There are a ton of discount airlines in Europe, but they are not all created equal. In this series of articles on discount airlines offering flights in Europe, I give you links to their homepage and a brief summary of their features: luggage, check-in, and cancellation policies…and what’s not so great about them.  And if you’ve used one of these airlines, let me know what your firsthand experience was like!

First, we have Ryanair. It is Europe’s largest discount airline.  They serve over 50 million customers a year and add new bases almost monthly.

Luggage terms: You don’t get a free luggage allowance.  You can carry up to three checked bags not exceeding 15 kgs total, but you have to pay £12.00/€18.00 each.  If you go over your weight limit they have other hefty fees in place.  Babies don’t get checked bags, and sports and musical equipment is discouraged.  Mobility equipment is free of charge.  You can carry one piece of carry-on luggage, not exceeding 10 kg and dimensions of 55cm*40cm*20cm.

Check-In:  You have to pay to check in at the airport, a fee of a few euros.  Sometimes you can check in online, but there’s a long list of restrictions for people who can’t, including people with mobility equipment, checked luggage, a person who’s traveling with one of these people, and passengers traveling from Italy to the U.K. (?)

Boarding closes ten minutes prior to departure, and don’t be late.  They won’t wait for you even if you”re only thirty seconds late.  They make you purchase a new ticket for a later flight.  If flights are canceled for reasons outside of their control, you won’t receive any monetary compensation.  However, if they cancel or reschedule your flight and you’re unable to work with that, they will compensate you.

Conclusion: Strict policies, but cheap prices and decent hubs.  But also remember that many discount airlines fly out of airports that are miles from the cities they claim to be in, so factor bus/cab expenses into your ticket prices as well.  Tickets can be dirt cheap, (I searched a flight from Dublin to London and it said fare was 0…?) but there are taxes, check-in fees, luggage fees, and transportation to and from the airport.  Every situation will be different, so just know what you’re getting into when you book.  Even with all these extra fees, though, these flights look super cheap.  How can a flight be free?  They only charge for tax.  It’s ridiculous!

Tomorrow: Germanwings.

Cheers,

Senoritaburrito

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