If you don’t mind travelling the ‘no frills’ way, then budget airlines such as Ryanair and EasyJet tend to offer the cheapest rates going, but fail to read the small print and you could end up paying through the nose! From booking tickets online right through to boarding the plane, the process is fraught with strict regulations and extra charges. Here are some golden rules to help you keep costs to a minimum:
Although a grace period of 24 hours may be granted to correct minor errors, save yourself the stress and double check the information before you hit the ‘Pay Now’ button. Errors and name changes can come at an eye watering cost of £110 - £160 with Ryanair, and EasyJet state "in addition to the name change fee (£30 - £35), you will also need to pay the difference between the cost of the original flight booked and the cost of the flight at the time the change is made. No refund will be made if the cost of the flight is lower at the time of the change.”
Both Ryanair and EasyJet include one piece of hand luggage per person in the cost of a flight (excluding infants under the age of 2). EasyJet cabin bag dimensions MUST be no bigger than 56cm x 45cm x 25cm, including handles and wheels and Ryanair’s is slightly smaller at 55cm x 40cm x 20cm. EasyJet have removed their weight restriction on hand baggage with the stipulation that you must be able to lift the bag safely into the overhead lockers without assistance, whereas Ryanair has a maximum 10kg limit.
If your bag is found to be oversized or overweight at the boarding gate it may be refused or where available, placed in the hold for an additional fee of £45-£50.
Ryanair permits one small bag in addition to your cabin bag at no extra charge, providing the size of the bag is no more than 35cm x 20 cm x 20cm. Unfortunately with EasyJet, unless you are an EasyJet Plus cardholder, FLEXI fare, upfront or extra leg room paying passenger, you do not get the same privilege, so laptops and handbags must all fit within your cabin bag, although one standard duty free bag is allowed to be carried separately.
Anything you buy in the departure lounge will have to fit within your Ryanair hand luggage ready for boarding if you already have an additional bag, so make sure it doesn’t push you over the 10kg limit!
With budget airlines, you have to pay to put suitcases and baggage in the hold. Make sure you purchase baggage online as paying for it at the airport or via the airlines’ call centre can cost you double. This also applies to sports equipment, musical instruments and infant equipment such as booster seats and travel cots. Do make sure you keep within your weight allowance, especially on your return journey if you have brought a few souvenirs to bring back, as extra weight means extra charges!
If you have reduced mobility and require airport assistance or require oxygen on the plane, it’s vital that you pre-book, as failing to do so could result in the service being unavailable. Providing your booking was made online, you should be given the option to request special assistance online too. If you make your booking via the airlines’ contact centre, at the airport or by a travel agent, you can call the Special Assistance Team. For Ryanair call 0871 246 0003 and for EasyJet call 0800 998 1130.
Check-in desks for EasyJet and Ryanair have been replaced with bag-drop desks, which means people now have to check themselves in online and print off boarding passes and unless you have hold luggage to check-in, there’s no requirement to visit the desks when you arrive at the airport. Whilst this is designed to save you time and cut the operational costs of the airline, should you forget, your costs could sky rocket! Currently Ryanair charges £45 per person at the airport for not checking in online!
If you check-in online but forget to either print your boarding card or bring it with you to the airport, you face a £15 fee per passenger with Ryanair to reissue. The only small consolation is that this fee has recently been reduced from £70.
Avoiding extra fees is one way to save money on your holiday, another way is to compare travel insurance quotes. Medical Travel Compared compares policies from over 40 specialist insurers.
*Airlines fees can change, so please do check the airlines' websites direct for current information: