Monthly Archives: May 2009

Twenty reasons never to fly Ryanair

Here are 20 things to remember next time you are led into temptation by those 1p flights Ryanair offer. Taken from timesonline.co.uk.

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.

Ryanair recently announced that 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?

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Ryanair to charge for checking in online

Ryanair is to start charging customers to check in online. The no-frills airline said that check-in for all its flights booked after May 20 would be by website only and that passengers must pay £5 to do so.

Passengers without a printer must find access to one or pay a £40 charge for arriving at the airport without a boarding pass.

The charges come as the carrier scraps airport check-in desks and moves to 100 per cent web check-in.

“It’s no different from turning up at the airport without your passport,” a spokesman said. “We just want to encourage passengers to travel with the right documents.”

The airline is also pushing ahead with measures to deter passengers from travelling with checked luggage by making it prohibitively expensive. Under the current rules, a passenger travelling with three bags now pays up to £120 in baggage charges on a return flight.

The first checked bag costs £10 per bag/per each-way flight if booked in advance (£20/€20 per bag/per each-way flight if you pay at the airport or book via a call centre). Previously the charge was £5 per bag, raised to £10 per bag earlier this year. After that, a second bag costs £20/€20 per bag/per flight and the cost is the same for a third bag, Ryanair also said that it would not accept bookings for unaccompanied minors from May 20.

Separately, Ryanair claims to have reformed its online booking sites following demands from the European Commission to make booking tickets online cheaper and less confusing.

European Commission officials are expected to announce today that more than 50 airlines have improved, or will shortly improve, their websites after the Commission threatened to name them.

The reforms are designed to stamp out fares being displayed so that taxes and additional changes were only added to the bill at the end of the booking process. There have also been concerns over the use of pre-ticked boxes, which can fool customers into taking extras such as insurance.

The EU investigation of airline ticket selling practices was kicked off in September 2007, when research showed that one in three people buying flights online were being misled.

Ryanair said it had changed its website at the start of last month. Easyjet said it will begin reforming its site this summer.

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Ryanair ‘fat tax’ formally ruled out

Another publicity stunt or weighty logistical problem?

Probably a bit of both as Ryanair officially rules out plans to charge obese passengers.

The airline said it would not implement a ‘fat tax’ as there is “no way” to collect it without disrupting its 25 minute turnarounds and online check-in process.

The possibility of introducing such a tax followed a poll in which passengers voted on how it could be introduced.

The poll results showed:

46% – Charge per kg over 130kg/20 st (male) and 100kg/15 st (females);

37% – Charge for a second seat if passengers’ waist touches both armrests;

11% – Charge for every point in excess of 40 points on the Body Mass Index

6% – Charge for every waist inch over 45 inch (male) and 40 inch (female);

Ryanair’s Stephen McNamara said: “Over 30,000 Ryanair passengers called for a ‘fat tax’ for very large passengers.

“However, as all passengers will soon be checking in online we have no way of collecting a ‘fat tax’ without disrupting punctuality and our 25 minute turnarounds.”

But while he may have parked his plans for a fat tax, Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary now wants passengers to carry their own bags to the plane.

O’Leary said that he wanted to cut baggage handling by airline staff to a minimum, and was talking to airports about letting passengers take their own large bags – which are currently handed over at check-in – through the airport to the gate, where they would go straight into the aircraft hold.

“You do it on trains and buses, why not on planes?” he said. “It will cut out baggage complaints, because you will be the one responsible for your bags.”

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