We’ve unintentionally developed a reputation for being a luxury travel authority. Ok, maybe not so unintentionally. We love flying first and business class using points and great deals and the same goes for lovely hotels – but it’s not all suites in the air and on the ground. Sometimes practicality takes over and sometimes budget airlines are the best answer. After a few nice recent flights on Ryanair we’ve got a few thoughts on how to survive the experience unscathed, without looking too unbathed either.

Pay Nothing

By nothing, we mean one of their €5 fares. Ryanair has been making up for bad press with great fares. It’s not hard to score deals under €10 one way, and at this price – there’s a lot of upside. Above that price… meh.

But First, First

Before you go and book any ole flight, see if you can find one where the first row is open. This is the game changer. First row seats are €20 to reserve and come with priority boarding bundled in. If you choose A,B or C – you’ll have virtually unlimited legroom. You can’t touch a wall if you try.

Baggage Lite

Ryanair gets you on checked bags – so don’t check any. You can take a small personal item and a carry on, on board. Electronics in the small bag, light clothes in the big bag, everything else on your body.

Check In Online

Much to the surprise of people who ignore most emails – Ryanair charges €50 or local currency to check in at the airport. If you haven’t checked in online, you’re going to get hosed. So be sure to pay attention before hitting the airport. Don’t sweat, luggage drop doesn’t cost extra.

Board Last

If you need both your allowed carry on bags accessible the entire flight, you’ll need to queue up. If not- and you’re fine with just your smaller bag. Board last. Why wait around in an old tattered plane when you can have one last breath of fresh air (or beer). Your big bag will go under, but you won’t pay for it – so who cares. Enjoy the fresh air-  you were smart enough to assign a seat.

No Rush

Now every airport is slightly different, but in virtually every airport the 6-7AM morning rush sucks. If you want to have a semi civilized budget carrier experience – try to pick flights leaving mid late morning, or early afternoon into the evening. Far less fuss.

PriorityPass

If you fly Ryanair regularly, PriorityPass is heavenly. For just £12/$16 a visit, anyone can get into airport VIP lounges, enjoying a glass of bubbles, some buffet or just some wifi and quiet before a flight. It’s a LOT better than most of the terminals you’d be waiting in!

Noise Cancellation

Technically, this applies to any flight – but once the safety briefing is over, click on those noise cancelling headphones, avoiding the constant sales pitches, rampant on Ryanair flights. Here are some good headphone options for all budgets.

Back Up Plan

Ryanair famously cancelled thousands of flights this year, which lost some public trust. The key (when flying any airline) is to have a back up plan in play. Know which flights are going to your destination, see if there’s availability using points and if there are other options. These things happen, so knowing what to do as contingency is just smart travel. Don’t forget about EC261 compensation is all things go haywire, you may get back more than you paid : )