Have you ever flown with Ryanair? This popular low-cost carrier has been helping travelers get around Europe for years now. To be honest, we have avoided booking cheap flights with Ryanair Airlines in the past after hearing countless horror stories. Yet, after using them multiple times, it’s easy to see that there is benefits as well! Here’s everything from our own experiences and the best tips to know in our Ryanair review.
Our Honest Ryanair Review
Instead of our typical airline article style, we’re going to tell you what to know before booking with Ryanair Airlines. We’ve honestly flown with them so many times now it would be tough to pin down one particular experience. Hopefully, this RyanAir review will help you decide if they’re the right option for you!
Also, if you’re interested in learning exactly how we find our cheap flights make sure to check out our Skyscanner blog below. This is where you’ll find all the tips and tricks we have used to find crazy deals all over the world.
What is Ryanair?
So here’s the part almost everyone already knows… Ryanair is a budget airline! In fact, it may be the most well-known of its kind in the travel industry.
For this reason, Ryanair flights may be the first thing that pops up when searching in Europe. Whenever we start searching for cheap flights on Skyscanner (this is how we get the best deals) almost all the cheapest flights are with Ryanair.
Literally, they have flights for just $15 from London to Paris and that isn’t even the most inexpensive we’ve seen! Just know that you need to manage your expectations. What we mean by this is you obviously can’t expect a first-class experience when booking cheap tickets with Ryanair.
There is an old saying that “you get what you pay for” and that couldn’t be more true when flying with budget airlines in general. Still, you’ll see after reading this Ryanair review, that it doesn’t necessarily guarantee you’ll have a bad flight either.
Where Does Ryanair Airlines Fly?
Ryanair is the LARGEST airline in all of Europe. Yes, you heard that right! The company is based out of Dublin Ireland, but has a vast network of over 200 destinations in 34 different countries.
Ryanair flies everywhere from the canals of Venice to the stunning Greek Islands, and beyond! While the majority of their flights operate in Europe, there are several routes that go to North Africa and the Middle East as well.
The low cost and availability make it an appealing option to book quick jumper flights from place to place on your vacation. If you can believe it, we’ve found Ryanair flights for as cheap as $11 USD. Wild right? Nevertheless, there are a few more things to know in this Ryanair review before you decide to book.
Ryanair Review Baggage Fees & Extras
Okay, now for the not-so-fun, but important part of Ryanair Airlines. Those annoying baggage fees can get you every time! On so many occasions we’ve thought we found an astonishingly cheap Ryanair flight… Only to get to the next screen and see it was double the cost.
The extra fees after the base fares can pile up quickly, especially if you have a ton of bags with you. Unfortunately, there is no workaround for this unless you’re traveling super light with one small personal item.
We do recommend taking a look at the different fares directly on the Ryanair website to find which one will save you the most money. For us, it’s been better to book the basic package and add whatever bags we need afterward to avoid extra charges.
Also, adding any baggage or extras is typically always the cheapest when you first make the reservation. Don’t be surprised if the price jumps up when you try to add baggage on later.
Now we should point out that this is very similar to how any low-cost airline operates. Just be prepared to pay a little bit more for your bags on Ryanair flights. Below you’ll find the fare options to scan through and figure out what’s right for you.
Basic: One small bag that must go under the seat in front of you.
Regular: Small under seat bag, reserved seats, priority boarding, and 10kg cabin bag.
Plus: Under seat bag, reserved seating, 20kg checked bag, and free check-in at the airport.
Flexi Plus: Under seat bag, reserved seats, 10kg cabin bag, free airport check-in, and no change fee for cancellations.
Short Ryanair Flights vs Long
Another point to consider before booking with Ryanair is the length of your trip. Personally, we think it can be a really solid option for a short flight. I mean, if your flight is under two hours it’s much easier to tough it out on a budget airline than if you’re on a five to six-hour journey.
When traveling long distances it may be worth it to pay a little bit more for a different airline. If it’s your one vacation of the year we can absolutely understand avoiding Ryanair Airlines. It all comes down to what kind of experience you’re looking for, and your own preferences for flying.
Fortunately, most flights around Europe will not take you long to get to your final destination. The longest Ryanair flight we’ve ever been on wasn’t more than 3 hours.
Ryanair Airlines App
The best thing to do after completing the booking process is to get the official Ryanair app. From here it’s easy to check-in, make any changes, and upload important documents. You can also download a mobile boarding pass to save yourself some time and additional fees once you get to the airport.
Speaking of check-in, don’t screw that part up before you take off! By missing simple steps like this or forgetting to add on your check-in bag, you may encounter additional travel expenses before you even get going. That’s not the way to start your holiday around Europe is it??
Bring Your Own Snacks & Drinks
It should come as no shock that a budget company like Ryanair Airlines doesn’t provide any extras on your flight. That means no free beverages and if you’re hungry you’ll need to purchase the uninspiring plane food. Don’t worry though! You can easily bring your own food onboard.
Why not make a sandwich with delicious European deli meats before you get to the airport? Another one of our favorite moves is to bring an empty water bottle through security. Then you can simply fill up at a water fountain before you jump on your Ryanair flight.
Another strategy that saves us money on food and drinks is the Priority Pass through our Chase credit card. This benefit gives us access to hundreds of airport lounges around the world.
Typically, we will arrive early for our flights to hit the club and relax before boarding. This definitely softens the blow of flying on a budget airline and ensures we don’t have additional costs for food en route.
Is Ryanair the Cheapest Airline?
Our last Ryanair flights tip is not to always assume it’s the least expensive option. As we mentioned, we always use the website Skyscanner when looking for flights around Europe. This way you can search for cheap fares for all dates and carriers to choose the best one.
You might presume Ryanair tickets are the cheapest because it’s the most popular low-cost European airline. However, you should know that there are plenty of other companies are offering similar rates. Once you factor in your carry-on bags, seat selection, and taxes you may find a better option.
So You Booked a Ryanair Flight… But Aren’t Flying With Them?
Huh?? One of the ways Ryanair is able to offer such a range of flights and destinations is by using the fleets of other airlines to fill the demand. When you book your next flight with Ryanair check if it says “operated by XXX” and a completely different airline.
You might just expect you’d be flying with one of their partners, but it’s slightly different. For example, instead of booking a flight with Swiss Air (and it’s operated by Lufthansa) everything about Ryanair’s flights will say their brand until you get on the plane.
This has happened to us twice in the past. One time we booked a flight with Ryanair only to end up flying on Malta Air. The other experience we had was with Lauda Air which is actually owned by Ryanair.
Everything from when we checked in at the airport to the flight monitors said Ryanair. It wasn’t until we were finally boarding the plane that clearly said a different airlines name!
There were even a handful of people on both flights who double checked with the cabin crew that they were on the right route. Specifically, when flying on Malta Air there was so much confusion that the pilot had to make an announcement explaining it.
Why Are Ryanair Reviews So Bad?
We’ve read this everywhere and heard the same thing time and time again. To be honest, exploring Europe on Ryanair flights is quite similar to using companies like AirAsia to travel in that region of the world.
Ryanair Airlines has gotten a bad reputation over the years. Yet, in our experience that is typically because someone didn’t follow their strict policies correctly. Maybe the passenger didn’t check-in online before getting to their airport, or their hand luggage is way oversized and they get hit with a massive fee.
Sure you might come across some less than pleasant staff… But when the plane ticket costs less than a cocktail in New York City what can you really expect?
Is it the worst airline we’ve ever flown? Definitely not. However, it’s also not one that we are going to go out of our way to fly on. Ryanair gets countless bookings by having some of the lowest fares in the industry. At the end of the day, this is the reason why we’ve continued to travel with them.
Ryanair Review Final Thoughts
This may come as a surprise, but we’ve always had a good experiences on Ryanair flights. Maybe it’s due to the fact that we’ve flown on SO MANY different budget flights over the years and have learned to temper our expectations.
Still, we have to say it definitely beats companies like Spirit Airlines in the United States that use the same low-cost model. By no means are we saying in our Ryanair review that it’s the best airline out there.
In fact, if we see a competitor with the same ticket price we may even consider booking with them instead. Nonetheless, the customer service is fine, the flight attendants have been nice enough, and the Ryanair pilots have always got us from point A to B.
We hope this Ryanair review has helped you understand what to expect. At the very least you now know what you’re getting yourself into! Have any questions about this article or want to share your own Ryanair review? Leave us a comment below.
Brigitte & Jake
PIN FOR LATER ↓
Plan Your Next Adventure
Flights: We always find our cheap flight deals using Skyscanner. That’s how we flew from Norway to Poland for under $20 USD, and Thailand to Vietnam for less than $50!
Trains: When traveling through Europe make sure to check Omio for the best train and bus routes.
Rental Car: We use Discover Cars to explore when traveling. We recommend searching for a weekly rate rather than just booking for 2-3 days.
Tours: Check out Get Your Guide to find thousands of activities around the world. From street food tours to skip the line entry passes, they have it all!
Travel Insurance: Never travel abroad without protection. We’ve been using SafetyWing for the last few years on the road and they are there when we need them.