Like all budget airlines, Ryanair keeps costs down by charging you for extra services. But no airline piles on the extras like Ryanair. Here's a breakdown of all the extra fees to look out for as well as some comparisons to another budget airline, easyJet.
"Boarding Pass Reprint" Fee
Everyone who flies with Ryanair has to check-in online. That's right: everyone. You. Must. Check. In. Online. Lots of people forget and are forced to pay a 'boarding pass reprint fee'. Oh yeah, did I tell you? Check-in online!
Even if you have printed your boarding card, you may still be fined. Reasons include:
- Print-out is of bad quality
- Page is damaged
- Part of the page is missing. You must print everything, including the advertisement.
Note that Ryanair has started putting an advertisement pop-up over your ticket when you first view it online. You must exit this before you print.
easyJet Equivalent Fee: No equivalent.
How to Avoid This Ryanair Charge: Did I forget to say? Check-in online! And use the Ryanair app to check-in, then there's no need to remember your print-out.
Name Change Fee
Ryanair's highest fee, so worth drawing a lot of attention to. If you misspell your name by one letter, or even if you write 'Rob' when your passport says 'Robert', you'll be charged when you reach the airport.
How to Avoid This Ryanair Charge: Type carefully! If you make a mistake, consider rebooking.
Excess Luggage Fee
All airlines charge for excess luggage, but Ryanair has the lowest baggage allowance in Europe (10 kg, 22 pounds) and the highest excess luggage fee too. They will allow 32 kg (70.5 pounds) bags for an extra fee, and you can take a second small bag for free on the plane. Be sure to check for changes to this policy on their website.
easyJet Equivalent Fee: easyJet has no maximum weight for hand baggage. Their excess weight is per kilo, or per 3kg (7 pounds) when booked online.
How to Avoid This Ryanair Charge: Don't assume that the amount of luggage you normally travel with will be under Ryanair's stingy limit. Weigh your bag before you leave.
Unusual Hand Luggage Dimensions and Extra Fees
Ryanair is almost unique in allowing hand baggage of just 15 inches x 8 inches x 10 inches (40cm x 20cm x 25cm). So if you take your usual hand luggage bag, Ryanair may force you to check it into the hold.
easyJet Equivalent fee: No equivalent. easyJet's baggage dimensions are the industry standard and they have no weight limit for checked luggage.
How to Avoid This Ryanair Charge: Measure your bag before you leave. But be aware that even if your bag does fit the metal frame, they may still charge you.
Checked Luggage Fees
Ryanair charges checked bag fees depending on the flight route; the range is 25 euros to 50 euros per bag, per flight.
easyJet Equivalent Fee: You can pay more for extra weight, but not for extra bags. The standard checked allowance is 23 kg (50 pounds).
How to Avoid This Ryanair Charge: Try to travel hand luggage only.
Priority Boarding Fee
"Would you like to be one of the first passengers to board the aircraft?" Ryanair asks when you book your flight. Unfortunately, Ryanair does not actually always offer this service, even when you've paid for it.
easyJet Equivalent Fee: Varies. But this is one example where easyJet charges a lot more than Ryanair. At least easyJet's priority boarding works.
How to Avoid This Ryanair Charge: Don't select it! When paying for your baggage, make sure you select 'no' when asked if you want the priority boarding service.
Travel Insurance Fee
Ryanair's travel insurance is a lot more expensive than that offered by most insurance companies, while its cover is considerably less comprehensive. Which? A British consumer rights publication and website have a page on suggested minimum travel insurance requirements. Ryanair's insurance falls well short of this.
easyJet Equivalent Fee: Yes, they have their own travel insurance. No, you shouldn't buy it. So it doesn't matter how much it costs, does it?
How to Avoid This Ryanair Charge: Ryanair no longer adds insurance as standard, as it used to. This is a very welcome improvement.
Baggage and Boarding Card Delays
Ryanair's baggage drop desks are known for their long lines. In an extreme case, Ryanair opened just 11 check-in desks for 255 flights. If you don't check in on time, you'll be denied boarding.
If you are a non-EU citizen, you also need your boarding card stamped by the Ryanair Visa/Document Check Desk.
If you are a UK citizen and you don't have a passport, you can't fly with Ryanair, even within the UK.
These aren't legal requirements, just hoops Ryanair requires you to jump through. If you don't, you may be denied boarding.
easyJet Equivalent Fee: A set rate and the difference, but the chances of this happening to you with easyJet is much lower.
How to Avoid This Ryanair Charge: Arrive early.
Expensive In-Flight Food and Drink
easyJet Equivalent Fee: All air food is expensive, but easyJet's costs less than Ryanair, with water at a fair price.
How to Avoid This Ryanair Charge: Liquids bought past passport control can be taken on board (as long as are in your single piece of hand luggage). Food can normally be brought through passport control, but check current restrictions (health scares can periodically prevent you from carrying certain foodstuffs abroad). If in doubt, buy at the airport. Yes, it's expensive, but it's cheaper than Ryanair.