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Your Ryanair Experience

There are always a lot of conversations on this board about Ryanair, and the other discount airlines, and people are always asking questions.

I'd love to see people leave their personal feedback from a trip they've actually taken. Good, bad, horrible, or brilliant.

If you've had a Ryanair experience, please share it.

Posted by
881 posts

I'll go first:

I've flown Ryanair a few times, from London to Graz, Trieste to London, and Rome to Dublin.

First trip - Our first flight was back in 2001, and went without a hitch. Ryanair wasn't charging as many luggage fees back then, so that was nice. Flew out of Stansted, which was no further than Heathrow for us, and the shuttle was a lot easier than hauling luggage through London to the Heathrow Express.

Our eventual goal was Vienna. I wish (at the time) they flew somewhere closer, but the train ride from Graz to Vienna is stunning.

Second trip - Flew from Trieste back to Stansted. Flight was delayed 2-4hrs, but nothing worse than I have experienced with any other airline. The shuttle from Trieste wasn't great. (There is a full sized bus I wish we would have taken). But the amount of money we saved vs other airlines ($400) was worth it.

Third Trip - 2009. Rome Ciampino to Dublin. Ryanair's rules have gotten a bit more restrictive, but we researched in advance, and were prepared. We paid the extra couple dollars for pre-boarding which was nice and well worth it. We got hungry and ordered some food, to my surprise, it was quite a good sandwich for 5EUR!

Ciampino was a wonderful airport. I LOVED having to go through there rather than FCO. It's a small(er) airport, and was much easier to get around. We flew directly into Dublin(DUB). Which is of course the main airport, and baggage was out quick, and we were on our way. The taxi ride to Ciampino from our apartment was actually 1EUR cheaper than FCO, and was about a 40 in drive through some beautiful areas.

By all means, if any of the major airlines were anywhere remotely close on price, I would go with them just for creature comforts. But we've never had a bad experience on Ryanair, and never been charged an extra fee.

In contrast: On those same trips our SAS flight sat on the TARMAC for 3.5hrs (before a 9 hr flight), and the British Air flight was 17 hours delayed.

Posted by
8939 posts

I've flown with them several times, and I think they're the worst airline in the world; it's always been a hassle flying with them. On one flight they made passengers wait in a line for boarding for 90 minutes! On another flight we were about to board a plane but at the last second they decided to shift the plane to another flight. On a third flight, they decided to change gates without any kind of announcements; passengers were expected to wander around the terminal and figure it out for themselves. Finally, once inside the aircraft there's is a general sense hostility among everyone:between fellow passengers, and staff to passengers and vice versa- it's not a pleasant experience. All of these things happened at their "home" airport Dublin where one would think they would have their sh*t together. Ironically, I've never flown with them because of the price, rather on all these routes they were the only airline that provided direct service. I would have happily paid double the fare with another competing airline, just to avoid Ryanair. I know some will say "you get what you pay for", but I've flown other discounts like EasyJet and Air Europe and have never had these kind of hassles.

Hot off the press here's a NY Times article about RyanAir: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/01/world/europe/01oleary.html?hp

Posted by
881 posts

Thank you, Linda. I was really hoping we could keep this to just direct personal experiences to help other users.

Posted by
9363 posts

My most recent experience with Ryanair was last year, when I flew them from London Stansted to Santander, Spain. The total US$ cost was 30.00, taxes included. I checked a bag and had a carryon. It wasn't possible for a non-EU citizen to check in online then, so there was a small fee for checking in at the airport. I knew ahead of time about their check-in time limits and was in line in plenty of time.

My flight left exactly on time, and arrived about 5 minutes early in Santander, where my friend picked me up. During the flight there was food offered (for a price, of course) but it wasn't a hard sell or anything. Since I had eaten and hit the restroom before getting on the plane for the 90 minute flight, I had no need for anything from the flight crew, so I had limited contact with them, but they were pleasant and smiling. My checked bag arrived with me in perfect shape.

In short, the flight was cheap, on time, completely hassle-free, and got me to the exact place I wanted to go -- there was no better way to go.

Posted by
5027 posts

Maybe I am lucky, but my experiences with Ryanair have been flawless, and though it has been several years, I had few concerns about booking with them again in September. Most critiques I see fall into a few distinct categories:

FEES: Many, many complaints about them charging for everything. I agree, it is frustrating, but with any travel you need to look at total cost, and even with lots of fees, Ryan Air comes up cheaper. Figure the fare plus 20 to 30 euro taxes, plus 5 Euro check in, plus 5 Euro processing, plus 10 Euro if you want to check a bag, +,+,+; As long as you understand the fees, you come out OK.

Penalties: I see many people that failed to follow bag weight limits, did not follow check-in procedures, or thought they could check bags easiily at the airport. These peoples lack of preparedness cost them big time and they get upset.

Airport Logistics: While Ryan Air does like to call a remote airport by the same name as a city up to 100 km away, a simple map search or reading the airport info should let you know where you need to be to take off and where you will land. They even state costs and travel time usually into a city.

Overall, I understand some of the complaints, but many are not the fault of Ryan Air. Now yes, they have delays, they cancel flights, and their low cost approach can seem harsh and inflexible, but that is why other full service airlines also fly. Buyer beware, understand what you are getting and understand you get what you pay for.

Posted by
9343 posts

And don't forget Paul, in some cases, to add the extra cost of getting to far off airports.

How many of you remember the Soup Nazi episode of Seinfeld. You had better learn the procedure for ordering or else.

I wonder if after watching that episode they got the idea for Ryanair?

Posted by
5027 posts

Yes, Frank, one should certainly tally up tranport time and cost to and from the airport, but I find that in any city that can be significant (Malpensa is a good distance from Milan, even Heathrow can be expensive to get to). I also find though that if the location works, it may even be better. For example, we will visiting my Brother near Kaiserslautern, Germany. Frankfurt-Hahn is only a short drive from there, it is a small airport, parking is cheap, so location in this case is a bonus. We are taking advantage of RyanAir to go to Croatia, a direct flight into Zadar, from where we will set off.

Posted by
9343 posts

I meant it more as a generic since most people don't think about transportation to and from the airport as part of the cost of travel.

With Ryanair, some of the aiports are much further, and more expensive to get to, than the main airport.

Posted by
964 posts

I've flown with Ryanair from Bournemouth, UK to Barcelona and back, and from Bournemouth to Bergamot in italy and back- all 4 flights were on time, no hassle and pleasant. And cheap, cheap, like a 200lb canary!

Posted by
668 posts

We flew with them from Bristol (we had been to Bath) to Dublin last year and had no more hassle than any other airline. Check in was a breeze - we had our weights right. Flight staff was pleasant and helpful. Luggage arrived intact with little wait time. Price was rediculously low - we had beeked several months in advance. What more could you ask?

My sister lives in Scotland and she has used them several times with similar experiences to ours.

Posted by
17898 posts

Yes Frank, in Germany, the ten largest cities (#1 Berlin to #10 Bremen) are served by 8 major airports. It takes an average of 24 minutes to get to these airports, usually by rail. Ryan "serves" these cities from 6 airports. Only Bremen is the same airport. It takes an average of 1h37m to get to these Ryan airports (over an hour longer than for the main airports). Often a bus is the only means of transport.

Posted by
2193 posts

While not scientifically or statistically valid, it seems that an 83 percent favorable result from personal experience on this thread thus far is certainly more than a decent figure. Sorry, no personal experience to share…just an observation.

Posted by
17898 posts

"Frankfurt-Hahn is only a short drive from there".

I wouldn't call that a short drive? According to ViaMichelin, the drive from Kaiserslautern to Hahn is 105 km, 1h16m.

Posted by
425 posts

Unfortunately they are the only airline that provide a direct service from "here" to the UK. So I have used them many many times. Their "people skills" are poor. You are treated as walking cargo. The only motivation is to separate you from the contents of your wallet. Their scheduled flight times are ridiculously long just so that when they beat that time they can say "early or on-time again!".

Roger

www.fermedecandeloup.fr

Posted by
38 posts

I've had several flights with Ryanair, (at least 12) Only 1 flight has ever been delayed and that was by an hour.
I will say I think priority boarding is a joke and just a money maker for Ryanair.

On one of my last flights while we queued to check the size of our bags, (they have metal frames you drop your bag into, your bag must fit into the frame or else it has to be checked in) the woman in front of me her bag was a tight squeeze and got stuck coming out so I gave her a hand to remove it. The flight attendant on duty saw my good deed and waved me by, I didn't have to check my bag for size at all!

If you heed their restrictions (they do have quite a few) there should be no reason your flight wont be as enjoyable as any other.

Ryanair fly alot of people, its understandable that there will be problems with some flights, more often than not its the bad experiences that get most of the publicity.

Posted by
7846 posts

It has been about 4 or 5 years since I flew Ryan Air, but my experience was positive. Did round trip from Hahn to Rome for 35 euro. Got a round trip bus ticket in Rome for 12 euro, so for a total of 47 euro, I got to go to Rome. Food at the airport was not over priced too high, the plane was brand new and the service was friendly.

I truly have no complaints about them, other than they really should change the name Frankfurt Hahn, to just Hahn. Way too many people land there and do not realize that they are not landing in Frankfurt.

Honestly, what is the problem with sitting on a bus for an hour and half if you can get a super cheap flight. I know people in the states drive that every day as a commute to work and back and think nothing of it.

All of my friends here use it. They pop over to Dublin for 1 euro, fly up to Riga, or go to Rome for the weekend. You just need to know the rules and then follow them. I certainly would fly with them again.

Posted by
190 posts

Like the other Jo (above) said, know the rules and follow them. I use Ryan Air all the time and have for many years. Never a problem as long as I do it their way. Hey, it's their airline so why shouldn't I do it their way - especially when the prices are often dirt cheap!

Actually, I've gotten a bit tired of the RyanAir bashing I have seen on this site. But after reading the negative posts, I realized that the usual problem is that the complainers want things to be like they are on the full-service, full-price airlines. Life just ain't that way!

Posted by
8939 posts

"...Actually, I've gotten a bit tired of the RyanAir bashing I have seen on this site. But after reading the negative posts, I realized that the usual problem is that the complainers want things to be like they are on the full-service, full-price airlines. Life just ain't that way!"

This ain't the only site where you will see Ryanair bashing. One thing I've noticed about the complaints (including mine) is that most have nothing to do with check-in times or weight restrictions. Most seem to involve the simple lack of communication regarding delays, gate changes, and simple common courtesy amongst their staff. It costs RA nothing to use a PA system to make announcements, or to say "thank you". As I said before, other discount airlines I've flown on don't seem to have a problem doing any of this, yet still manage to provide cheap fares.

Posted by
4555 posts

Jo...."the usual problem is that the complainers want things to be like they are on the full-service, full-price airlines."
You must be reading different complaints than I've seen here on the helpline. I've had neutral and negative experiences with Ryanair....never a positive one. But out of the half-dozen or so discount airlines that I've had a chance to fly in Europe, I've never run into such a lack of respect for the paying customer as I've seen at Ryanair. The only reason "it's their airline" is because customers pay to fly on it...if it weren't for them, there would be no airline.
And I guess I just naturally rebel against those I feel are trying to mislead me. If Southwest tried to label John Wayne Airport as "Orange-Los Angeles," people would rightly complain. But the Orange county airport is a lot closer to downtown LA than Ryanair's self-described "Frankfurt Hahn," "Paris-Beauvais," and "Barcelona-Girona" airports.

Posted by
5011 posts

" If you want to keep up the myth of air travel and pay for the captain’s filmstar salary..."

Oh, boy.

Actually, I am perfectly happy to pay whatever is needed to ensure that the flight crew (pilots, cabin crew, maintenance staff, and the others who are responsible for keeping me and a few hundred of my friends alive and in one piece) are experienced, capable, well-rested, and not worrying about being able to afford their kids' next doctor visit.

I get nervous when I stop to think that the pilots on my flights are often earning a salary comparable to the night shift manager at the local Mickey D's, have gotten less sleep in the previous 48 hours than I have, and are just barely scrapping by and keeping their lives together.

In short, I want the guy sitting in the left seat up front to be more like Sully Sullenberger (a veteran, well trained, well-compensated, unionized, thoroughly capable professional), and less like the poor crew that perished (along with all their passengers) in the tragic Colgan Air crash (Buffalo NY).

I don't know much about how well Ryanair is paying their flight crews, but I do know that the necessary "race to the bottom" in costs that allows absurd fares like 2 Euro can indeed lead to compromises with safety.

I'll fly discount airlines now and then (usually when they're the only option) but when I do, I worry about what corners they're cutting, and I generally prefer the "legacy" carriers. I certainly do not begrudge the captain his "filmstar" salary.

BTW, I'm a pilot (not for the airlines). I'm not a nervous nellie about flying (far from it), but honestly do worry how safe an airline can be when they're so focused on cutting every possible cost. YMMV.

Posted by
251 posts

I flew them from Paris to Rome. From my research here I knew what to expect. I got a great rate even with luggage fees. I knew I would have to take a 1.5 hour bus ride out to Beauvais Airport but what's not to like about a drive through the French countryside. The tiny airport was a breeze to navigate as was the smaller airport in Rome. The buses were waiting outside the door to take us to Termini. We had no hassles whatsoever and would do it again.

Posted by
1 posts

There’s truly a lot of Ryanair bashing out there on the web but I think that flying buses are here to stay. We flew Ryanair to and from Venice (Treviso) last week and airport check in was in fact no longer available. This was well mentioned on Ryanair’s webside and we even received aditional warnings in our email beforehand. We found (again) that our flight with Ryanair was good value for money, no more, no less. I'm surprised at the comments you'll find all over the web regarding Ryanair’s way of conducting business. I’m even led to believe that we encountered the only friendly Ryanair cabin crew in the world, and that two times in a row! After the second world war the major (often national) carriers were very succesfull in preserving an image of luxury and exclusiveness and apparently this air travel gimmick settled well in the public’s mind hence the numerous outcries you’ll find over the internet by people who are still expecting the royal treatment. The low cost carriers take air travel for what it is: mass transportation, and they don’t keep it a secret. Ryanair’s internet site leaves no room for “yes but’s, no but’s, what if’s”. Read the instructions carefully, comply, and they will get you to the destination, on time, at a competitive rate. And to be completely honost: I hate queuing up for check in. I hate it when a fellow passenger tries to stow three pieces of clearly oversized carry-on luggage in the overhead locker. I hate it when all set to go, the front door opens up again to allow a late fellow traveller on board. No longer on Ryanair: check in at home. Too big is too big. Too heavy is too heavy. Too late is too late. Period. If you want to keep up the myth of air travel and pay for the captain’s filmstar salary, disigners outfit for the cabin crew, fancy food that tastes like anything else at 30.000", totally useless miniature “for your convenience” trash and a big office in every major capitol of the world, please do so. We’ll be flying low cost.

Posted by
5027 posts

For what it is worth, earlier in the post I mentioned an upcoming flight, RT, Hahn-Zadar. Back from that, all was pretty uneventful, both flights landed early (Ryanair claims the best on time record in Europe), service was fine. I did pay the extra 10 Euro to check a bag on the way back, giving me and my wife 10 Kilo each on the way down (Carryon) and a total of 35 Kilo on the way back, plenty for anyone travelling light. I did recall at one time all carry-on bags were checked, now with online check-in and not going to the counter, bags were checked hit or miss at Hahn and not at all in Zadar, not that I would risk it, but maybe a little leeway.

Posted by
881 posts

David, that's a little off base there.

Ryanair has just about the best safety record in the industry, and one of the newest fleets in the air.

I'd take the 3 year old 737's Ryainair flies over the old Lockheed/Martin planes (yes, that company that's been out of the business how many years now?) that the bigger airlines fly any day.

Posted by
9343 posts

You can't assume that the highest paid pilots are with the legacy airlines. In the U.S., the highest paid pilots, on average, for a passenger airlines, work for Southwest. (Only UPS and Fedex pay their pilots better.)

Posted by
9343 posts

Those "offshoots" are actually separate airlines under contract to fly under the "continental" banner.

Some are owned by the same parent company as the legacies, others are completely separate.

Just remember, many of the pilots flying for the "legacy" carriers, started at smaller airlines.

Posted by
410 posts

I regularly fly the budget airlines between where we live in Spain and other parts of Europe, including the UK. Based on only one experience, which was recent, I would hesitate before travelling with Ryan Air again. The only good thing I can say about the experience is that the plane was on time.

The bad - the necessity for online checkin, or pay a 40GBP fee (I read that soon online checkin will be mandatory), the rudeness of their ground staff, the stiff fees for everything, the unreasonable and unyielding luggage policy, the disgusting state of the aircraft which looked like it had not been cleaned in a very long time - and so on.

Yes it is cheap, but I would rather pay a bit more to be treated more as a client and I am not sure it is that cheap unless you can comply with ALL their rules.

Posted by
495 posts

Quoth Liz:
Yes it is cheap, but I would rather pay a bit more to be treated more as a client and I am not sure it is that cheap unless you can comply with ALL their rules.

I think this is the key to flying Ryan Air (or any low cost airline,) know what you're getting and what you're prepared to pay for.

Think of these airline like McDonald's; some people love them some people won't go near them but they provide a certain service at a certain price. If someone ate at a McDonald's and then complained that they had to collect their own food and clear their own table and to add insult to injury they weren't even given plates or cutlery and were expected to eat out of a paper carton like a tramp... some might think the complaint unreasonable.

Another parallel with McDonald's is that most of Ryan Air's harshest critics on this board have never flown with them (and say they never will) just as most critics of McDonald's "would never eat that stuff."

For my part I've had good experiences with Ryan Air (and EasyJet, Jet2 and Air Berlin) as a cheap, low frills way to travel but then I also like a McDonald's every now and then.

As an addendum; the LCC business model does seem more suited to getting Europeans around the place with little or no fuss or luggage. They are probably not as suited to Americans trying to connect with transatlantic flights carrying enough luggage for a 4 week cruise but then, as much as I like McD's, I wouldn't take my wife there for our wedding anniversary.

Posted by
9343 posts

One big difference, if a flight attendant on Ryanair did that, you'd probably be charged for the entertainment and have a two drink minimum.

Posted by
5517 posts

And Southwest does not charge for luggage, unlike American, United, Northwest, Continental Etc. I'm not sure that the comparison to McDonalds is quite fair. McDonalds staff are polite and I don't think I've ever seen one that was dirty. Pam

Posted by
4 posts

I have traveled with Ryanair three times. Two times times departing Santander, and arrivals including Stansted and Pisa. The other was Dublin to Paris.
Both planes were on time (Ryanair has the best ontime record in Europe).
Just last night, I watched an English documentary about Ryanair, and I saw some info I had not seen before. I was waiting for some big news, some scandalous info, but really, it didn´t seem that big of a deal.
The airplanes are thoroughly cleaned once a day, in the morning. The rest of the day is just garbage pickup. This enables them to have a 25 minute turnaround, keeping their company as profitable as possible and keeping our prices low.
The one thing that couldbe a bit controversial was the final passport check when actually stepping onto the plane. Sometimes they dont do a thorough job, but in my opinion, if I was checked at the main security, and again at the gate, then the flight attendant´s check of my passport is probably redundant.
I have never had a bad customer service encounter, and even struck up a good conversation with one of the attendants on my last flight, who pointed out to me the Pisa and Livorno monuments as we flew over.
No, he didn´t offer me a hot cloth or cookies, but dang, I paid 20 euros to fly to Italy.
Ryanair is cheap transportation, not an adventure or a luxury. You do get what you pay for (and in my opinion, even more). It can be a bit "soup nazi" but who cares, they get us in and out for next to nothing, so we can go make our own histories and stories.
If only we had something like this in the states!

P.S. The Santander airport is an easy 2 euro, 5 minute bus to the city center. And the trains are just out the back of the Pisa airport, so both those airports are easy to navigate in and out of. The Dublin, Paris and Stanstead airports required shuttles to the city, but they have big ticket counters, easy to find!
Happy Travels everyone!