Sunday, 7 March 2010

Ryanair - fight or flight?

Flying Ryanair is a necessary evil as due to the price and the fact that they seem to fly into the right place I have to use them regularly. In fact, I book so many flights every year that I now look on it as a game – and it is very important that I win!

The setting for the ‘contest’ is the bookings website but this is highly dangerous as this is Ryanair’s ‘Home Ground’ which gives them a huge advantage as it is easy to get led astray by the tempting adverts of ‘Flights Just £9 – book until midnight on Monday’. These flights are extremely well hidden as (unlike other more helpful budget airlines) you can’t look up a month’s worth of flights in one go, and if you manage to find one of them they are more likely to cost £50 by the time you have pressed all the buttons and discovered all the costs for ‘optional charges’ and taxes. To give yourself an added advantage, start by clicking on and you can actually choose the highest price you are willing to pay for a ticket. Not wanting to be greedy I type in 19 euros as a fair figure which then gives me a good starting point to enter the site and battle then commences.

Armed with my knowledge I go back to the Ryanair website and select my flight – Girona to East Midlands, 14 euros (including tax) + 5 euros online check in (expected & unavoidable). On to the next page and they attempt a swift uppercut by assuming I want to check in a 15 kilo bag for £15. I swiftly dodge this by clicking on Hand Luggage only. They fight back by suggesting I might want to be one of the first passengers to board the plane for an extra £4 which I laughingly ignore as I hold the world record for the Boarding gate sprint. Shocked by my hidden strength they parry back by offering insurance which I swiftly dodge by scrolling down to the ‘no thanks I don’t need insurance’ which is spectacularly well hidden among a list of countries. We have made it down to the information section and all the totals are reading 0 extra! By this time I am feeling very smug, particularly when they seem to remember my name and fill in all the details of my address for me. Unfortunately they do not remember that I never pay for extras and offer me a text message reminder of my booking for 1 euro. Again, thanks but no thanks. All I have to do now is to ignore the button offering to add me to their mailing list (which I have already subscribed to as it is free!) and click the continue button. They have one last desperate attempt to sell me insurance but I manage to ignore it and get through to the payment page – also known as ‘round 2’. This is the shortest round of all as I deliver my killer blow – by using a ‘Prepaid Mastercard’ to pay for the flights thus avoiding their ridiculous ‘administration fees’. Ryanair are on the ropes and I am declared the winner!

Just as a quick footnote to this blog, I have to say that Ryanair thoroughly shocked me recently. I know better than to order food (not so much because of the inflated prices but because it is completely unpalatable) but I have occasionally been known to buy a drink. Even though it cost more than the flight, I treated myself to a Gin & Tonic. The steward plonked down the plastic cup, a tin of tonic water and two hand-wipes. I was just about to complain when I realised that the hand-wipes were in fact sachets containing Gin! As you are not allowed to bring on board anything sharper than a banana, by the time I managed to open them there was more gin on the tray and the passenger in front of me than in my glass. Ryanair, I salute you!


  1. perhaps you should offer your flight booking service to us mere mortals who are not quite as good at dodging the lefts and rights that Ryannair have to offer.
    On a serious front, is there anywhere where this advice has been documented in a How somewhere

  2. It would be great if there was a 'how to' guide but no, I had to learn through bitter experiences. And I'm ashamed to say I heard about the flightchecker site through GMTV....

  3. I will certainly be checking out the website to book chea fights in future...dont know about watching GMTV though