Tuesday, October 13, 2009

wow, this is almost getting to be boring

woot. here is my newest story in the Chicago Tribune about how to be a super ninja in booking a flight on Ryanair.


How to navigate a deal on Ryanair

Ashley Colby, Special to Tribune Newspapers

October 11, 2009

Ireland-based budget airline Ryanair offers some of the best bargains for flying within Europe and North Africa. But you have to know how to play the game.

In late August I was able to book a one-way flight from Pisa to Barcelona for just 10 euros, or about $14.70. This came as a 48-hour promotion for 5-euro flights with all fees and taxes waived (except a 5-euro payment handling fee) for flights September through December. Then, on Sept. 1, I found a 6-pound ($9.80) late-October flight from London to Oslo.

When booking during one of Ryanair's incredible-sounding sales, first read the terms and conditions before getting too excited. Blackout dates and seemingly incomprehensible exceptions might be involved. Flexibility is key.

Recognize that there are certain fees that most likely won't be waived, such as the "payment handling fee" (5 euros per flight) and the "online check-in fee" (5 euros).

Most of the fees, however, can be avoided with careful planning. Skip the "priority boarding fee" (3 euros) and the "text message confirmation" (1 euro) by simply remembering to check "no" when filling out details. Other fees demand greater cunning to refuse. The "optional travel insurance" is avoided by choosing the "no travel insurance required" option, which strangely is between Latvia and Lithuania in the drop-down menu.

Be aware of baggage specifications. Ryanair (ryanair.com) charges 10 euros for the first checked bag and another 20 for each subsequent bag. The catch is that the combined weight of all three bags must be no more than 15 kilograms, or 33 pounds.

Ryanair does not charge for carry-on luggage but expects customers to fit every item (purses, coats, shopping bags) into a single 10-kilo carry-on. Failure to follow these rules means Ryanair retains the right to deny boarding and cancel a reservation without refund.

Finally, many airports used by Ryanair are connected to the city only by a Ryanair-owned bus company. Take the price of the bus into consideration when figuring the total cost.

Once you learn how to work the system, you can find yourself jetting around Europe for the price of a few Happy Meals.

1 comment:

Kurt said...

Ok, great info! I just sent it out to my Twitter followers. Hopefully it gets retweeted.

How have you been doing? How's the farming going? Let me know what's going on.

I sent your blog link out to Rick, Bonnie, Pam and Marty...Bonnie wanted me to resend it, so I thought I'd send it out to a few others too!

Hope you are enjoying your adventure! UK