Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Travel light, fly cheap

I am so sick of people who complain about RyanAir and other cheap airlines. They keep saying that the seats are too small, the airports are too far away, the snacks on the plane are too expensive, the on-flight commercials are too much, they are too strict about their rules about luggage and everything costs extra. I'm sure there are hundreds of other subjects people complain about. Apparently they expect first class treatment. I don't understand this. Low-cost airlines are nothing different than any other cheap service available. You always have a choice. I mean just as you choose whether to go to a more expensive grocery store or Lidl. Or like how you can choose to book a 5-star-hotel or just bunk at a hostel. Surely people compain about hostels too, but it's important to remember to keep things in the right proportion. You wouldn't expect having a piccolo carrying your bags at a hostel, would you?

In my opinion RyanAir and the other low-cost airlines (at least the ones I've tried) are fantastic. Most of my experiences are with RyanAir. It's the perfect choice for a budget traveller or a business (wo)man. I think it's great that you can get a cheaper ticket if you don't need all those extra things. I have a travel insurance of my own, I have no problem traveling with only hand luggage and I don't care where I sit. Although I love it when I get the big seat by the emergency exit... All of those services are there for people who need them, and why not? RyanAir is cheap, easy and reliable. At least I have never had any problems. And I have been flying with RyanAir A LOT! I love that I don't have to be at the airport three hours before boarding and it's great not having to wait for the luggage after the flight. I have no problem going on a three-week vacation with only a hand luggage bag with ten kilos. In fact I just did.

People are always talking about how RyanAir tries to make money from everything and try to make everything efficient. There's no harm in efficiency, right? This picture is borrowed from The Guardian.

I bought five flights, went away for 2,5 weeks and paid 160 euros total with taxes and everything. Yes, that's right. I flew from Tampere to Trapani, from Trapani to Milan, from Milan to Budapest, from Budapest to Stockholm and finally from Stockholm to Helsinki. And I didn't have any problems whatsoever. What's my secret? Well, in addition, that I'm a quite experienced traveller, I take some time for research. For this last trip I was checking flights for about three weeks, calculating what would be the best and cheapest route and naturally getting in touch with friends asking if it would allright for me to crash their couch. Finally I booked the flights three weeks before the trip.

If you spend some time getting to know the rules of the airline, you won't have any problems. Sticking to the rules is naturally essential. RyanAir is quite strict with luggage weight, that is when they check, which they don't always do. What I experienced during my last trip was an increasing measuring of the size of the hand luggage. It did get my heart rate up a bit, even though I was flying with the same bag as so many times before and I knew it would fit in the measuring box. It was kind of a kick in a way, because after all I did know that I wouldn't have any problems. Getting to know the list of prohibited objects is also essential, but they are approximately the same with all airlines. It is good to making sure you know what counts as fluids though, because it can be quite surprising. Not everyone knows that a lipstick counts as liquids. Luckily the liquid restrictions are supposed to be revoked in 2013...

Basically what I urge you to do when traveling with low-cost airlines is to take some time to get to know the basics about their rules and restrictions. This way you will have a successful trip and you will enjoy it more! And if you feel like you don't get you moneys worth, you can always choose another airline.

But for the record: I love RyanAir!

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