What it's like flying within Europe with one of the world's most notorious budget airlines.
Without much flexibility on travel dates, I needed a flight from Glasgow, Scotland to Dublin Ireland and unsurprisingly, Ryanair's fares and flight times were the most convenient.
I had flown the ultra-budget carrier years ago while backpacking in Europe, but how would I find the Irish airline to stand up years later when my budget wasn't quite so tight?
Ryanair flight details
Flight Number: FR5771
Aircraft Type: Boeing 737
Dates Travelled: 13 October
Frequent Flyer Program: None
Points earned: None
Alex's Ryanair Rating
- Plenty of legroom
- Affordable flight including baggage fees
- Convenient airports
- Disorganised boarding process
- Check-in process
What did I like?
- Surprisingly, legroom: I was expecting to be squeezed into the seats on this flight, though I actually found the Ryanair plane to be much roomier than my journey the following week with Etihad from Abu Dhabi to Sydney.
- Price: Known for its cheap airfares, Ryanair's pricing is excellent, as long as you know what you're doing. The airline is known for finding ways to suck extra cash from your bank account (like if you don't check in and print a boarding pass in advance), but if you do a bit of research you can bag a bargain. I left my booking to the last minute and still got the flight on a day I wasn't flexible with changing, checked baggage, priority boarding and selected a seat for about AU$80.
- Convenient airports: Ryanair often flies to lesser-travelled airports (think Avalon compared to Tullamarine) in Europe as these airports are much cheaper for the company to fly in and out of. However, my flights departed and arrived at the main airports in Glasgow and Dublin.
What didn't I like?
- Boarding process: While this could be saying more for the passengers than the airline, the boarding system seemed pretty unorganised. Once the boarding passes were checked, passengers were ushered into a small stairwell and told to squish together until the plane arrived at the gate and passengers on the previous flight deplaned. The doors were open at the bottom of the stairwell, so I'd imagine those who were first in line were quite cold and wet.
- Check-in: While entry to all gates seemed to leave from the same place in Terminal 1, Ryanair flights are checked into at Terminal 2, which is a very basic building off to the side of the main airport. If you're dropped off by the airport bus, you'd walk into Terminal 1, then need to go to Terminal 2 to check in, then head back to Terminal 1 to get to your gate. As well, the conveyor belt to drop your bags off at the Ryanair desks wasn't working and passengers were asked to take their bags elsewhere rather than staff moving them.
Would I use Ryanair again?
Yes. As long as you know what you're in for, Ryanair flights are an incredibly cheap and convenient way to travel
Bonus tip: Always double, triple and quadruple check what you're booking and what you need to check in with Ryanair.
The airline can be a real bargain if you're careful, but something as simple as not checking in online can cop you a €55/£55 fee, which is more than I paid for the whole flight, including baggage and seats.