Ryanair is the budget airline we’ve been using for most of our flights. Flights can really be ridiculously cheap. For example, I just spent 20 cents on an air ticket from Stockholm to Glasgow. Flying from Glasgow to London cost another 1 pound. I can even forgo my already booked Stockholm to London ticket. It’s a bit of a waste but then it’s only 10 sgd.

The great part is that there’s no need for any promotional codes or membership stuff to be able to enjoy such low fares. It simply requires you to visit the website now and then to find out about their latest offers. As long as you pick the right dates, usually weekdays or obscure timings, there will probably be tax free super cheap flights.

As the date of the flight approaches, the price generally increases. The tax free offers evaporate, and soon they cost over 100 sgd. However, this is not a certainty. Unpredictable offers sometimes materialise, leading you to wish you had waited a week or two before booking a flight. The percentage discounts increase, the taxes vanish and once again it costs less to fly across Europe than to eat a meal at the local MacDonalds.

These price vagaries have led to a love hate relationship with the airline. More love than hate I say. It’s kind of like playing a stock market.

Comfort and service are acceptable. They pride themselves on being on time, and 90% of their flights do arrive on time or even ahead of schedule. When that happens, a very cheesy tune is played, followed by an announcement that you are on yet another on time flight. Aerobridges aren’t used, so you’ll have to use the stairs. The airports are also smaller and more obscure, thus the airport transfers usually cost a few times more than the flight itself.

The seats don’t recline, but then the flights aren’t too long and hey, lunch cost more, so what’s there to complain about? van finds it disturbing that the amount she spends on food in sg can get her across Europe. Very true. To save cleaning costs and reduce turnaround time, there are no seat pockets either, and the safety information is printed on the headrest of the seat in front of you. Personally I think it’s a much better place to put it as it’s much more visible.

There are advertisements on the doors of the luggage racks and they constantly advertise various sales and promotions during the flight. It can get a bit irritating, but the most useful one is the sale of airport coach tickets on board. They’ll usually accept the currencies of the origin and destination cities but they don’t carry any change.

To reduce their costs, they don’t assign seats, so all flights are free seating. You can also do online check in for free and print your own boarding pass. If you need any extra services like check in bags or airport check in, then each component costs more. There is also a card fee if you don’t use Visa Electron to pay. Other than the card fee, all the other stuff is optional and the price you see once you search for flights is really the price you pay if you choose to fly with no extras. This is much better than many other airlines, who exclude taxes from the first page and only show you when you move on to the next step.

I’ve never checked out the budget airlines in Singapore, but while looking for holiday possibilities, it seems like budget airlines flying out of Singapore simply cannot match the prices of Ryanair. There are always taxes and prices always seem to cost above 100 sgd for return flights. Nowhere close to the 40 cents return flight between Stockholm and Hamburg. Some of them even pull off the sneaky tactic of not displaying taxes at first, so it looks like they’re cheap when they’re not.

Ryanair has really revolutionised the industry in Europe. It has also made it much more affordable to get around Europe, a wonderful thing for us exchange students. 😀


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