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We’re heading over to Paris at the end of the year to celebrate New Year’s Eve. Most of our time is booked up with typical holiday plans—getting together with friends, blow out dinners (on the cheap, of course) and relishing winter in Paris.
But we do have four or five days that are wide open and free for a quick jaunt elsewhere. So we turned to one of our new favorite flight search sites, Dohop.com, to see what the options were on Saturday, January 5th in the land of low-cost carriers. Ideally we’d like to pay well under $100 to head to either Rome, Berlin or Barcelona.
After a few searches, we had a winner: $60 for a one-way ticket on Ryanair from Paris (BVA) to Rome (CIA), a full 45% cheaper than the next cheapest price on easyJet. Seems awfully good, right?
Well, here’s where things unwind a bit.
Please just show me the price
Ryanair is a little touchy when it comes to showing their fares and routes on other flight search sites. While they appear in Dohop’s search results, clicking the “Go” button doesn’t link directly to the same result on Ryanair’s site, which would let you book the flight and move on with your day.
Okay, not a huge deal.
But before doing a search, you have to agree to Ryanair’s terms and conditions. Just to see that route and price you already saw elsewhere.
But after agreeing to the terms, you have to first complete a “Security check” that grants you permission to use the site (funny, we thought agreeing to the terms granted us permission to use the site).
But click wisely, dear Cheapos, for this Security Check is also an advertisement and will quickly shoot you elsewhere if you click on its image. In my case, it was a giant kangaroo prompting me for a “hopping good” deal on cable TV services. When we stopped back the next day, the ad was for FedEx.
(Spoiler alert! The “security password” is “Ship with FedEx.” Are they going to send TSA after us?)
We entered the advertisement’s security words, but were told we made an error and included the wrong information. We were presented with a new Security Check and a more standard reCAPTCHA form to try again, but then received a 500 server message.
Getting a little bummed out.
We then clicked back to the homepage, re-entered our search for the third time, and—success!—saw our chosen route and rates.
Finally there it was: €51.99 to go from Paris to Rome. Not bad. Right? (We’ll dismiss the slight difference between $60 and €51.99, which is currently $68, as a currency exchange oddity.)
Too bad we’re not able to take the morning flight for €34.99.
Please just let me figure out how much this is “really” going to cost
Now the fun part: the small print.
Reading Ryanair’s fare details on their website, it shows a €6 web check-in fee. Can I get around the fee by checking in at the airport? Of course not. All travelers are required to check in via the web. And if you booked your flight through a call center or at the airport, you’ll need to pay €12 to check in.
What if you arrive at the airport having forgotten to check in online? [insert sinister laughter from Ryanair here] No problem! If there’s time to re-issue an “alternative form of Boarding Pass” Ryanair will do so, but you’ll be charged a Boarding Pass re-issue fee at the rate set in their Consolidation Table of Fees.
According to this chart, there is no re-issue fee if you booked via Ryanair.com. Ok, that’s nice. However, if you booked through a call center or at the airport, you’re getting charged €60. Not so nice.
Here’s a quick run down of the other charges you can expect, courtesy of the Consolidation Table of Fees and based on booking through Ryanair’s website:
• Booked with a credit card: 3% of total transaction value
• Priority boarding fee: €5
• Reserved seats: €10 (but higher on certain routes)
• Musical instrument: €50
• Flight change fees: €30 to €60, depending on the route and whether it’s low or high season
• Carry on baggage: 1 bag for free. All other bags must be checked.
• Fee for checking 1st bag under 15 kg (33 lbs): €15 to €30, depending on the route and whether it’s low or high season
• Fee for checking 1st bag under 20 kg (44 lbs): €25 to €40, depending on the route and whether it’s low or high season
• Fee for checking 2nd bag under 15 kg (44 lbs): €35 to €50, depending on the route and whether it’s low or high season
• Excess baggage fee per kilo if you exceed the limitations set above: €20 per kilo.
So what’s it really cost?
Our trip is for one person traveling with one carry-on and one large suitcase that weighs 50 lbs. So first, the easy part: Shove at least 6 lbs of the weight from the large suitcase into the carry on. No joke – figure it out.
Bam! We just saved €54 (6 lbs = 2.72 kilos. 2.72 kilos x 20 Euros per kilo over.)
Now the rest of the tally:
$68 ticket + €25 ($32.75 USD) luggage fee + 3% transaction charge ($3.02) = $103.77. As much as we’d like to avoid doing the “Ryanair sprint” and not get the worst seat in the house, we can’t rationalize paying an extra cost just to board the plane.
And while this final price almost satisfies our original goal of keeping the flight cost below $100, we can’t help but feel a little, well, gross after going through this whole process. We’d prefer to feel inspired while we plan our trips and right now we’re just feeling kind of stressed out.
Sure, we got a decent deal on the flight, but I guess we’ll have to leave our trombone at home, dare we risk yet another fee.
Has Ryanair brought you down?
Are you down on Ryanair or do you take a different view? Maybe we’re overreacting. After all, those flights can really be cheap. Tell us what you think, Cheapos.