berlin via Niki/Laudamotion.

    Easyjet was seen as the better option and they were handily given slots and planes at a pretty good price.
    To be honest, Ryanair has never been an attractive option for me due to the far off airports they served in the past. HHN was far off when i lived in the Frankfurt area and now Memmingen is a hassle to get to so i’d rather conveniently get a flight from MUC – which is i probably why i flew with Transavia alot before they sadly dissolved their base.

    The 45min hop to Venice during peak travel season cost around €90 rtn on Transavia compared to €300 on LH! It’s a no brainer that people continue to use LCCs and will continue to do so. I’ll be trying Easyjet for the 1st time in 2wks. As many have said, these 1hr hops on LCCs are no different than in any legacy carriers whilst costing less than half.

  123. Given I’m in this for low cost travel (ideally up front) I am a fan of low cost carriers for shorter flights too, because there’s little point getting across oceans for “free” to then pay a few hundred dollars more than you need to on that last part of the journey for a similarly depleted service on flag carriers that might charge much more OR just wasting time with more air time to avoid them when you might be able to save more time by flying somewhere closer then connecting to LCC.

  124. Good article James, living in Australia as you know the low cost equivalent is jet star, I flew them BNE – HNL last year as the cost was much cheaper than on HAL
    It’s a long flight and I thought it would be terrible, however they fly the 787, it was a brand new plane flying the same density as everyone else.so sometimes you are right it’s nice to be in J on QTR, other times it makes sense to go the other way ps brilliant use of “ touch wood”

  125. @ Jay – I flew Jetstar from Australia to Japan on a 2-4-1 sale fare many years ago and thought it was perfectly acceptable and price was ridiculously cheap. I’m not sure I could do long-haul on an LCC since discovering this ‘hobby’, as I’ll be writing about soon!

  126. Thanks all for the warm welcome and kind comments! There will be plenty more posts about European carriers and low-cost logistics in the coming weeks.

  127. This was an excellent article. I am glad that you are now a part of the OMAAT team.

    I have never had an issue flying Ryan Air. The thing that I appreciate the most about them is their non-stop flights–they seem to fly many routes that other carriers do not. I also appreciate their on-time rating. From my experiences, the airline has been very reliable.

    I have found the passport stamp process to be inconsistent and have before searched for the person stamping passports only to be told that this was no longer a requirement at the particular airport from which I was flying.

  128. @James

    Welcome to OMATT.

    Unfortunately some of the commenters on this blog are getting as nasty as those on ‘flyer talk’ where you take your life in your hands to say anything at all.

    good luck

  129. @ azamaraal

    your being over dramatic!..we cheerish every life here..from every class…even yours!

    I know it is a typo..but you are still in OMAAT …not flyer talk..

  130. Even if it is sad to admit, but I fully agree with your perspective. I just don’t find any arguments for myself to justify the double price to fly BA instead of FR or U2. As a frequent flyer with low cost airlines EasyJet Plus is also an amazing offer (something you might want to cover in the future). I use EasyJet Plus and Priority Pass within Europe which is a very nice option. Anyway, if Ryanair is more than 15€ cheaper I choose it.

    Welcome to OMAAT! Cool to have some more europe posts here. Make sure to also cover credit cards outside the UK 🙂

  131. Great post! Regarding Ryanair’s visa check for non-EU/EEA passengers, it seems to me that it is no longer required IF you are flying domestically or between Schengen countries. “Visa check” will show up between your nationality and passport number on your boarding pass if it is required. Otherwise, I believe it is an indication that you can go straight to the gate. At least I could board the flight without visa check at SXF when I was flying to a Schengen country.

    Also, you should be able to use a mobile boarding pass as long as visa check is not required for your journey. They prompt you to print a boarding pass if visa check is required (i.e. flying between non-Schengen countries or between non-Schengen and Schengen country).

    Have you recently flown Wizzair? I think they still require “visa check” for non-EU passengers for all routes. Or has it changed?

  132. Great article James – really appreciating the UK/EU perspective.

    Living in Manchester I regularly fly Ryanair, and agree with everything you’ve said in this article. They’re a no nonsense airline and you get exactly what you pay for!

    Looking forward to reading more of your posts

  133. I think this is a great article. It’s nice to see an article aimed at the common traveler, as I am sure flyers from all walks of life read this blog. Some serious premium flyers read for tips and to compare their own experiences, and others who cannot attain business or first class but experience them vicariously through this blog. But I would say that a lot of readers, such as myself, fall in the middle. We fly often, but not very frequently, and we like to see how to maximize the miles we earn. I don’t fly premium classes all the time, nor do I fly economy all the time. I would say most of my travel is either in Premium Economy or economy, with the occasional long-haul in business class (usually Aeroflot due to my work location). I usually earn 80,000-100000 miles per year solely on flying, and I for some reason or another rarely use my credit card so don’t earn many points that way. My point is that to those complaining about this article and being snobbish about LCC’s, don’t forget how the majority fly and it is actually useful. These carriers bring affordable travel to the masses, which is a good thing. To those howling about Ryanair’s working conditions: The employees aren’t forced to work there. And as is the truth in any business or industry, cheap products or services necessarily involve cutting corners on quality and workers’ conditions. So get off your high horse and stop being so hypocritical!

  134. It’s sad to see people with (apparently) the means to pay for travel with other airlines, choosing to use Ryanair and at the same time being aware of the working conditions.

    From the article:
    «Ryanair staff aren’t a very happy bunch. Given their working conditions, I wouldn’t be either. »

    It is of course your choice to take, as it should be, to choose where to use your money. For myeself, one key part of choosing a flag carrier airline is that I can’t get myself to support lousy working conditions.

  135. @ Andreas-Johann Ø Ulvestad and @ Myles – I think you could find fault with how every single airline in the world treats its employees.

    – United took away its quarterly bonus structure.
    – British Airways Mixed Fleet strike because they are paid below minimum wage to live in an expensive city.
    – The ME3 have a huge level of control over the living conditions of their staff.
    – Air France crew are constantly striking over their conditions.

    My position is that Ryanair employees are free to work for Ryanair, or for other airlines, or anywhere. Ryanair are very upfront about their pay and expectations.

    If I refused to fly any airline where I could find a single fault with its management I wouldn’t travel much.

  136. @James You are of course correct in the fact that there is not a single perfect airline. However, there is a clear difference between different airlines.

    Yes, British Airways have striked (and so have Air France). In my eyes, that is a healthy thing. They have demanded some things, the company has not met them on those issues, and they are still striking. They are showing force, the employees are not intimidated. That is a good thing.

    For me as a consumer, that is an annoyance. But at least I know that the workers have had the choice and have opted for common negotiation – without fearing for losing their jobs.

    On the other hand, you have some airlines, of which I will put Ryanair, where you can clearly see that the employees are not happy at all.

    Not seeing eye to eye on financial matters, salaries etc.. ok. But firing people for handing out a union form? Having to pay to Ryanair for training and then being transferred to an agency without any guarantees of enough work hours to cover that? Having to pay to apply for a position? Etc.. that does cross the line.

    Of course, you are very free to choose where to put your money. I have my standards other people have their standards.

    However, that exact choice is a powerful weapon. By giving money to a company, you are funding their operations. You can make that choice based completely on what is practical for you (cheap fares, cheap or good food options at a supermarket etc) – and for many people that is the only possible choice.

    I choose to use my money as a point, which is one of the few powers I have as a consumer in a capitalist-based economy (for which I support). For example, I do not fly Ryanair and try to avoid Norwegian. I do not support the Salvation army due to them sacking gay people but rather support a similar christian organisation doing the same work without discriminating, etc.

    But, I do not hold everyone to my standards, nor do I expect people to do loads of research. That does not stop me from being saddened by people making that choice, though :-).

  137. @ andreas-johann ulvestad
    normally I would say ” hold your breath.”..but now, just wow! Please do talk further..totaly agree what you have said and definitely more!
    Gobsmacked right here!


    no need to say anything more…Andreas-Johann U. just gave it to you!

  138. Yeah, I’ve flown Ryanair on every European trip I’ve ever taken. Never luxurious or especially convenient, but never bad either. And YES, as a poor college student, I did fly them out of London Luton, London Standsted, and into places like Stockholm Skavsta and Barcelona Reus. Do your research, figure out if the bus or transport options to/from those airports is worth it for you, and of course look at a map to see if a train is a better option (often it isn’t at longer distances or across water, like to Spain or to Sweden).

    Just *learn the rules* and don’t assume *anything* is going to be thrown in like they are on mainline full service carriers. If you do, then yes, you CAN actually fly places for less than $20.

  139. @Andreas-Johann Ø Ulvestad

    Some of this is cultural. Unions are largely seen as bad actors in the US by both management AND workers alike (for a lot of good reasons), although with 330 million people here there are a large % who like unions (mostly government unions employees, which shouldn’t exist IMO; although I have no problem with private unions in theory). Therefore, most US readers will not be alarmed whatsoever by what you just wrote.

    However, the fact of the matter is you probably spend a *significant* amount of money supporting companies that are far worse than how Ryanair treats their employees (both directly – eg. clothes or indirectly – ie steel in your car, subways, etc).

    Pretty much anything you buy made in China and developing countries is almost guaranteed to be significantly worse for workers than Ryanair (clothing, electronics, vehicle parts, steel etc). Most hotels, retail and restaurants (at least outside of the US) are worse. So when people like you and others on here (although you seem more reasonable than others) go off on tangents, it comes across as not only a rant but a hypocritical one that is nearly instantly dismissed.

    I learned long ago that if you want to find a reason not to support a company, there isn’t a single one on the planet most people couldn’t find some reason given the divisiveness in politics today if you truly dug deep enough. (FWIW – I believe the Salvation Army stopped the anti-gay thing quite a while ago – remember it wasn’t that long ago that even Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, etc were anti-gay marriage etc as well – society has moved quite quickly on this issue in the last 10-15 years, thankfully).

    my 2¢ fwiw =)

  140. @ Rob – You accuse other contributors of going off at tangents. Ther are so many tangential divertions in your post that I’m goooooooiiiiiiiinnnnnnggggg ooooffffffff aaaatttt aaaaaa ttttaaaaaaannngggeeeeeennnnnnttttttt…….

  141. @ Myles – I’ll take that as a compliment.

    ps. Watch you spelling; it’s “A Consumer”, not “a consumer”!

  142. My post was definitely going off on a tangent – about the only way to respond to one is to do in kind; otherwise you can’t hit all the points of the first tangent. That really wasn’t my main point anyway – it’s that everyone on here whining about Ryanair’s employee relationship are spending big dollars at companies or for products that treat their employees far, far worse. (I hope no one on here is going to the Qatar World Cup in 2022).

    Although I’m not sure what a “divertions” is – do you mean diversions?

  143. @ Rob. “divertions”/”diversions”. After what I’ve drunk tonight, you’re lucky to be able to read anything at all!

  144. @ Rob

    What, do not be the drag! I love soccer!.. This year no soccer WC because of crappy Putin and its regime, now your warning me of the Qatari slave games!!..Jeez, two WC at home?! :'(

  145. @ A (mildy inebriated) Consumer

    Cheers to that! I would like an adult beverage myself when I get off work later here on the US East Coast


    I love soccer as well. Bayern Munich is my favorite club. Hoping we wrap this UEFA quarterfinals up!

  146. @rob

    LOL, what a coincidence just watching the match against Sevilla…and hurray! Bayern München has won and its in the semi finals! Altough a draw but won the match on the first leg..

  147. @ Myles – Firstly, I thank you for your courtesy in confirming that your previous remark was indeed meant to be complimentary. Secondly (and one doesn’t want to be thought of as a pedant, although I fear, after the following remark, that is what you will think I am), it is “misspelling” not “mispelling”. At least, on this side of the pond, it is!

  148. @A Consumer

    LOL, you are a pedant..just forgot one more s..that is all..it is alright, as long as you correct other writers
    as well !

  149. @Rob
    Yes, there are loads of companies many of support that we probably should not support. However, in my belief, there is a large difference between knowing that a company has a lousy track record and doing nothing versus not knowing a company has a lousy track record and doing nothing.

    For myself, I try to make conscious decisions when I can. Some actions I take are:
    1) For air flight, that means not using some companies, like Ryanair.
    2) When I want to donate to an NGO, I check if they’re on the list of efficient donor organisations here in Norway, meaning they don’t squander a lot on administration.
    3) At work, when we import things from factories in China, we always use an agent that checks on the working conditions at that factory. We also support local and ethical companies in our food purchases for lunch etc.
    4) When I hire contractors to do work at work or privately, I of course check that they’re not on any blacklists, confirm that they pay a living wage to their employers, etc.
    5) When we reviewed the choice of cleaners at the company I work and at the building society where I live, we weighed cost and environmental profile and had an absolute demand of livable wages for the employees.

    I probably support loads of companies with a lousy track record without knowing it – but if I am made aware of good reasons to not support a company, I will (probably) drop them. For me, that’s a part of being a responsible human being.

    That does not mean that people that don’t do as I do are terrible people. We might just disagree. And of course, for some people, their finances don’t allow them the choice if things are more expensive – I fully understand and respect that.

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