Soapbox – Ryanair


Next time you find yourself down the pub, at a dinner party or a barbecue, raise the subject of Ryanair. Try this: “Did you see that Ryanair is considering charging people who take their own sandwiches on board?” It’s not true, but it’s sure to trigger a series of rants about Ireland’s giant budget airline.

I am constantly amazed at the amount of consternation Ryanair generates among normally moderate and rational travellers. “How can they possibly justify charging £5 to use a debit card? … They made me check in my cabin baggage and pay €40 because it was a bit too heavy … When you book a flight to Frankfurt, you end up somewhere near Luxembourg.” That’s a fair selection of my travel pals’ experiences – at which I get increasingly exasperated. If you decide to try the airline, then make sure you read the label.

You don’t have to pay that £5 fee, if you use a pre-paid Mastercard (I have a fine selection in different currencies). Ryanair is absolutely explicit about its cabin-baggage policy. And before you buy that ticket to “Frankfurt”, apprise yourself of the fact that the airport is about 90 minutes’ from Europe’s financial centre, as opposed to the 15 minutes from “real” Frankfurt airport.

Travelling on Ryanair is usually pleasant, occasionally stressful but rarely delayed. There is no law which forces people to fly on the airline, just as you are not compelled to shop at Aldi and Lidl; Marks & Spencer is also available. Pay your money and take your choice.

Simon Calder

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