Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Since when did Ryanair get so expensive?

UPDATE: a reader who books with Ryanair messaged me with some tips on how to avoid the highest fares.  In his experience, the fares are cheapest 3-5 weeks before the date of travel.  They quite often start expensive unlike on Easyjet, where the first price is usually the cheapest quoted and it's downhill from there.
He has also found that it is cheaper to book in Euros which is done by putting the Spanish destination first.

No one much likes Ryanair (What 2 years of flying Ryanair will do to you) but millions of us put up with it because it’s “the low fares airline” .  Well it used to be.

I visit Spain regularly and generally end up flying Easyjet or Ryanair because they are cheaper than alternatives like Monarch and BA.  In the past Ryanair has usually had the edge on price but I recently noticed a huge shift when booking flights for next Winter.  

Flicking between the two websites for the weekends I needed, Easyjet was invariably coming out on top.  In some cases Ryanair was almost twice the price of its rival:

I had a quick look at Monarch and BA.  BA was the most expensive but, as they are at pains to point out, are not a no frills outfit.  Monarch, was more expensive than Easyjet but they also easily beat Ryanair.

I booked my flights for this Summer ages ago and got a mixture of Ryanair and Easyjet flights.  Looking on the websites now for a couple of dates in the high season, they look very similar.

So maybe it is just the winter fares on this particular route that Ryanair have decided to put through the roof.  I would be interested to hear what other regular flyers have to say.

One thing's for sure, you can no longer take Ryanair’s boast of having “the lowest fares” at face value.  They have clearly decided to cash in on their dominant position.  Flyers should not simply assume that Ryanair is cheapest and need to shop around.

One pleasant side effect of booking with Easyjet is that their website is easy to use e.g. you can quickly click through to pay for your booking without having to say NO to pages of add-ons like transfers and carry on cases.


  1. I have noticed this too when booking Ryanair. This summer I have booked Gibraltar to Manchester with monarch, and it was cheaper than Ryanair from Malaga.. Which was unheard of in the past! they were so cheap at one point, and always beating the competition that I rarely checked any other airlines. Now I'll be sure to check them all! Still cheaper than Thomson though, who quoted me £500 one way from Malaga to Doncaster in August!

  2. Same here on the Bologna - Düsseldorf (Weeze) route. Looking for fares in November 2013 and January 2014, Ryanair is sometimes even more expensive than KLM going from Bologna to Amsterdam, 7 days a week, about 3 times a day, whereas Ryanair has only 3 connection per week (!) to Weeze, which is practically in the middle of nowhere. Why? Are all these flights booked already?

    I know at the same time that prices can drop significantly only weeks before departure. But as there is no price guarantuee on their own fares, that's of no use if you need to make reservations now. Too bad, as generally I like their service a lot.

  3. Same thing goes for the Brussels-Manchester route : i've noticed that from October 2013 on, the prices increase with 100 % or more ! ( for example a ticket that now costs about 50 euros will then cost between 100-170 euros!!!! I was told too, that the cheapest prices are available now and that they will only go up! Not very promising if you ask me....


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