Ryanair 101 – Always. Read. The. Small. Print.
Editor’s Note: Ryanair is every travel newbie’s nightmare. They hook you with the low cost airfare, and then steal your every penny that you were saving for your trip. This author learned the do’s and don’ts of flying Ryanair the hard way so you don’t have to.
SPRING BREAK. PUENTE. HOLIDAY. FIESTA. Whatever it is, you have a long weekend ahead of you and you want to get away. So you hit the Ryanair app on your phone which you’ve never used before and BOOM. The holy f*cking grail of flight deals. Madrid to Budapest for – hold on – did you read that right? Yes, you damn well did. 9 freakin’ euros?! From Madrid to Budapest. Yeah, you might have an 8-hour layover in Geneva where the airport’s shops close at 9pm and you can’t even get a water bottle from a vending machine if you don’t have a Swiss Franc on your person (currency desk is a no-go) and you’ll definitely have to sleep on the concrete floor or maybe even a cargo cart if you’re lucky but, come on, there’s no way you’re skipping out on that $10 FLIGHT. So you book it, text the squad….”BUDAPEST FOR 9 EURO B*TCHESSS LEGGOOOO,” you pack up a carry-on or even your backpack cuz you’re a nomad, a trusty traveler, a spontaneous millennial with no care in the world. Suitcases are for rookies.
Four days later, you’re on public transportation heading to the airport ‘cuz you also don’t have a single penny to spare on cabs to get you there. Here’s where the little carry-on comes in handy. You get to the airport, you’ve already checked-in online, so you head to security. Before getting in line, a little old man stops you and asks for your boarding pass. And so it begins. You’re lifelong love-hate relationships with good old Ryanair. No, you didn’t bring a boarding pass because you thought you could use your phone. Sorry bro, but looks like you’re about to pay $40 euro for the airline to print you out a new boarding pass (circa 2012, sorry for all y’all study abroad kids who cried over their inhumane fees back then. Note: please check Ryanair site for updated fees).
So you did it. You begrudgingly coughed up the cash or charged it to your international credit card with little to no transaction fees, and you swim through security with out a problem. Until you get to the gate where it looks like passengers and their mother is lined up at the gate door and halfway down the terminal just to board the plane. Yup, first come-first serve, suckas. This isn’t American Airlines or United or Luftansa. There are no zones. So get in line and get comfy because it’s gonna be a while.
You’re in line and the gate agent walks up to you and scans you from head to toe. That backpack you’re carrying? Probably too big. And that rolling carry-on? You’re definitely screwed. They make you squeeze it into the carry-on sizer, which is usually the size of your average Nike shoebox, and then, in front of the whole line of passengers, they break your heart. Your carry-on was just four wheels too big. That’ll be an extra 60 euro in overweight fees, please.
It’s 11:30pm, the flight has already been delayed twice, and you’ve waited outside on the tarmac for a solid 27 minutes before being allowed on the plane. You get on that ugly yellow plane, find your little blue seat with no option to recline, and close your eyes to hopefully get some rest. But wait, Ryanair has SOOO many good deals to offer you on the flight and to ensure that you don’t miss any of these exciting deals, they will be announced over the speaker at max volume for the entire duration of the flight. Oh, and the cabin lights? They don’t turn off. So go ahead, sit back, but don’t lay down, and definitely don’t sleep, and enjoy your “9-euro” flight.
TIPS FOR FLYING RYAN AIR AND OTHER LOW-COST AIRLINES
1. Always check-in online and print your boarding pass online, even if you have the option to use your phone – WiFi is spotty at most airports so don’t trust that you’ll be able to pull up the site at the airport.
2. When it comes to carry-ons; the smaller, the better. Suitcases will be checked for an extra large fee with which you probably could have bought three other flights.
3. Always check the SMALL PRINT. What low budget airlines don’t charge your in airfare, they make up for in fees for absolutely everything.
4. Water is not free on these flights (nor is food), so bring an empty water bottle with you through security and fill up before boarding.
5. Don’t expect to rest on the flight. Ryanair flights are every Bachelor and Bachelorette’s pregame for one hell of a party weekend.