Laura Whateley on March the 19th has posted to The Times Business/money weblog a nicely thought-out list of twenty reasons for avoiding flying with Michael O’Leary’s Ryanair.
1. 1p flights are never 1p
Even if you strike it lucky and find a 1p flight you actually want to take, Ryanair charge you for the pleasure of paying for it. To the tune of £4.75. For each passenger. Each way.
And that doesn’t even include…
2. The check-in charge
If you want to book a bag into the aircraft hold you must check in at the airport, which will cost you £4.75 per passenger, per way, if you book online and a whopping £10 per passenger, per way if you pay at the airport or over the phone. And it doesn’t matter if only one person in your party takes a bag, everyone else still has to pay to check in at the airport too.
This week Ryanair announced that it’s all change from May when airport check in will rocket to £20 per person, per way. That is a grand total of £160 for a return flight as a family of four.
All without factoring in…
3. The baggage charge
Which is an extortionate £9.50 per bag, per flight. Or £19 if you book at the airport or over the phone.
4. The sneaky weight limit
Ryanair set its weight limit for hold luggage at 15kg catching the majority of passengers off guard.
You’re not allowed to pool bags either so, even if you have a party of four sharing luggage, if the bag weighs 16kg you will be charged £14 per additional kilo. Nevermind that it makes not a jot of difference to the weight of the aeroplane.
5. Queues glorious queues
If you’re still talking to your partner following the inevitable blazing row about why you shouldn’t just pay the bloody charges listed above, you won’t be after being told to join the back of the enormous queue at the ‘payments’ desk.
6. The additional baggage charge
Probably best to wear all of your clothes at once on the flight if you are travelling somewhere for more than a couple of days (until Ryanair start charging passengers for excess body weight that is). Check more than one bag in and it will cost you another £19 per extra piece of luggage, per way.
7. The website is rubbish. On purpose.
You have no choice but to book a Ryanair flight through its website so the airline may as well make it as stressful an experience as possible. The website is ugly for starters, and it crashes. All the time.
Because you can’t easily browse for dates when cheap flights are available you have to dedicate at least five precious hours of your life to sitting in front of the screen and laboriously trying different combinations to find a good deal.
And if you don’t understand what the hell you’ve just pressed there is no one to e-mail. Because Ryanair want you to spend more money and phone its…
8. Premium rate internet helpline
Calls cost £1 a minute to speak to someone in a call centre. Be amazed if you can explain what your problem is for under a fiver.
9. You can only fly cheap mid week
To get the bargains that make the pain of Ryanair worth the gain you have to be prepared to fly on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday, which can rule out the bargain European weekend break. Kind of why you wanted to book with Ryanair in the first place.
10. You have to travel at obscene hours.
Not only are you travelling on a Tuesday you also have to be prepared to wake up at 2am to get to the airport two hours ahead of your 6.55am flight. Or, if you choose a more civilised evening departure time, arrive in your destination at midnight with no where to stay because…
11. The destination airports are in the middle of nowhere.
Don’t expect to fly to Frankfurt if you book a flight to Frankfurt, to name one of many examples. Frankfurt Hahn airport where Ryanair land is 120 km from the city centre.
12. A bottle of water on board costs £3
I know the moral of this story is to buy a drink from WH Smith before you board, but it’s still annoying.
13. Sweaty, plasticky seats
Whatever you do, don’t wear shorts or you might be stuck to your seat forever and forced to listen to…
14. The in-flight musak
Pray that your flight is not delayed before it takes off or you’ll have to put up with the bleepy, computer-game inspired musak that is played on loop as your board, over, and over.
15. The fanfare
Do we really need the shrill fanfare that sounds when/if the flight lands on time? Or does it just ruin the first three minutes of each passenger’s holiday?
16. You can’t book a seat
As if the British holiday ritual of crowding round the baggage carousel isn’t enough to warrant the use of blood-thinning medication, Ryanair invite you to partake in the extreme sport that is racing across the tarmac to get a seat next to your companion. Flip flops are a distinct disadvantage.
17. No refunds, ever
Unless you have a spare few days to waste do not even bother trying.
18. Poor compensation
A report by the UK’s Air Transport Users Council has found that the world’s airlines lost more than one million bags in 2007 and more than 42 million pieces of luggage were mishandled worldwide.
Guess who it named as the worst airline for compensation if your bag goes missing or is damaged?
19. You are always being flogged stuff
No we don’t want your ridiculously overpriced travel insurance, car hire or Ryanair tea-towels. Go away.
20. Michael O’Leary himself
Don’t tell me you can bear to make him any more smug?
Of course, this kind of thing has little effect on Mr. O’Leary.