Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Budget Airlines? Don't Make Me Laugh

The fares may look cheap in the adverts, but by the time Ryanair and easyJet have done with you, you pay through the nose.

I bought tickets on easyJet a couple of months ago, for MamaDuck to spend a couple of weeks in England. Something came up recently, and we needed to bring forward her departure date a few days. No problem, says the easyJet website, it'll cost you €75. That's almost as much as the original return ticket cost, but the fare has risen since then, so you have to pay the difference.

Just out of curiosity, I checked Ryanair. Whenever I've done this previously, although the route exists in theory, there have never been any actual flights available. But lo! This time, lots of flights, and seemingly very cheap fares. So we decided that I would use the easyJet ticket, and we'd buy fresh tickets from Ryanair for MamaDuck. By the time we'd got to the end of the Ryanair booking it was €78 (with compulsory online check-in @ €5 each way, 1 hold bag @ €10 each way). Ho hum. We booked it anyway.

Yesterday I went onto easyJet.com to change the name on the original ticket. I had an idea this would cost €30. And so it did, each way. Plus another €55 to cover the difference in fare since we originally bought it and what the fare is now. This is blatant robbery, so I aborted the transaction. For a laugh, I checked easyJet's refund policy. You're right, they don't have one. Actually, I'm lying - the policy is that they don't give refunds. I'm lying again. They do give refunds in exceptional circumstances, but these are in the form of credits to your account (minus a 'reasonable' handling fee) and they have to be used within six months. So if anyone wants a cheap flight from Madrid to Liverpool and back, you can have my ticket for €200.

By now, though, I'm quick keen on going to England for a bit - it's been way too hot for far too long here in Madrid - so I've booked with Ryanair too.


Anonymous said...

Recently, The Times made an interesting survey about that which showed that Ryanair is more expansive than BA or Aer Lingus on some routes.

moryarti said...

agree .. budget airlines are only "cheap" if you plan (and purchase) your trip months ahead and pray to god that nothing will force to make any changes to any detail in your travel plan..

Ynot said...

Ryanair has got to be one of the worst customer service providers on the Western world. I flately refuse to fly with them even when they sell (occasionally) a cheaper fare.

Whenever I need to fly to the UK (montly more or less) I tend to go with easyjet. Surprisingly, Iberia and BA tend to have low fares now and again. Or at least, fares which are a few euros more than the low costs, but with the added bonus of airmiles and something approaching bearable customer service.

Notice how I say "approaching".

Whatever happened to good airlines?

When did they dissapear?

nzm said...

Then you have to remember that they also don't always fly into the closest airport in town.

Friends of mine got stung - this was before we moved here.

Ryanair into Barcelona landed in Girona which is over an hour away by train!

CafeMark said...

Way too hot in Madrid? Only a little while until November/December - and you'll be looking out for snow on the surrounding mountains. Continental climate hey? At least you get the sun there, not so much in England. Cheers, Mark