The title of this post is a little restrictive, because I think these are good things to remember for a lot of smaller airlines. But since this weekend I’m flying with RyanAir, I’m going to focus on that one specifically.
Smaller airlines can be great for traveling within shorter distances, specifically within Europe, for me. This past weekend I flew from Paris to Dublin and the ticket was significantly cheaper than if I had flown out of CDG, which is the main/largest airport in Paris. That being said, there were quite a few “lessons” I learned while flying, and some red tape I dodged, but saw other people fall victim to.
So, to save you all some stress – hear are some things you need to know when flying with smaller airlines (specifically RyanAir):
1. Luggage: When getting ready for your trip remember that smaller airlines have very specific luggage restrictions for carry-ons. This is a big way they make money, from unsuspecting travelers, so if you don’t want to pay the surprise 50 euro additional charge, for bringing a bag that’s too large – make sure you check the measurements. Weight doesn’t really seem to be an issue, but the wrong size luggage will have you bleeding cash.
2. Boarding passes\checking in: When you get the email confirmation a few days before flying out DO NOT ignore it. Check in online right then. They don’t announce this, but if you read the small writing you’ll notice that, by checking in at the airport you actually get charged 70 euros. Also make sure to print your boarding passes for both ways!
3. Finding your airport: The way RyanAir keeps their prices cheap is by being in relatively inconvenient places, most of the time. This means, if you’re looking for a flight make sure to double check that the flight isn’t going out of some little airport in the middle of nowhere (unless you’re okay with that). If your flight is leaving from a major airport, the baggage check is probably going to be in the least convenient spot in the airport, so make sure you don’t arrive 10 minutes before your flight.
4. Checking in at the airport: If you aren’t an EU citizen you MUST go to the bag check BEFORE you go to security so they can check your passport and stamp your boarding pass (which you’ve already printed and brought from home, so you don’t pay 70 euros!). Without doing this, they will not let you on the plane (even after you go through security) and if it’s not an easy run back, you might actually miss your flight when they make you go back to get your boarding pass stamped.
5. Boarding your flight: Planes have a front and back entrance so PLEASE, for the sanity of everyone else, don’t board in the front door if you’re supposed to be seated in row 30. You’ll be crawling over people, causing congestion in the aisle, and just generally causing chaos. If your seat number is anything higher than 16, you should just head to the back door for boarding. Believe me, it makes a world of difference.