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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Good to know about Ryanair

Ryanair is the largest operator at City of Der...Image via Wikipedia

Even before the recession and certainly nowadays, people like to find great bargains and no more so than when it comes to flights. Due to the fact that airline tickets often are expensive, finding a better value deal means a lot to most of us. The entering of low-cost carriers to the airline market certainly gave many budget-minded travellers the opportunities to fly more frequently. In Europe, the budget airline Ryanair has proved to have the touch and has conquered this highly competitive marketplace. To some, a great thing but to others, it proved to be the end of and era when the customer was treated with respect.

Ryanair has a clear strategy. They want to be the cheapest airline and frequently advertise flight tickets that cost nearly nothing. This no-frills airline must however make a profit and they have cleverly created several strategies for doing so. Every year they seem to sneak more and more hidden fees and opt-ins in order for them to get paid. They seem to want to be able to say that they have the cheapest ticket but still make a high profit on their flights. This is how it is done.

When Ryanair first launched their business they used to promote their amazingly cheap tickets without showing the cost of taxes and fees. As most of us know, you cannot actually buy airline tickets without these charges so in the end, the Ryanair flight ended up costing a good bit more than the advertised price. After several complaints and investigations by the consumer groups and EU, it was ruled that all airlines need to show these taxes and fees as soon as you tried to find out the price of a ticket.

For Ryanair however, this was not the end. They started promoting flights where they took care of these taxes and fees and consumer was tempted by nearly free flights yet again. In order for them to recoup a profit, other charges were brought in. You now have to pay for luggage to be checked-in, the actual check-in cost you a good deal, even if you do all the work yourself online. In addition to this, they charge hefty fees to pay for these flights. In true Ryanair spirit, they don’t charge per transaction, but per person per flight. You used to be able to avoid these credit card charged by using the VISA Electron but as of January 2010, they have closed this loop-hole. As they need to provide one free way of paying, they have cleverly joined forces with MasterCard and promote their prepaid card as a free alternative. The only trouble is, it doesn’t only cost you money to charge this card, it also cost you a percentage of the transaction price.

Additional way for Ryanair to make money is to have the voluntary opt-in pre-checked. Instead of asking if you would like travel insurance with your flight, Ryanair has ticked the yes box for you and it becomes your responsibility to un-tick if you do not require this insurance. In order for you to get a good seat, you can pay an additional fee to be able to queue in the priority lane. Whether or not this is worth the money is highly debatable as many do pay for this privilege.

As Ryanair seek out the very cheapest alternatives in order for them to keep their flight tickets low, they usually only fly to smaller airports far away from where you really want to go. They do provide transportation for a cost to the main destination, but it could be hours away. The best thing is to go on the Internet and check out transportation prices and times before you book a ticket to a remote location. They also usually fly very early in the mornings or late in the evenings as this are off-peak times.

There have been many rumours about what Ryanair is trying to do next. Charging for toilets on the plane or having the back of the plane remodelled so that you could fit more people in, standing, are only a few of them. One thing to be sure of, Ryanair will not stop trying to find ways of squeezing money of their passengers in sneaky ways.

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