In my debate of whether we should fly home from Dublin or extend our European escapade, I decided to see if there were cheap flights to any surrounding countries.
In turns out, there were a ton. $33 to Madrid. $55 to Amsterdam. $16 to London!!! (Yes, you read that right!) After discovering all these dirt-cheap prices, my most difficult decision was narrowing down which country to choose. Talk about first world problems!
There are a ton of budget European airlines, and since many of the countries are extremely close to each other, you can usually find a cheap flight almost any time of the year. (I just used Google Flights – so simple!) We ended up choosing a $29 flight to Paris with Ryanair.
Ryanair is a popular European budget airlines. While I’ve heard some horror stories about flying with them, I decided that I could not pass up that price, and I would try my best to manage the airlines policies. (Note: Make sure to read the fine print with budget airlines! They charge a ton for extra amenities, which is what makes their fares so cheap.)
The booking process for the most part was easy and self-explanatory. I was also surprised that the baggage fees weren’t that high, compared to many other budget airlines. (Only $25 for a 20kg bag! 1 personal item and 1 carry-on are included.)
A few days prior to our flight, we got an email from Ryanair informing us to check-in online. While for most major airlines this is optional, with Ryanair it’s required, unless you want to pay a 40 euro fee. Yikes! Make sure to check in asap online with Ryainair.
We also found out prior to our flight that we were required to print out our boarding passes. Now this right here really bugged me.
While Ryanair has mobile boarding pass capabilities, for our specific flight, (and because we weren’t EU residents), we were required to print out boarding passes before getting to the airport, or else we would have been charged a 15 euro printing fee PER TICKET. I know budget airlines had to make up for their cheap prices somehow, but come on!
You could say I was a little pissed about having to take time out of my trip to search for an internet cafe. Thankfully the process was quick and painless in central Dublin, and the cafe only charged a couple of euros.
In terms of baggage, Ryanair was pretty lax. They weighed the check-in bags, and didn’t need to with our carry-ons or personal items. Nice! Nothing is more annoying then someone saying your backpack is too heavy, and “maybe you can take your hat out and wear it to lessen the weight” – I’m looking at you Australian budget airlines!! There is a bag sizer, but you most likely won’t get asked to put your bags in unless they seem oversized.
The boarding process is a tad messy – it’s a first come first serve in terms of seating. You’re able to choose your seat online when you book, but in terms of who gets on the plane first, it’s a free for all. They also state that they only have so much cabin space available, so if you’re one of the last to get on and there’s no room for your carry-on in the overhead, it will have to be checked. We of course didn’t want to risk having our camera equipment checked, so we had to make a scramble for the front when boarding opened up.
Everything inside the plane was pretty standard. There were no extra amenities, but still clean, quick, and painless. The flight attendants were polite, and the seats were comfortable. No complaints!
Would I fly with Ryanair again? Definitely. With the exception of having to print out our boarding passes, it was a very pleasant budget airlines experience. It’s pretty hard to complain about a $29 flight to the city of love!