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18/05/2009 – Ryanair’s New Fee To ‘Check In’ & The Real Cost Of Some Low Cost Carriers
Everyday hundreds of thousands of travellers take to the internet to search for the lowest airfare for their travels. Eventually many of these travellers with find themselves at the website of a Low-Cost-Carrier (LCC) lured in by the promise of cheap fares…but really what the cost of flying with an LCC?
Irish carrier Ryanair is one of the most notable LCC’s in the world, with a network that operates from a staggering 32 ‘Hub’ airports. Ryanair is known for charging for everything…what exactly is ‘everything?’ well how about they charge you to check in for your flights…either online or at the airport…rates vary.
How do the rates vary? Well if you check in online, and you booked your ticket online your check in fee is €5 (US$6.75), but if you check in online but you booked your ticket via the telephone your check in fee is €10(US$13.50).
Can’t check in online? Well then if you booked your check-in online your fee is €10 (US$13.50), you didn’t book online your only the hook for €40 (US$54.25).
…oh yea, one last thing, these fees are EACH WAY!
You want to actually pay for your ticket? Ryanair requires a €5 fee for payment handling, per one-way flight, so round trip, no connections, you need to pay them €10 to process your payment.
Need to fly with one checked bag? €10each way if you book the baggage online and €20 if you pay at the airport. Sure everyone has baggage fees these days, however Ryanair is incredible strict with carry-on weight and does not allow ANYTHING to be external of the bag. Have a camera on your shoulder? Not allowed. Have a newspaper under your arm? Not allowed. Everything must be in the bag and under 10kg (22lbs). Should you not comply with the cabin baggage conditions, Ryanair reserves the right to cancel your reservations without refund and deny your boarding to the flight.
…so go ahead and purchase the checked baggage option.
So let’s see what Ryanair’s €2.99 & €4.99 each way fare actually costs for flyers travelling from Shannon, Ireland (SNN) to Paris, France (BVA), departing on the 22nd of May returning on the 25th of May.
Departing SNN: 2:40pm
Arriving BVA: 5:20pm
Departing BVA: 1:25pm
Arriving SNN: 2:05pm
TOTAL AIRFARE: €53.89
Check-In Online + 1 checked bag: €30.00
Receive Booking Confirmation : €1.00
Total Payment Amount EXCLUDING HANDLING FEE: €84.89
Total Payment Amount INCLUDING HANDLING FEE: €94.89
Check in-online for departure, check in at airport for return (because you have a printer at home to check-in, and on the road you stayed at small hotel with no access to a printer): €45
TOTAL AMOUNT PAID FOR €7.98 airfare? : €139.89
Also keep in mind that Paris-Beauvais (BVA) is 88km (55miles) from Paris, where as Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) is 25km (15miles) from Paris. Transportation from BVA to Paris requires a €13 (cash only) bus ride connecting to the train (RER), each way. A bus from CDG to Paris is €15 each way, dropping you at the Arch de Triumph. Alternately you can take the train (RER) from CDG to the center of Paris for €8 each way (my preferred option). So while BVA may seem cheaper up front, the convenience and cost of getting from BVA to Paris is more costly as well, especially when Ryanair suggests you arrive at BVA 3.5hrs ahead of your flight!
At what cost does one fly Ryanair? Well let’s compare an Air France flight
Flight AF 5083
Depart SNN 2:50pm
Arrive CDG 6:00pm
Flight AF 5080
Depart: CDG 11:10am
Arrive: SNN 12:15pm
TOTAL FARE (including all taxes & fees): €147.20
Lets break this down
Ryanair: Can of soda: €3.00
Air France: Can of soda: Free
Ryanair: Virtually no customer service presence at SNN or BVA to assist passengers
Air France: Staff at both airports to assist passengers
Ryanair: No window shades
Air France: Window shades to block the sunlight
Ryanair: Cabin crew hawking anything they can sell
Air France: The cabin crew won’t bother you at all
Ryanair: No seat recline
Air France: Seat reclines for your comfort (but not the person behind you)
Ryanair: One flight per day between SNN-BVA
Air France: Two flights per day between SNN-CDG & access to code share flights if problems arise.
Ryanair: Long multi-stop transit from 88km outside Paris
Air France: Easy simple transit from 25km outside Paris
So, overall looking at the break down of Ryanair as a “Low Cost Carrier” vs Air France which is an established “Network Carrier” what is more time and cost effective?
I know €2.99 & €4.99 sound like fantastic fares, but before booking with a Low Cost Carrier look at all the potential fees and hassles associated with fly them. Some LCCs are great, offer transparent fares and have fantastic service (Southwest Airlines in the US and Jet2 in the UK come to mind) others offer less than stellar service and fees that can significantly drive fees through the roof.
The choice is yours.