This is the second in a 2 part series on how to secure the best deals in flying and what this means.
The next issue is close to my heart. I have long known about ripoff Ryanair. However I got caught out. Budget airlines are a leading force in the airline industry and are attractive to backpacks due to their apparent low cost. Yet more people are realising that the hidden extras are actually often making them more expensive than premium providers if you get caught buying a ticket last minute, which these airlines are not made for. Once the ticket price has risen as the plane gets booked up and you add the baggage, seating allocation plus food you are looking at a price that is far from budget.
Yet the kicker is the ticket printing.
IN ORDER TO TRAVEL YOU ARE REQUIRED TO CHECK-IN ONLINE AND PRESENT AT THE AIRPORT YOUR ONLINE BOARDING PASS AND VALID ACCEPTED TRAVEL DOCUMENT, PASSENGERS WHO DO NOT PRESENT A BOARDING PASS AT THE AIRPORT WILL BE CHARGED A RE-ISSUE FEE OF EUR60/GBP60 excluding VAT (each boarding pass must be printed and presented on an individual A4 page).
I was traveling to Pisa from Bournemouth, UK and had everything covered. It was a special occasion so I paid £6 each way to choose a seat (£24 total) and I also paid £10 each way for “speedy boarding” (£20 total). This is contrary to my beliefs as speedy boarding is unnecessary if you already have a seat booked. The benefit of speedy boarding is that you get on the plane first and can nab a decent seat.
However I was going to propose to my partner and already felt bad for taking her on a budget airline!… but that is a secret shhhhhh.
I sorted out the tickets and printed them on a sheet of A4 for each leg, but failed to print each on their own piece of A4. I managed to get to Spain ok, but on the way back the ticket was not accepted and so I was charged an outrageous EU120 for both tickets to be printed. I was on the war path, but realised quickly that this has happened to Ryanair before and they have themselves well covered. Yet, what they don’t tell you is that they referred me to an airport ticketing desk, which charged me EU20 for their printing service! Taking the total to EU140 to print 2 tickets, which was almost equivalent to the initial ticket cost and took the price over what it would have been for a British Airways flight that includes an inflight meal and staff who are actually nice to you and offer customer service as opposed to people with a cattle shed herding mentality.
Passengers can check-in online from 15 days up to 4 hours before each scheduled flight departure time.
Make sure that you check in within the window, as otherwise you cannot print your ticket, so don’t leave it to the last minute! When you are booking you also need to ensure that you carefully uncheck any service (e.g. travel insurance) that you don’t need on the booking form and only purchase the services you actually need.
Recently Martin O’Leary was on BBC News to talk about the scandalous fees that are incurred to passengers and included a lady who was desperately ill. Her son tried to visit her before she died but couldn’t travel due to a ticket fine that he could not afford. Despite pleading Ryanair staff stood firm and denied boarding. This is the culture of a budget airline.
In defense of this massive industry however and what was rightly pointed out by Mr O’Leary was that the airlines are trying to provide a ticket that is as cheap as possible. He even stated that he wanted flights to be free and for people to only pay for what they use and he considered that the fairest way to pay for air travel.
After all if I travel light and don’t need anything, why should I pay extra for others who do need these services?
So budget airlines as Mr O’Leary said was made for short trips and economy business travellers and not families to go away on holiday so much.
These are the tips to save you money and get the best deal he gave are:
> Only pack a small amount of clothes in hand luggage and ensure you get a bag that uses all the allocated space
> Ensure you book early
> Make sure that tickets are printed correctly and organised well in advance
> Bring your own food on board and buy a drink after security control to ensure it is not taken away from you.
> Sort out your own insurance