Budget airline?

How To Fly With Ryanair Without the Extra Cost

Ryanair is famed for offering incredibly cheap flight fares, sometimes as little as £1. But beware of being caught out by their hidden additional costs.

These days finding a cheap deal on flights is easier than it used to be, with airlines like Ryanair offering such low prices to get from A to B. However, what looks like a £1 flight can often inflate to £100 when you factor in extra charges and fees.

We take you through these charges so that you can see for yourself how much your bargain Ryanair flight is really going to cost you.

Booking your flight

Unless you pay by Visa Electron to book your flight, you will be charged £5 per person, per one-way flight, when you pay by debit or credit card.

‘Priority boarding’ will cost £3 per flight. You must specifically de-select this when booking to avoid paying the fee if you don’t want it added to your flight cost.

Make sure that you enter your name correctly when you book your flight. If the name printed on your booking doesn’t correspond exactly with the one on your passport, you will be charged £150 to have it amended.


From May 1st 2009 you will be required to check-in online when you fly with Ryanair, rather than at the airport. You will have to print your own boarding card and bring it with you. From October 1st, 2009, check-in desks for Ryanair flights will no longer exist at any airports to reflect this change.

Online check-in can be completed up to 15 days before your flights, and must be done at least 4 hours before flight departure.

After May 1st and before October 1st, 2009, if you opt to check-in at the airport while the desks are still in place you will be charged £20 per person, per one-way flight.

After May 1st, 2009, if you fail to check-in online or opt to do so at the airport you will be charged £40 per person, per one-way flight.

If you fail to check-in baggage until you get to the airport, you will be charged £40 per return flight.

Therefore you should make sure to check-in online for your Ryanair flight to avoid incurring extra costs – however, remember that online check-in is still subject to a fee of £5.

Luggage charges

Even if you check-in your luggage correctly, you’ll be charged £10 for the first suitcase to be put in the hold, and £20 for each one thereafter.

It will cost you £60 if you wish to bring sporting equipment with you.

Hand-luggage is restricted to one carry-on bag. If you exceed this, you run the risk of incurring a £30 fine at the departure gate.

If you exceed the 15kg limit on luggage, your excess baggage will cost £15 per for each additional kilogram.

Therefore, when flying with Ryanair, it’s vital that you take all these extra costs into account. If you are careful to read the small print in the relevant sections of Ryanair’s website, you should be able to avoid having to pay the majority of these unnecessary fees.

Ryanair has also suggested that they may soon introduce a host of new controversial charges, such as a £1 charge for using in-flight toilets and extra charges for overweight people. Always check the terms and conditions of your flight before your book to make sure you are happy with what you will be paying.

I have only flown with Ryanair three times. My first experience was my worst one - about 15 years ago - flying from Dublin to London. They lost my luggage which meant I missed my bus journey home and had to sleep overnight in the airport.

It was another 11 years later before I took another Ryanair flight, this time from Murcia to Glasgow. The flight was relatively cheap and it all went smoothly. The only trouble was, as with most Ryanair flights, that the flight arrived at a late hour. It was on time but arrived at midnight. So I had to sleep another night in an airport before catching a bus home the next morning.

My best experience was a couple of years ago when I spent a weekend in Porto. I managed to avoid the charges for check-in luggage as I could fit what I need into my hand luggage. It was annoying to have to come back at one in the afternoon but there is only one flight per day.

The problem with Ryanair is all the hidden charges. You think that you have found a bargain flight until you have added up everything. You waste such a lot of time.

What is your experience with flying with budget airlines? Do you notice much difference between them and national carriers?

I have sworn never to fly with British Airways again and I encourage everyone else to follow my example. Why? It was such a traumatic experience and such a long story that I will leave telling it until a later date.

Did you take a flight this summer? Was it problem free?

What aspects of flying annoy you the most? Don't tell me it is a pleasureable experience!

Do you have any tips to ensure a better flying experience that you want to pass on?