It’s been a while since a lot of us have hopped on that plane and had that warm rush of air the other side when you step off. I was lucky to squeeze a few trips in last year, but this was the first non-package holiday we’ve been on in some time, and therefore the first Ryanair flight we’ve taken. There had been some changes to Ryanair baggage policies and charges since we last flew with them. So I thought I would give you my Ryanair tips for flying with them and making you money go further.

Lucy standing in front of a Ryanair plane

Booking the Flights

My first of my Ryanair Tips is all about the flights themselves. For money saving options, make sure you check all airport availability and the flight timings by day. We had a choice of leaving at 10pm the Saturday night or 10am the Sunday morning. The morning cost a lot more and it would cost a hotel toom too, so the later option saved us around £300 in total! If you are flexible on days then go through the options and work through what works best.

Baggage Hacks

You knew the second of my Ryanair Tips had to be about baggage right?! You know I can’t travel light, and currently the value fare on Ryanair just includes one under seat bag. That’s a very small tote bag or a Cabin Max backpack. Some of you maybe able to do this, I know Kariss has just used one on a stay to Berlin. Hats off Kariss! I bought one to use as my hand luggage to hold my designer items etc so I didn’t have to check them in. Plus I put my handbag in there too as you aren’t allowed both.

What I would say is, I did see people with bigger bags that what’s allowed for under seat. No one was stopped but if you get into case territory and don’t have one booked you would get pulled up. A larger beach bag, or rucksack would be fine I would say though.

As we were travelling as a pair, we didn’t upgrade to either of the set options offered at the booking stage. To compare costings on the set upgrades vs what we did…. Remember the same fare must be booked by both parties, and for both journeys :

  • Regular Fare – £24.50 each – priority, 2 cabin bags and selected reserved seats (I presume the £9 ones) – extra £98
  • Plus Fare – £49.99 each- 20kg check in bag, and selected reserved seats. (Free check in at airport too)- extra £199.96
  • Priority and Cabin bags £12 pp/pf £48
  • 20kg Check In – £39.99 p/f £80 for one

I paid £30 each way for my 20kg bag, not sure why its different now, but that made it £60 for the trip, saving £40 on the Regular Fare. Plus it saved us carting about smaller cases at the airport. We shared the one big bag so was worth it. Look on for reserving seats though, as if that’s your preference a regular fare could work out a smidge cheaper.

Reserving Seats

My tip for this is, don’t. unless you are super fussy or have to sit with each other then its not worth it. However, what I did this time was checked in, and then it gives you the chance to move seats. So instead of paying £18 for us both, I moved Luke to the spare seat next to me and just paid £9. Often people will swap too, but the stewards may stop this, more so if its an empty seat, as they will talk about the balancing of the plane. Plus, its not fair on those who have paid really is it.

Also if you are flying to Barcelona try and get the F letter window seat, you’ll get amazing views of the city that way. I was peeking through people to finally manage to get a glimpse of the Sagrada Familia from the sky.

On the way back I’d debated buying extra leg room seats so we could sleep, but refrained. Luckily Luke was allocated one when I checked in, and there was one spare next to him so again I paid just £19 not £38 to get us both next to each other, and with extra leg room. Of course this doesn’t always happen, but if you want to take a chance it can save some money! so overall seat upgrades cost us £28. Still £10 cheaper than the regular fare upgrade, and much less than the plus fare.

View of Barcelona at night with the plane wing in shot

Fast Track

We went through Manchester T3 which has recently re-opened. So much so our parking had booked us for T1, luckily its the same multi-storey for both so didn’t matter. The security queue went all the way down past the check-ins to the end of the terminal. Our fast track that I bought when checking in with Ryanair for £5 each meant nothing at this point. So we had to stand for about 20 mins in the queue until we got closer to security and where the fast track lane started. Once in that we were through in 5 mins. others were queuing for about 30 mins at least from there. We did get a bag search though and that took forever too so always allow extra time.

On the way back I got passport control fast track too. I got that through holiday extras for another £5 each. It was for T1, but they said it would work and it didn’t. So we just joined one of the faster track queues and explained. Again the queues were huge. I’d say around 20-30 mins at least so worth the tenner to get home faster.

Hopefully my Ryanair tips have helped you in planning your next flight and helped you save money. Let me know if you put any to use.