For real?
April 26, 2006 7:34 AM   Subscribe

Is this airfare for real?

Ryanair.com

The wife and I are traveling to Ireland next summer and would like to make a two day detour to the mainland. A New Yorker article made reference to Ryan Air and one and two dollar flights.

Besides the flights being short notice and not being to the major airports in major cities, what's the catch? 14 pence from London to Milan?
posted by DieHipsterDie to Travel & Transportation (42 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Airport taxes.
posted by Leon at 7:37 AM on April 26, 2006


One catch is the amount of luggage you are allowed, and another is that Ryanair usually flies into secondary airports so your transportation might cost more once you arrive. I haven't used them myself, but friends have with no problem.
posted by one at 7:40 AM on April 26, 2006


It'll still be cheap. Add about $50 in taxes and "fees" (which many carriers would include in the price of the ticket) each way for an upper bound on the price. Also, on Ryanair, there is zero checked baggage allowance, and the cabin baggage allowance is small by American standards.

Also add whatever additional money you're going to have to spend to get to the more remote airports on both sides, and the time you'll waste.

The flights are not always short notice. In fact usually they require at least two weeks advance booking.

Eire'o'flot Ryanair is an experience that will make you appreciate how luxurious American low-cost carriers are. You don't even get peanuts for free. Do not show up late for check-in. They will not fly you then unless you buy an extremely expensive last-minute fare.

Despite all this, I've done it many times; just don't expect much.
posted by grouse at 7:42 AM on April 26, 2006


You will pay airport taxes which will roughly £20 pp, but there is no catch - if you can actually get those fares. There won't be very many available per flight, and there may not be many flights which have them in the first place.

Also with Ryanair you now have to pay £5 per piece to check any luggage into the hold. But if yuo're flexible there are certainly some very cheap flights to be had.

Also, as standard with a Low Cost Carrier, there is very little or no compensation / help if your flight is delayed or cancelled.
posted by jontyjago at 7:42 AM on April 26, 2006


One other thing - you say that the airports are not the major ones, they are often not in the same city- I think it's Stockholm where the airport advertised as Stockholm is in fact over 100km away from the city centre, so take this into consideration.

All LCCs do this to an extent, but Ryanair is the worst offender - it advertises flights to Nice, but the airport is actually in Italy.
posted by jontyjago at 7:45 AM on April 26, 2006


If you think of Ryanair as a coach company of the sky you won't go wrong.

On a coach you get no meal, little space, restricted luggage space and no compensation if you arrive at your destination late. This could be due to the airport on a plane or through traffic on a coach.

The get you from A to B(sometimes via C) but they are the "no frills" airline.
posted by MarvinJ at 7:49 AM on April 26, 2006


BTW - if you are thinking of Milan I've just looked on the Ryanair site and "Milan" is actually Bergamo airport which is 33 miles from Milan. Just so you know.

If you want to fly to a real airport in Milan, try Easyjet. Not as bargain basement as Ryanair but still generally much cheaper than the Flag Carriers, and you're allowed to check stuff in up to 20kg.
posted by jontyjago at 7:50 AM on April 26, 2006


Also, as standard with a Low Cost Carrier, there is very little or no compensation / help if your flight is delayed or cancelled.

And absolutely no guarantee of connections, so don't gamble on a short layover in Stansted between two flights. But for short-haul from Ireland to Britain, you usually don't get the extended coach trips to the advertised destination city, since apart from 'London' Stansted or Luton, they fly to small metropolitan airports.

As others have said, treat it for what it is: one step above flying as cargo.
posted by holgate at 8:01 AM on April 26, 2006


if you are thinking of Milan I've just looked on the Ryanair site and "Milan" is actually Bergamo airport which is 33 miles from Milan.

Bear in mind that Milan's main airport is at Malpensa and is 30 miles from the city.
posted by biffa at 8:03 AM on April 26, 2006


I don't care if I can't take anything with me or have to stand the entire time. Getting to the general area is all that matters.

They also note that taxes and fees do not exceed 15 pound.
posted by DieHipsterDie at 8:04 AM on April 26, 2006


Also keep in mind that the super-cheap fares are only available at certain times: usually Tuesdays and Wednesdays, perhaps for 6am departures. In the summer there may be fewer deals. I'm not sure how far you can book ahead, but you might want to look at the fares on the site to see how often the cheap ones are available.
posted by komilnefopa at 8:11 AM on April 26, 2006


Based on some advice received here at AskMe I gave Ryan some serious thought while planning a multi-city trip to Europe this summer. Ultimately, I decided against it. The additional cost of getting from the secondary airports (I was planning to travel both to "Stockholm" and "Milan") more or less outweighed the savings.

So I went with the best fare that AirTreks could get me on major carriers instead.

Still, it seems like Ryan offers a great service - provided that you're very aware of all the hitches and quirks.
posted by aladfar at 8:15 AM on April 26, 2006


It would be this promotion:
Milan (Orio al Serio)
from £0.14
Fares are exclusive of taxes fees & charges which do not exceed £15.20
Booking Period: Tue 25th Apr - Thu 27th Apr
Travel Period: Fri 28th Apr - Wed 25th Oct
Applicable Days: Mon - Thurs & Sat
Subject To Availability
Flight must be purchased: 7 Days in advance
Blackout Period: 01st Jul '06 - 31st Aug '06
Notes on this fare: All Holidays, School Breaks and major sporting events are excluded from this offer


From going through (most of) the booking process:
Fare Rules

- All travel is offered in accordance with Ryanair General Conditions of Carriage
- All fares are non refundable but: Flight dates, times, routes and passenger names are changeable subject to applicable charges: please see Terms and Conditions for further details.
- Checked in baggage - 20kg per person (a baggage fee applies for each item of checked baggage) - no sharing of baggage allowance permitted (no infant allowance)
- N.B. Passengers who paid for their reservation before the 16th March 2006 the checked baggage allowance is 15kg per person (no infant allowance)
- Excess Baggage Charged at £5.50/€8 per kilo or local currency equivalent
- Hand baggage 10kg per passenger (no infant allowance).
- The maximum size of cabin hand baggage cannot exceed 55 cm x 40 cm x 20 cm (20 x 14 x 9ins).

It's also listed as a web fare, so not available offline, and the flight I was 'booking' was for 6.40am april 4. (Other fares for that day were about 12pound before taxes).


All these details are available on the ryanair website. Aside from that, there's no real catch: I've flown Ryanair, and I didn't find it that uncomfortable or cheap seeming (I'm small though). There's just a ridiculous amount of competition on the short European flights. However, I remember from when I was looking at flights within Europe that short notice is not usually cheaper: the further ahead you book, as a rule, the cheaper it gets. Promotions like this of course are exceptions.
posted by jacalata at 8:16 AM on April 26, 2006


If you want to compare cheap short haul european prices try the following link

They list all of the cheapo ones, Ryanair, Easyjet etc...

My mum lives in Ireland, and visits me in London once a month, and she never pays more than 0.01p for the flight, although in reality it costs approx £16
posted by the_epicurean at 8:20 AM on April 26, 2006


Yeah, it's legit. As some have noted, Ryanair is more like a bus than a plane.

You should bear in mind (as some have already said)

Ryanair files to/from odd airports. It may cost you more to get into town then for the flight.

Ryanair does general boarding (no seat assignment), so you have to be *early* to make sure you're getting on the flight.

They will also charge you for checked luggage, air, fuel, and each time the flight attenedent makes eye contact.
posted by tiamat at 8:23 AM on April 26, 2006


Skyscanner.net
posted by the_epicurean at 8:23 AM on April 26, 2006


FYI, the ultra-discount european airlines have *very* small seats. If you're big or tall, you'll hate them.
posted by I Love Tacos at 8:25 AM on April 26, 2006


Wow. Considering it would cost me $200 to fly from Minneapolis to Chicago, these prices are amazing. Even with the restrictions.
posted by DieHipsterDie at 8:35 AM on April 26, 2006


Have people lost the ability to use the link button on their computer? It's called hypertext, people.
posted by lalochezia at 8:49 AM on April 26, 2006


Ryanair does general boarding (no seat assignment), so you have to be *early* to make sure you're getting on the flight.

Although the premise is correct (no seat assignment) the conclusion doesn't necessarily follow and was news to me (be early to make sure you're getting on the flight.)

Does RyanAir oversell?
posted by rjt at 8:49 AM on April 26, 2006


Ryanair does general boarding (no seat assignment), so you have to be *early* to make sure you're getting on the flight.

Well, like, I dunno. I always get there, like, at a normal time - you know, aiming for at least a half hour before check-in closes, - and there's never been any issue nor have I ever heard of one. It's just a regular airline with really strict rules about latecomers.

It should also be noted that the algorithms used by all these guys isn't just some "last minute = cheap" model. Prices rise and fall based on time, demand, etc; I've known prices to triple within a few hours when a major football game or festival is announced. The rates are almost always pretty excellent.

It's important to note that there are lots of budget airlines in Europe now - most countries even have their own dedicated one. So definitely look around a bit rather than using RyanAir exclusively. People like: EasyJet, BMIbaby, FlyGlobespan, GermanWings, HLX, and on and on and on...

Haha, also note, for instance, that the shuttle bus from Oslo (Torp) airport to Oslo cost me £20 return, ie more than my £10 return flight!
posted by Marquis at 9:02 AM on April 26, 2006


Ryanair is a great way to travel if you realise that you get what you pay for. No frills in the extreme.

The airport location is almost never a problem, in my experience. A few years back it may have been a problem getting out of these places, but the popularity of Ryanair in recent years has meant the refurbishment of most of these airports, with many new facilites and excellent transportation links to the city advertised.
posted by fire&wings at 9:05 AM on April 26, 2006


Couple more notes from my experience (and people I know),

Haven't heard of Ryanair overselling, so I wouldn't worry about that.

Transport from Ryanair airports is often good and cheap - many times the airport is served laregly or entirely by Ryanair, so there will be a regular and cheap coach service from the airport to the relevant town, often timed with flight arrivals. Oslo is probably an excepetion as Norway is stupidly expensive in every way.

Ticket prices tend to fluctuate, so grab the real bargins when you can. Usually getting tickets early is a good way to get cheap tickets, and be flexible to early/late flights. Just keep clicking till you find a good price.

Bring your own snacks and expect to pay around £15 for taxes.

All my experiences, and those of friends, have been exactly what I expected - cheap, but gets you where you want to go in the end. Conclusion: if you want comfort and convenience, avoid, if not go for it.
posted by MetaMonkey at 9:35 AM on April 26, 2006


By the way, all your tags are running together, "travelryanaireurope". To make this thread findable, it would help to re-enter the tags separated by spaces.
posted by MetaMonkey at 9:38 AM on April 26, 2006


This thread began with a mention of a New Yorker article. That would by "High and Low" by Anthony Lane, in the 'Journeys' issue of April 24th. You can read an excerpt here but it doesn't seem to be available at newyorker.com.

MarvinJ, are you in the travel industry? Its members are the only demographic I know who use the word "coach." Everybody else calls that vehicle a bus.

posted by Rash at 9:59 AM on April 26, 2006


Ryanair doesn't overbook. Getting there early is still a good idea going by the number of people who complain that Ryanair staff dawdled until the check-in deadline passed while passengers were still in the queue.

The use of "coach" for a long-distance bus (usually one with nicer seating than a city bus) is common in the UK.
posted by grouse at 10:20 AM on April 26, 2006


Does RyanAir oversell?

This is a question a number of traditional airlines would love to get a straight answer to. It appears not, but Ryanair have crazy high average passenger loads compared to traditional (non-low cost) airlines. I wouldn't want to turn up 5 minutes before the gate closed. There's a chance they might have sold your seat to the mug who missed the previous gate...

Might just be a personal thing, but I didn't like my Ryanair flights. I did like easyJet and I did like bmi baby, which are almost the same in terms of "price/quality"

Also, a re-iterated warning.... don't use these as connecting flights for inter-continentals. Even if you're insured, you could run in to trouble if your Ryan air flight is delayed and miss your connection.

Oh, and Ryanair have a world famous customer services department. For all of the wrong reasons.
posted by davehat at 10:32 AM on April 26, 2006


Sky scanner is a useful reference for comparison across Europe's budget airlines.
posted by calico at 10:56 AM on April 26, 2006


Rash: they call it a coach in the UK.
posted by winston at 10:59 AM on April 26, 2006


This is a question a number of traditional airlines would love to get a straight answer to.

There is a straight answer. It's no.
posted by grouse at 11:43 AM on April 26, 2006


they call it a coach in the UK

But which it? I've heard those big red things in the streets of London called double-decker buses.

Sorry for the derail; it's just that I find any attempt to define "coach" as something different from "bus" laughable.
posted by Rash at 11:57 AM on April 26, 2006


RyanAir is a fantastic airline in my experience, I've used them to travel all over Europe and never had a problem, none of my friends or family have ever had problems either.

Some people do have problems but typically this is their own fault. Like all European Low Cost airlines, if you don't show up on time YOU WILL NOT BE ALLOWED ON THE PLANE, this even holds true if the plane is delayed.

Other than that the other big problem people have is that the name on the tickets is slightly different to the name on their passport, they have a zero tolerance thing on things like that.

Ryanair don't oversell in my experience either.

On the secondary airport issue, in my experience this has it's upsides. Mainly with the smaller airports, Ryanair flights will be pretty much the only ones in and out. This means that there's no problem with planes queuing on the runway etc. Also the small airports are usually served very well by transport.

For example on my last Ryanair flight to Stockholm, the airport was a €20 bus journey away, this took 1.5hrs. Not bad at all. At the airport things ran incredibly smoothly, and most people will agree.

In Ireland, Aer Lingus our State airline adopted lots of the Ryanair model but in my experience do a terrible job at it. Statistics show they have worse customer service, worse punctuality etc.

Aren't Southwest just like Ryanair? That's who Michael O'Leary took the idea from.
posted by daveirl at 11:59 AM on April 26, 2006


Southwest is "just like Ryanair", if Ryanair would cost $200 minimum to go round-trip from Albuquerque to Las Vegas (776 km each way). But Ryanair's fare from Dublin to Paris (about the same distance) is 0.14 EUR each way!

Southwest is really just a slightly cheaper major airline -- they do free checked baggage, late check-ins, in-flight snacks, etc. The cheapest flight you can get with them is usually $49 one-way (plus taxes and fees), and you can only get that fare between certain major cities. As someone who has to fly Southwest regularly, I am very jealous of you lucky Europeans! I wish someone would start a true discount airline here in the US (O'Leary, are you listening?)
posted by vorfeed at 12:56 PM on April 26, 2006


they call it a coach in the UK

But which it?


I already answered that earlier.

Sorry for the derail; it's just that I find any attempt to define "coach" as something different from "bus" laughable.

Hahahahaha. Hahaha. Can we get back to the question now?

posted by grouse at 1:01 PM on April 26, 2006


- if you are thinking of Milan I've just looked on the Ryanair site and "Milan" is actually Bergamo airport which is 33 miles from Milan.

- Bear in mind that Milan's main airport is at Malpensa and is 30 miles from the city.


Yeah, there isn't much of a difference. Also, like in all airports where Ryanair operates, there is a shuttle connecting it to the city, and the one for Milan one costs 6 euro, rather cheap compared to the Beauvais-Paris for instance (14 euro I think, probably because Beauvais is a little more distant from Paris?) or the one to Stockolm daveirl mentions.

It takes about an hour. There's usually one departing twenty minutes after every Ryanair arrival. Click "airport coach" from here and you can buy the tickets online.

RyanAir is a fantastic airline in my experience, I've used them to travel all over Europe and never had a problem, none of my friends or family have ever had problems either.

Same here. Sure, compared to travelling on other regular, non low cost carriers, it's even more cramped inside, so you feel a little squeezed in, and the boarding can be a messy affair as it's first come first served, but the rest is fine. In my experience, each flight has always been spot on time, in fact sometimes got there before scheduled arrival. I've only travelled with hand baggage myself but I didn't hear of problems or delays for people who had to collect their luggage.

Book as early as you can to get the best promotional fares, read all the print you're supposed to read, show up two hours before departure, make sure your baggage is not over the maximum weight, bring your water or non-alcoholic drinks or they'll rip you off, don't expect business class treatment, and you're set. Bon voyage!
posted by funambulist at 1:33 PM on April 26, 2006


It's important to note that there are lots of budget airlines in Europe now

True, and though they don't always have the low prices of Ryanair promotions, at times the fares can be very similar so definitely check all other offers from those comparison sites (see this one too).
posted by funambulist at 1:40 PM on April 26, 2006


Thing I find about the unallocated seating is that people tend to avoid the emergency rows. There's regularly some member of staff standing there and that tends to scare people away or something like that. Of course there's no reason you can't sit there, but people tend the avoid them leaving huge leg room for me!
posted by daveirl at 1:41 PM on April 26, 2006


Business 2.0 magazine had a pretty good article on RyanAir recently, outlining how they can (apparently) sustain this business model with prices that low.
The secret? Ryanair's austere cost structure almost makes Southwest look profligate. In addition, the Irish airline puts a price on virtually everything except tickets, from baggage check-in to seat-back advertising space. As a result, last year Ryanair collected $265 million--15.6 percent of overall revenues--from sources other than ticket sales.
posted by anildash at 4:36 PM on April 26, 2006


That article is interesting, but doesn't mention that the free seats act as a handy loss-leader/marketing device to get eyeballs and trust for the more sanely priced tickets (which are indeed very low due to RyanAir's penny-pinching).

The free seats are typically on flights that wouldn't run full anyway, like early/late flights, so they are effectively free to RyanAir too. By making lots of happy free-flying customers, they get tremendous word-of-mouth and newspaper inches, as well as a set of customers who know what to expect and will be tempted to pay more reasonable prices on their next flight, this time on a saturday afternoon on a fully-booked flight.

While 15.6% of their revenue is not from tickets, 84.4% of their revenue is - because their business is on the net, the prices are totally fluid, and can change from minute to minute based on demand, enabling them to be cheap, but still get as much as possible on each seat.
posted by MetaMonkey at 4:44 PM on April 29, 2006


Haven't heard of Ryanair overselling, so I wouldn't worry about that.

I find it amusing and somewhat sinister that some people seriously and repeatedly state that Ryanair doesn't oversell. Having been victim not once, but twice, of Ryanair overselling a flight and being thus forced to wait on standby for another Ryanair flight, I can assure you that such things happen.
posted by meehawl at 9:35 AM on May 1, 2006


It is Ryanair's stated policy not to overbook. What likely happened in your case was that some other flight was disrupted, but when that happens everything else is out the window anyway.
posted by grouse at 3:12 PM on May 1, 2006


Yesterday I survived a Ryanair flight from "Barcelona" (Gerona) to "Glasgow" (Prestwick) - I plan to make it my last. In its early days the airline seemed to convey a "Cheap and Cheerful" atmosphere. Passengers and airline were united in a conspiracy to deprive the regular carriers of their fat fares. With ever greater attempts to wring out margin from each passenger it no longer feels like "cheerful" however.

Passengers returning from holiday with checked baggage that was even 1 kilo over the 20Kg stated limit were being surcharged (limit to decrease to 15kg from November). This on top of the existing fee per checked item. The flight was full of people who had bought a piece of pottery as a souvenir to take back or a bottle of wine for whoever looked after the cat. These people did not have a set of scales in their hotel room and the airport did not provide one in check in. Nor did the airline allow groups to average out an allowance between checked bags. From check-in until landing it felt like the airline was at war with its passengers: they shouted at us and we either shouted back at them or suffered in silence.

Had this been a free or very cheap fare then you could accuse me of whinging - but we (I suspect along with the majority of others) were paying about £150 each return - comparable with other low cost operators. Just as the airline has used very cheap fares to create positive word of mouth it is also creating a cadre of people who are vowing never to use it again and relating their horror stories to all and sundry. With every further attempt to get extra cash from punters this latter group will get larger.

I would encourage potential passengers to look at any potential economies very carefully - both in absolute term and also in terms of peace of mind/ trauma avoidance.
posted by rongorongo at 4:04 AM on October 3, 2006


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