Ryan Air

I was really nervous the first time I flew Ryan Air – thinking that because of the low prices that it wouldn’t work for some reason or that I would have a lot of problems with it.

Amazingly enough, it was simple and just like most other airlines these days. To make it easy for you as well, make sure you read carefully over the guidelines they post on the internet and follow the links in the confirmation that they send. There are a lot of EU and country specific guidelines that you can usually skim over also.

Luggage weight: At the time of this posting, you must pay for your luggage. The cheapest way to do this is to prepay for your bags. It costs 12 Euros to prepay for a bag that is 15Kg which is about 32 pounds. You are also allowed a carry-on bag up to 10Kg (22 lbs). We weighted each of our bags and carry-ons at home before our flights and had absolutely no problems and didn’t get any extra charges. I prepaid for one extra bag as well so that I would be able to bring souvenirs back without a problem. They even allowed me to check a large paella pan from Spain (alone with no packaging) and it arrived in beautiful condition!

Identification: MAKE YOUR RESERVATIONS IN THE NAMES EXACTLY HOW THEY ARE ON THE PASSPORTS! If you are making reservations for family members, it’s worth a call to ask if “Angie” is short for “Agnes” or if “Bob” is really a “Robert.” All passengers MUST have identification (for Americans, it means passports – military ID cards will not work). The name on the ticket MUST match the passport. A name change normally costs 100 Euros, but if you do make a small mistake and you aren’t actually changing the entire name or transferring the ticket to another person, then you can call and make an administrative name change for only 10Euros. Have your credit card ready. They will ask for it at the end of the call.

Food: Food AND drinks are available, but they are not cheap. Even water is NOT free. There are not even free peanuts. Basically, NOTHING is free. So, plan ahead. Bring snacks or Euros for food. The airline pizza is actually pretty good as is the ciabatta, but the good stuff sells out by the time they get to the back of the plane.

Check-in: The check-in counter does not even open until exactly 2 hours before the flight takes off, but the line will start to form 30 minutes before that, so showing up 3+ hours early is totally unnecessary, but it is good to get there early. I think the check-in counters close 30 minutes before take-off at which time they are usually starting to line up at the gate and board. There is no seat assignments. It is only first-come, first-served. Your check-in time does not matter for seating. You place in line at the gate does. Unfortunately, there are priority business folks who do go through the line first (thanks to comments, you can purchase this priority status for 3Euros at check-in — great to know as it saves time in line). If you are traveling with children or in a large group wanting to sit together, get in line first, or, start the line an hour ahead.

Booster seats: We were allowed to take our booster seats onto the flight as an extra carry-on item, but once on the plane, the children were not allowed to sit in them. So, it was a hassle to bring them on the plane, but still, they didn’t cost us anything since we weren’t checking them.


Airports:

Frankfurt/Hahn: An easy 2 hour drive without traffic, the airport has a lot of parking that cost us only 40 Euros for an entire week. The airport is small, but nice and there are a lot of little restaurants. We ate a very nice little bakery/deli. This airport has an interesting wrapping thing that will saran wrap your luggage. Great for security, but it cost 25Euros. You do walk outside to get to the plane. Be prepared for weather.

Valencia: A nice airport with a new parking garage outside of the main terminal, Valencia was very easy to navigate. The luggage arrived quickly when we arrived. Leaving was just as easy, though it is a more crowded airport than Frankfurt/Hahn. There are a lot of souvenir shops, but they are all extremely overpriced – prices 3x what I saw them outside of the airport. You also walk outside to get on/off the plane here though the weather is usually mild.

Dusseldorf/Weeze: Located on an old base, this airport is about an hour away – if you know where you are going. That’s the key. Make sure that the taxi driver knows where he’s going and that all three GPS’s in the vehicle are functional. (Nothing like a lost German man, three GPS’s who can’t find our location, and 6 anxious female back-seat-drivers). Basically, after our experience, I’d definitely mapquest this one and stick on the main roads. Get too off-track and you might have a very nice nature drive through the adjacent forest mingling with deer and bunnies and quite possibly miss your flight. The airport itself is nice and flying out was not a problem.

Venice/Treviso: Last year’s “hut” has now been refurbished into a beautiful, modern building with an all glass facade. The eateries are reasonable and good. Service was great. And, the rental cars are all parked directly across the street making it easy to find your car and go. Shopping? No. The 3 Euro plate I saw in Venice was priced at 26 Euros in the airport gift shop.

One Response to “Ryan Air”

  1. Karen November 11, 2007 8:40 am #

    Anyone can priorty board on Ryan Air, you just have to purchase a priority boarding pass at the gate when you check in. (or you can do it online when you book your tickets) It is a 3 euro fee per person. My group of 4 travelers recently purchased two priority passes and then those two saved seats (quietly as this is frowned upon).

    Dusseldorf/Weeze is a nice airport – it is off the beaten track and frankly nowhere near Dusseldorf! – but easy to navigate and use.

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