Consuming Issues: How to navigate through Ryanair's maze of charges

People say low-cost travel is easy, but travellers need stamina and guile to negotiate Ryanair's maze of charges.

John Fingleton, chief executive of the Office of Fair Trading, made this point when he described Ryanair's £5 credit card charge as "puerile" in an interview last week with The Independent.

That drew a furious response from Ryanair, which accused the OFT of singling it out while failing, allegedly, to tackle dodgy practices at more expensive airlines.

My personal view – stated here previously – is that, notwithstanding the environmental damage done by mass air travel, Ryanair is good value for travellers prepared to go down the no-frills route, especially when compared with the cost and unremarkable service of the old state carriers.

For the six months to 30 September, Ryanair's sales were £1.5bn from 36.4 million passengers – £43.40 per flight, the cost of a DVD box set. Yet customers paying fees or booking late pay much more. Here are 10 tips for finding the cheapest flight with Europe's biggest airline:


One reason Ryanair's fares are so low is because it uses airports miles from the headline destination. So Frankfurt Hahn is 75 miles from Frankfurt, and Stockholm-Vasteras is 68 miles from Stockholm. While that won't necessarily make the flight expensive, check the availability and cost of transport to your final destination.


Flights can be booked 10 months in advance, but are usually cheapest between two months and two weeks before departure. Fares climb rapidly in the last few days. The cheapest flights are on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday or Saturday afternoon.


Severe penalties apply for mis-spelling a passenger: amending a name costs £100 online and £150 at the airport. Always use the name on your passport. Changing a flight is £25 – £100 for a family of four, one-way.


Ryanair wants to fly quick passengers, not their cumbersome luggage which requires expensive baggage handlers and delays to flying time. Its website assumes passengers require a checked-in bag costing £15, with a maximum weight of 15 kilos, so select the no checked-in bag option if you don't need this much luggage. Remember all passengers can take onboard cabin baggage and adults can pile their belongings into their children's allowance. Cabin baggage should weigh no more than 10kg and measure less than 55cm by 40cm by 20cm. Every kilo over and above 15 kilos for checked-in baggage costs £20 per kilo.


Ryanair invites passengers to select insurance. Year round travel insurance normally covers flights and tends to work out cheaper.


Paying by plastic on Ryanair attracts an "administration fee" of £5 per person, per flight – £40 for a holidaying family of four. Owners of Electron cards have to pay this fee as well now. However it can be avoided by using a pre-paid Mastercard. The Mastercard Orion Clubcard costs £15.89 to set up and 50p for every transaction, saving money for anyone booking more than three Ryanair flights a year.


Ticking the box for mobile phone text confirmation of a booking costs £1. These details are sent immediately – free of charge – to the email address provided at the time of booking.


A £5 online check-in fee applies to fares. Check-in can be done between 15 days and four hours before take-off. Tickets must be printed out, or there is a £40 fee per passenger at the airport.


"Priority boarding" can be selected for £4 per passenger. Don't bother unless this is important: you won't arrive any sooner.


With such low advertised fares, Ryanair is keen to make margins from the sale of onboard drinks, snacks, duty-free and lottery cards. Having bagged a bargain you may wish to celebrate, but the money may be better spent elsewhere. Generally there's more fun to be had on your arrival than strapped into a seat on a pressurised plane.

Independent Partners; request a free guide on NISAs from Hargreaves Lansdown

Jacqueline Bisset has claimed that young women today are obsessed with being 'hot', rather than 'charming', 'romantic' or 'beautiful'
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvDownton Abbey review: It's six months since we last caught up with the Crawley clan
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
Greg Dyke insists he will not resign as Football Association chairman after receiving a watch worth more than £16,000 but has called for an end to the culture of gifts being given to football officials
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
premier league
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
Mario Balotelli celebrates his first Liverpool goal
premier leagueLiverpool striker expressed his opinion about the 5-3 thriller with Leicester - then this happened
Britain's shadow chancellor Ed Balls (L) challenges reporter Rob Merrick for the ball during the Labour Party versus the media soccer match,
peopleReporter left bleeding after tackle from shadow Chancellor in annual political football match
Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says
tvSpoiler warning: Star of George RR Martin's hit series says viewers have 'not seen the last' of him/her
Plenty to ponder: Amir Khan has had repeated problems with US immigration because of his Muslim faith and now American television may shun him
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Senior BA - Motor and Home Insurance

    £400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: **URGENT CONTRACT ROLE**...

    Market Risk & Control Manager

    Up to £100k or £450p/d: Saxton Leigh: My client is a leading commodities tradi...

    SQL Developer - Watford/NW London - £320 - £330 p/d - 6 months

    £320 - £330 per day: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group have been engaged by a l...

    Head of Audit

    To £75,000 + Pension + Benefits + Bonus: Saxton Leigh: My client is looking f...

    Day In a Page

    A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

    Not That Kind of Girl:

    A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

    In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

    Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
    Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

    Model mother

    Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
    Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

    Apple still the coolest brand

    Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments