Ryanair Vs. Easyjet: Which Airline Is Better?

  • 01 of 05

    Ryanair has a new website: so how does it match up to easyJet's?

    Ryanair and easyJet
    ••• Ryanair and easyJet. Christopher Doyle/Creative Commons

    Ryanair has just launched a new website. For a while now, Ryanair has tried to be a friendlier airline (after the company tried to change its image, CEO Michael O'Leary famously said "If I’d only known that being nice to customers was going to be so good for my business I would have done it years ago"). This new website, which tries to remove a lot of the problems people used to have with the company, is a step in the right direction. But is it enough?

    I decided it was time again to compare the two airlines and see which comes out on top today.

    What are the Important Factors in Choosing Your Airline?

    Ultimately, the most important factor is the price. And the easiest way to compare easyJet and Ryanair is a price comparison site like Hipmunk or Skyscanner.

    But the other factors discussed in this article shouldn't be overlooked. Penalty fares are an...MORE increasing way in which airlines make money. You might think it won't happen to you, but it is the most frequent travelers who are caught out the most as airlines like to have unusual policies that sting those familiar with different carriers' rules, especially when it comes to baggage. 

    And I cannot stress enough how important a well-designed site is. There is no point in an airline having the cheapest flights when they hide them from their customers. 

    Ryanair and easyJet Fees Compared

    Despite Ryanair's attempts to win back passengers previously stung by their cheeky penalties, it seems the airline still hasn't learned. Ryanair still has far worse fees than easyJet.

    New-Look Websites Make Booking Flights Easier - But How Much Easier?

    Can you believe it is now easyJet that tries harder to entice you with extras? Ryanair doesn't even automatically include travel insurance anymore, a policy they held on to for years despite intense criticism.

    But, despite a big revamp, Ryanair still falls behind easyJet on ease of use. It is far simpler to find the best flight on easyJet's site than Ryanair's. For this reason, Ryanair's site revamp falls flat.

    Ryanair and easyJet Baggage Policies Compared 

    Now here is an area where Ryanair has come a long way in recent years, though they still have an unfair policy that harms passengers. easyJet, on the other hand, has taken an unfortunate step back over the past year.

    But Which Airline is Cheaper?

    The most important factor is the hardest to test, as airlines have different deals on different routes making a direct comparison impossible. You might be surprised how close to the airlines came.

    Continue to 2 of 5 below.
  • 02 of 05

    Ryanair v easyJet: Fees Compared

    Ryanair and easyJet
    ••• Ryanair and easyJet. calflier001/Creative Commons

    Airlines need to make a certain amount of money per seat to break even: but that doesn't mean they'll charge you everything up front.

    Such penalties are devious. There are no two ways about it. It costs each airline the same amount to check you in or fix a typo on your boarding card, so when you see one airline charge silly amounts for such things, you have to question the overall ethos of the company.

    As you can see below, Ryanair is still the worse of the two companies for such matters, despite its new 'caring' imagine. I would welcome a Ryanair spokesperson to explain to me how they can justify these penalty charges.

    Airport Check-In Fees Compared

    It makes sense to check-in online, particularly if you have no luggage to check, as it means you can straight through security (unless you are a non-EU citizen traveling with Ryanair - see below).

    But sometimes you can't, or you forget.

    EasyJet fee: none.

    Ryanair's Non-EU Travel Document Check

    Not a fee as such, but a relic...MORE of Ryanair's former ways is that they are still the only airline to require non-EU citizens to go to a desk before they pass airport security to check they have the right documents to travel. If you fail to do this, you will be denied boarding. Why would they want to deny you boarding? I'll leave you to ponder that one.

    easyJet does not do this.

    Name Change Fees from Ryanair and easyJet 

    A common obstacle encountered by Ryanair passengers in the past was being forced to pay a 'name change fee' to correct a typo or incorrect use of a married name when a passenger's passport showed her maiden name. Anecdotal evidence suggests that these fees can be avoided if you phone their call center (and get a friendly person on the line), plus one would expect Ryanair's new 'friendly' style might mean they are more forgiving than they used to be.

    Continue to 3 of 5 below.
  • 03 of 05

    Ryanair v easyJet: Websites Compared

    Ryanair plane
    ••• Ryanair plane. (c) Damian Corrigan

    If you know where your flights and routes already, Ryanair's booking experience is now better than easyJet's, with fewer pages, no need to log in and fewer add-ons to turn down.

    But if you are still shopping around, you'll find that easyJet has a much better user experience (see below).

    Selecting Your Route and Travel Dates: easyJet Still Has the Edge

    Ryanair lets you type in 'London' or 'United Kingdom' to see every relevant result. But You can't select 'London' to see which is the best airport for you. You need to pick just one airport.

    With easyJet, you can search for flights from 'London' rather than picking a particular airport.

    However, Ryanair has a better suggestion tool, offering the cheapest flights from the airport you've chosen.

    If conducting several searches in a row, easyJet does a better job of remembering your previously selected dates and routes. Ryanair always resets to your closest airport.

    easyJet defaults to a 3-day...MORE view, but you can easily switch it to a three-week view. Ryanair only shows you prices for the day you selected and a couple of days before (but, inconsistently, only for the flight out, not the return flight).

    Winner: easyJet, obviously

    Price Transparency

    easyJet gives you the 'debit card' and 'credit card' price on the flight selection screen. 

    Ryanair doesn't tell you how much each card fee will be until after you've put all the passenger details in.

    Winner: easyJet

    Booking Extras: Ryanair Really Has Learned the Error of Its Ways!

    Ryanair has come a long way since the old days of tricking you into paying for things you don't want to. Now by default, Ryanair adds nothing to your basket - even travel insurance is easy to avoid.

    On the other hand, if you do want extras, Ryanair makes it easy to purchase luggage, car rental specific seats, insurance, airport parking and airport transfers and the right to transfer special equipment.

    easyJet has two pages of extras, including hotels. And, if you decide you don't want any of the extras, they give you one of those annoying 'are you sure?' pages.

    Winner: Ryanair

    Number of Pages Needed to Complete Your Booking with Ryanair and easyJet

    Ryanair 5 pages

    easyJet 9 pages

    Continue to 4 of 5 below.
  • 04 of 05

    Ryanair v easyJet: Baggage Allowance and Price Compared

    Ryanair and easyJet
    ••• Ryanair and easyJet planes. Image: Anna & Michal

    Both airlines have a flawed baggage policy, but Ryanair is moving in the right direction and easyJet is going the wrong way.

    See also:

    Carry-On Baggage Allowance

    easyJet:  56 x 45 x 25cm

    Ryanair: 55 x 40 x 20cm plus a second bag measuring 35 x 20 x 20 cm

    easyJet has dropped their 'guaranteed hand baggage' policy, which is a disappointing step backward. And while easyJet has its unlimited weight policy for carry-on luggage, I have never seen scales at the departure gate on any airline, so this policy is a bit meaningless as most airlines end up allowing unlimited weight in your cabin bags.

    Ryanair's new extra small bag is great for cameras, laptops, and handbags, which used to have to go into your main luggage (and which still does with easyJet.

    But Ryanair still lets you down with a very small main bag. At its narrowest, the bag you are allowed is just 20cm deep, which means a lot of people will need to purchase a new bag.

    Winner:...MORE Both airlines have flawed policies, but Ryanair wins by a hair, as long as you already have a small enough case acceptable to the airline.

    Checked Luggage Allowance and Price

    easyJet: 20kg. 20€. (45€ at airport)

    Ryanair: 15kg or 20kg. 15€ (for 15kg) to 70€ (high season price).

    easyJet has a simple '20€ for 20kg' policy, but Ryanair's allowance is all over the place, with a different price for different weights, seasons and destinations.

    Continue to 5 of 5 below.
  • 05 of 05

    easyJet v Ryanair prices

    ••• Guido Mieth/Getty Images

    Ryanair and easyJet often don't fly the same route. Below I have randomly selected some off-season routes, booked three months in advance, flying where possible on a Thursday and returning on Monday. Prices are for two people.

    All are without baggage, but including all other compulsory fees (such as credit card fees).

    I assumed travelers have some flexibility and chose the cheapest fare within a window of a couple of weeks. Note that it is much easier to have such flexibility with easyJet as they have a better 'flexible search' option than Ryanair does.

    Interestingly, Ryanair usually beats easyJet, but usually not by much. And when Ryanair is the more expensive, it is a lot more expensive.

    Obviously, you need to always shop around and don't believe that the airline you normally fly with is always the cheapest.

    A note on Ryanair routes and availability

    A problem with making these price comparisons was that Ryanair often didn't cover the route I wanted, or the route was...MORE currently not available. This was particularly the case for Edinburgh flights.

    Plus, Ryanair still hasn't stopped the practice of unilaterally naming an airport after a city that is often 100 kilometers away. Ryanair claims to fly to three Barcelona airports, but there is in fact only one. And the situation is even worse with Ryanair's so-called Paris airports (Vatry airport is 147 kilometers from the center of Paris). easyJet flies to Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport, the main airport for the French capital.