Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about Ryanair, and our answers.
Q. Is Ryanair safe to fly with?
A. Ryanair has one of the best safety records of any European airline. It has not suffered a serious crash since it was founded in 1985. It has had one minor accident. In November 2008, a Ryanair aircraft flying from Hahn in Germany suffered undercarriage damage in an emergency landing at Rome after bird strikes left both engines damaged. Two crew members and eight passengers suffered minor injuries. Recently the airline has been criticised for the large number of emergency landings it has made. In September 2012 it faced an investigation over charges that it put pressure on pilots to fly with reduced fuel in order to reduce costs.
Q. Is Ryanair ABTA protected?
A. No. ABTA is the Association of British Travel Agents. Its scheme protects travellers who have booked through its members. You could buy a package that is ABTA protected, but Ryanair itself is not ABTA protected. The best way to get protection when booking Ryanair flights is to pay by credit card (if the total paid is more than £100). However, this will incur an extra fee from the airline.
Q. Is Ryanair a ticketless airline?
A. Ryanair demands that all its passengers book online and print their own boarding passes at home. Its terms and conditions state that if you fail to print your boarding pass, you will pay a fee of £60 per person (or €60 if flying from a European airport) for staff to print them at the airport for you. You may think this is a shocking and extortionate amount (as we do) but those are the rules.
Q. Is Ryanair Priority Boarding worth it?
A. Priority Boarding allows you to be part of the first group to board the aircraft and choose any seat on board, except for rows 1,2, 16 and 17. It costs £5/€5 per person each way if booked in advance, or £6/€6 per person if booked at the airport. User reviews are mixed, with some saying it’s a waste of money and others praising it. See a sample of reviews here: Is Ryanair Priority Boarding worth it?
Q. What is Ryanair baggage allowance?
A. There is no free checked baggage allowance on Ryanair. If you want to check bags into the hold you will need to pay for this when you make your booking (either 15kg or 20kg), or you can go back into the website (“Manage my Booking”) and pay the extra up to four hours before the scheduled flight departure time. You can’t pool or share baggage allowances, or transfer them from one passenger to another. If you exceed your allowance you’ll pay an addition £20/€20 per kilo.
The costs of checked baggage depends on whether you’re flying in low season or high season. Prices start at £15 / €15 for a 15kg bag in low season (this is each way), rising to £50 / €50 for a second bag in high season on selected flights.
Q. Does Ryanair charge for hand luggage?
The Ryanair cabin baggage allowance is a bit more generous, but the rules are strict, so pay attention! You can carry one bag per passenger into the aircraft cabin weighing up to 10kg with maximum dimensions of 55cm x 40cm x 20cm. Any other items including a handbag, briefcase, laptop and anything you’d bought at the airport shop must be carried in that bag. One way to get around this rule is to wear a jacket or coat with large pockets, which you can use to carry other items. Note that infants don’t have a carry on baggage allowance on Ryanair.
Be warned: if you go over your cabin baggage allowance on Ryanair your bag will be checked into the hold and you’ll an additional fee of £50/€50.
Q. Does Ryanair accept debit cards?
A. Ryanair currently does not accept Solo debit cards. It does accept UK Maestro, Visa Connect, Visa Electron, Mastercard Prepaid Debit and Visa Delta.
Q. Does Ryanair accept American Express?
A. No, but it does accept Visa and Mastercard credit cards.
Q. Does Ryanair fly from Gatwick North or South?
A. All Ryanair flights from Gatwick are from South Terminal.
Q. Does Ryanair have allocated seating?
A. No, though it does offer Priority Boarding (see above).
Q. Does Ryanair have inflight entertainment?
A. No – unless you count scratchcards.
Q. Does Ryanair serve food?
A. Yes, but it tends to be expensive and not great. Take sandwiches or buy something at the airport.
Q. Why is Ryanair so cheap?
A. It’s not – once you’ve paid all the extras you’ll find the fares aren’t nearly as cheap as advertised. Ryanair is a hugely profitable company. It just feels “cheap”. However, one way Ryanair keeps down its costs is by not flying to the main city airports. I once flew to Sweden with Ryanair and landed in a bleak airfield in the middle of nowhere. I then had to buy a ticket on a coach which took 90 minutes to reach the centre of Stockholm.
Q. Is Ryanair a scheduled airline?
A. Yes, because it’s not a charter airline. It’s known as a no-frills or low-cost airline, but it’s still a scheduled airline.
Q. Is Ryanair better than Easyjet?
A. That’s a matter of personal opinion, but most travellers seem to prefer the overall experience of Easyjet.
Q. Does Ryanair charge to use the toilet?
A. No, though the airline (perhaps jokingly) said it was considering a charge.
Q. Does Ryanair have inflight movies.
A. No. As if.
Q. Is the Ryanair website down?
A. It might have been when you wrote that question, but it’s probably up now.