Ryanair, Cowboys, Con Artists, or just Clever?

So holiday season is upon us, and I can quite happily say I am much happier than I was this time last year with my holiday outcomes, I have had my customary trip to Spain and have a trip to the Philippines later in the year. I digress, my real post is about Ryanair, and the much discussed ethics they have.

When going on holiday the past 4-5 years it is less about going to a travel-agent and booking a package for you and your friends/family/partner it is a case of getting a budget and sticking to it (in most cases) and as such came the rise of last minute hotel websites, and budget airlines. When budget airlines started they were great, you would get a price advertised, and it would differ only from airport taxes (about ~£10). A couple of years after that Ryanair started a campaign saying flights for only £0.99 (wow!) however they then continued to add on airpot taxes/fuel etc. Early 2008 the regulatory body then said this was unfair advertising to the consumer, and as such the prices shown had to be the prices inclusive of taxes and fuel.


Clever Ryanair then came up with a new way to hike the prices! When you go through you are greeted to an attrace price in the range of 29.99 per ticket return to somewhere in Europe. The problem is now that when you go through, this price covers no luggage, no check-in fees (although you print the ticket and check-in automatically) and charge you £20 to pay by card. It soon racks up an extra £60-80 per person.


Here come the ethical issues I have with what Ryanair does, and I have witnessed this. They will charge you £25 per kilo over your allocated weight and if you are 15.1 (on a 15kilo limit) that is rounded UP! Everytime I see furious passengers rooting around swapping luggage from bag to bag, is this Ryanair just being ruthless to get the money back they don't make on the tickets as on average I see about 5-10 people get stung for baggage issues both ways each time. Are Ryanair being clever about their sales albeit completely unethical and the customers being naive to expect leanience on the cheap & cheerful option, or is it bad customer relations to expect their customers to spend hours trawling through smallprint and measuring to a 10th of a kilogram on their luggage?


The next issue again falls on their baggage ethics, not their hold luggage but hand luggage. I can understand if your suitcase won't fit in the allocated compartment, tough, you should've planned properly. What Ryanair have introduced is (unlike all other airlines) you are only allowed to board the plane with 1 handluggage, this is not just your mini suitcase, but handbags, bumbags (fannybags for you Americans), shopping bags from dutyfree, and even a bottle of water! All other budget airlines will let you take (within reason) some shopping and a handbag alongside your luggage, isn't that what the space is under your seat for? Ryanair doesn't think so, leaving you with the choice of placing it in the hold at the price of £35 (per bag extra) or leave it behind to be destroyed by the airport.


Now, I know this issue is part and parcel of flights but they charge ridiculous amounts for their food and drinks. Should you feel ill during the flight they won't even supply you with a cup of tap water. Expect to pay around £3 for a small bottle of water.


So is Ryanair clever for hiding their charges behind tightropes, smoke and mirrors. Are they cowboys for offering something with an alterior motive of charging much more. Or is it just good business, and the customers are idiots for expecting more from a cheap and cheerful alternative to Virgin and BA. You wouldn't compare Lidl own brands baked beans to those made by heinz, would you?


In respect to the gripes here is a quick prep list for those considering flying with Ryanair:


  1. Get a prepay mastercard (they're free and ryanair don't charge to pay with it)
  2. Make sure you weigh your hold luggage at, at most 14,8kg to avoid fines and/or hassle at checkin
  3. Ensure you print off your boarding pass (for both journeys) or risk £20 per ticket, per flight.
  4. If you're hungry/thirsty buy in the airport it WILL be cheaper than the flight
  5. If you plan on buying duty free make sure you have space in your hand luggage for it (and any handbags)


If you follow these simple rules, you will dodge fines placed by ryanair, and even save a bit of money on your initial spending. Sorry Ryanair, but yes, this post is very much a middle finger to your plans to screw most of your customers dry!


Good luck bargain flyers! Ryanair, you know what I think of you!

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