No frills, and no thanks to Ryanair

Last week I had the opportunity to experience two very different no frills concepts. First was Riders Palace, a snow hotel in Laax, Switzerland. The owners obviously know what’s important for boarders who travel without kids – a bed, a good shower, proximity to ski lifts, a lobby bar. Period. There’s no real need for a telephone, 24H room service, minibar, TV or horrible kitsch art on the walls as you’ll anyway be sleeping the whole time you’re in your room. It cost less than 160 pounds for three night including a three-day ski pass. And it’s cool, using only concrete, wood and glass as materials. Brilliant, if not no-frills chic.

I also experienced a Ryanair flight to Friedrikschafen that cost less than a hundred pound on paper and 200 pounds when including luggage, payment fee and a 10-pound online check-in fee. The total price and first two extra items are reasonable but the last is tricky to categorize under “no frills” as you just can’t board a plane without checking in. Anyway, I had forgotten to check in and had to do it at the airport. My bad, and I kind of understand I had to pay 20 pounds extra to check in at the airport without being refunded the 10 pounds I had paid for online check-in. This is according to our terms and conditions as a lady trying to get a queue of people like me organized explained to me in a bored manner. But I also lost my right to check in online for the return leg and had to pay another 20 euros extra on the way back to London. Also brilliant, but in a very different way. In a way where you think: gosh, they must have a team of lawyers and extremely creative product managers to figure out more ways to fuck your wallet in the ass, no lube. (Mom, I only use this kind of language when talking about Ryanair, I promise). What’s next after charging for using toilets? Charging for life jackets under your seat and pilots that have had their eye-sight checked in the last 24 months? Despite loving low airfares (and 200 pounds for a 2-hour flight is not that cheap, is it?) I guess I have to say no to the thrills and chills of flying Ryanair in the future. If you ever fly them, make sure you don’t forget to check in beforehand.

5 comments

  1. E:r

    I used Ryanair for the first time about 2 months ago and put a mental memo for myself to pay that extra 30% to another company in the future.. in order to fly from an actual airport to an actual airport during waking hours and avoid spitting out cash for every cheapness-violation.
    Or maybe I’m just too old for this concept. I guess 5 years ago I would have been ready to sit on the plane’s floor and hold my wee for the duration of the flight if only I could have afforded the tickets.

  2. Andres

    Funny enough exact same thing happened to me this past weekend going to Paris. 200SEK to check in, they wouldn’t even let me use the check in kiosk that was sitting next to the counter.
    I was able to check in online for the return leg though so I didn’t have to pay twice.

  3. Shervin

    I don’t understand how it can be reasonable to charge £10 for online check in and then another £20 to check in at their machine.
    I also checked their Ts & Cs. No mention of the fact that if you pay for airport check in on the way out, you have to pay it on the way back. The question is, can you be bothered to try to get your money back. Only way to get in touch is via an expensive phone number.
    These guys are geniuses. The flights end up being more expensive than e.g. Swissair from London City to Zurich. But people still say they are cheap and continue to fly with them. They have found a blind spot in consumer intelligence and are exploiting it (and certainly not using any lube). Until people stop flying with them, they will keep doing this. In a way, it’s our own fault.

  4. Oliver

    You can tell a lot about a company and how comfortable they are with themselves by how they communicate with the public…and Ryanair are a bunch of assholes: http://blog.wired.com/cars/2009/02/ryanair-slams-p.html
    But anyway. I might have thought about flying with them a few years back, but lately news about the unbelievable attitude has been pouring in, and if they don’t want me, I sure as hell don’t want them.

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