Martin Lewis trick could save up to 60 per cent for families flying with Ryanair
Financial guru Martin Lewis has unveiled a money-saving trick passengers can use when booking Ryanair flghts. The advice particularly benefits families with children under 12.
The budget airline may offer regular cheap flights but the price can rise when adding on extras like cabin bags, seat reservations and priority boarding per person per flight.
It offers different levels of fare including regular, value and plus and generally pushes the ‘regular’ price through advertising, where customers can pay around £20.85 for the extras.
But Martin Lewis has revealed on ITV show This Morning and his website that if you choose the ‘value’ fare first and then add on the extras, you could save money.
And while this is a process we at The Family Holiday Guide always try, Martin says many don’t and instead ‘buy the ticket the airline wants you to buy’.
Martin Lewis told viewers: “In tests we’ve done, 16 out of 20 times you would be better off to get its ‘value’ fare – its cheapest fare – and then add on these extras yourself. In one case it was over 60 per cent cheaper.”
“So when booking with Ryanair, start with the value fare then add on – that’s usually the best way.”
Why this works best when travelling with children
The trick works best when travelling with children.
This is because children under 12 automatically get ‘free’ reserved seating with Ryanair, thanks to its family seating policy, which is designed to ensure children sit with their parents.
With this, at least one adult must reserve a seat (at a cost of around £4 to £6) if travelling with under-12s, and up to four children can be seated next to him or her for free.
Martin Lewis says: “As a result, there’s usually little point selecting a ‘regular’ fare, which has to be applied to everyone in your group, if you’re travelling with children this age.
“On the 10 bookings we checked where kids were part of the group, adding seats, cabin bags and priority boarding separately won every time – even when we selected only the priciest seats in rows 18-33.”
The Money Saving Expert website features 20 other Ryanair cost-cutting tips.
Ryanair extends its summer schedule with three new routes for 2020 on sale now
Ryanair has announced three new Manchester routes to Denmark, France and Ireland, starting in March 2020.
The airline will be flying to Copenhagen (daily), Kerry (twice weekly) and Paris Beauvais (four times a week), as part of its extended UK Summer 2020 schedule.
It is also increasing flights throughout the summer to Shannon in Ireland, from five to six times a week.
Ryanair’s Eimear Ryan said: “Manchester consumers and visitors can now book their summer holidays on 66 routes as far out as October 2020, flying on the lowest fares and with the greenest/cleanest major airline in Europe, with the lowest CO2 emissions per passenger/kilometre.”
To celebrate the new Manchester routes, Ryanair has launched a seat sale on its European network with fares from £14.99 for travel from now until the end of March 2020, which must be booked by Thursday, January 23, only on the Ryanair.com website.
Ryanair announces ‘Awesome Autumn’ sale on winter and spring flights
Airline Ryanair has today cut the price of a million seats on flights by 25 per cent.
The ‘Awesome Autumn’ sale applies to flights between November (2019) and May (2020).
The offer runs until Sunday, October 13.
Ryanair’s Alejandra Ruiz said: “This week we’re cutting 25 per cent off one million seats across our European network for travel between November and May, so it’s a perfect time to plan a bargain breakaway between these months.
“This amazing offer will end at midnight on Sunday, 13 October so customers should log on quickly and take advantage of this amazing Autumn discount today.”
For more details visit the Ryanair.com website.
After disruption to many families summer holiday trips, Ryanair’s boss says he’s “hopeful” there won’t be any more strikes across Europe.
Irish pilots took strike action on July 20 and 24 – which marked the start of the school holidays – in a dispute with the airline over pay and conditions.
Cabin and ground staff in Spain, Italy, Portugal and Belgium, also took separate action saying Ryanair hadn’t addressed problems they have highlighted.
Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary said: “I am hopeful and optimistic that we are making real progress with the unions and that we won’t have any further damage to the business this year.”
A significant number of the flights affected in the summer were on the busy UK-Ireland routes.
Compare the cost of booking your seat on Ryanair, Easyjet, British Airways, Jet2 and the rest
Let’s be honest – paying to choose your seat is a tax on families.
Business travellers and even couples are not as bothered about sitting together for flight, but when you have young children, you have no choice.
Airlines have to do their best to sit families together but this is not always possible. And there are reports of airlines scattering passengers who haven’t prepaid for seats around the plane to deter them from risking it again.
How much does it cost to choose your seat on an airline?
So what is the cost of booking your seat?
We assessed the cheapest available on a route from Manchester to Spain in June.
||Price per person
|| from £3
|| from £4.49
|| from £6
|| from £6.50
|| from £7
|| from £8
|| from £9
|| from £13
The price is fairly varied with a £10 difference between the cheapest Ryanair and the most expensive Thomas Cook.
It doesn’t sound much but multiply that by four or more seats and double it for the return and you could be looking at £80 extra for your holiday.
Don’t forget there are special deals for families on some airlines and offers to buy a deal including luggage, seat and meal which can be better value.
The most comprehensive chart on airlines is this one from the Civil Aviation Authority.
Check the prices of hold luggage from Ryanair, EasyJet, British Airways, Jet2 and the rest
Hold luggage is the most expensive hidden cost on a low air fare ticket.
Unlike business travellers and couples, most families need to take at least one suitcase in the hold to carry all the extra bits and pieces children need.
So we decided to test all the major airlines to find out the true cost of a suitcase.
Our search assumed one 20kg or nearest equivalent bag on a short haul flight to Spain or equivalent distance travelling in June.
Is Ryanair among the cheapest?
||Cost per kg
Our winner was Thomas Cook, followed by Norwegian.
What our sample shows is the airlines have clearly come to a view of a rough price they can get away with for luggage.
They aren’t really competing on this cost, unlike the headline fare price.
The luggage price per kilo is fairly similar with the overall price ranging from £19 to £26.
Some of the airlines offer deals for families and cheaper luggage for children, for example, so always do your own check.
There are special deals for buying luggage, seats and meals which could reduce the overall cos too.
See our hand luggage comparison guide here.
*The most comprehensive chart on airlines is this one from the Civil Aviation Authority.
Read about our experience of flying with Ryanair for a family break
When Monarch collapsed a week before our holiday was due to start we had to rush to book alternative flights.
The only option to our destination was Ryanair. At 6am in the morning I had to negotiate the booking process on my laptop, knowing lots of other people were scrambling to do the same after losing flights with Monarch.
In the end, to save time, I went for a family pack, which at £103 included two suitcases, priority boarding and seat selection.
With more time, I may have been able to pick and choose some of those options for slightly less money.
It is clear Ryanair are trying to make their process a little more straightforward but it can still be a minefield of potential charges.
Ryanair’s fleet is one of the youngest around. That means most planes are modern, clean and quiet. Ours was pretty good although not the newest they have.
As usual, overhead locker space was at a premium. We used our trick of one adult boarding early to sort out the children’s activities, drinks, snacks etc and putting bags in the locker. The second adult boarded later with the children so they had more time to stretch their legs.
The seats are modern on Ryanair’s fleet
The seats were surprisingly comfortable and in good condition. The legroom was fine but Ryanair, like lots of short-haul airlines, maximises space by taking away the pocket in which to put your valuables.
That can be a pain when you have children’s drinks, magazines and general paraphernalia, which has to go somewhere.
There were just two toilets which meant some queues. The heat was quite intense too, awaiting take-off on our return journey.
The offering is fairly basic with the usual snacks and drinks. Pre-ordered hot meals are the first to come round followed by the drinks and snacks trolley.
It was all efficient except they ran out of change for some passengers on the way back.
Ryanair is aiming to be more family-friendly but are they going far enough?
There were some nice touches.
Children’s pushchairs/strollers and car seats can be put in the hold for free but that is the same as other airlines.
Priority boarding with the family pack is useful and they are currently offering discounts on bags and seat reservations for families.
We didn’t have any complaints, boarding was smooth and efficient, the flights landed on time, there were no queues at check-in at either airport.
But as we all know, the problem with Ryanair is if something goes wrong, then you’re often on your own. We were lucky and found it to be stress-free.
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Read our results to find out which airline offers the best carry-on luggage allowance.
It is a minefield – is your hand luggage bag too big, too heavy or the wrong shape?
In our experience, hand luggage bags are rarely checked or weighed but we have been caught out before so get it right before you leave home.
Here is our guide to major European budget airlines hand luggage limits.
Our hand luggage comparison guide
||55x40x20, plus smaller handbag
||No weight limit
||56x45x25 and a laptop bag/handbag
*If you want a bigger bag you pay £5 each way to guarantee priority boarding to bring it on the plane or put it in case in the hold for free.
The best overall winner for size and weight is Easyjet.
Easyjet is the winner in this category
But any airline allowing a bigger bag and 10kg limit should be fine – it can be very difficult to hit 5 or 6kg limits on baggage as often the cases themselves weigh 2 or 3kgs.
The most comprehensive chart on airlines is this one from the Civil Aviation Authority.
See our hold luggage comparison guide here.