travel advice & savings
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Aer Lingus vs. Ryanair
ccm's profile picture
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Any tips/comments about choosing between Aer Lingus and Ryanair for inter-Europe flights?
I’m most likely going to choose the cheapest flight of the two, but any opinons of either airline will also help my decision. Is one more reliable than the other?
Has anyone used both and can compare?

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I’ve flown on both, and I think that Ryan Air will give you the feeling of a more “bare bones” approach. (no shades on the windows!). Fares for Aer Lingus have become less expensive than in the past (I recently flew fro Dublin to Frankfurt for 10 euros, for example). Aer lLingus uses major airports, for example CDG (Paris) or FRA (Frankfurt), while Ryan Air’s Paris airport is Beauvais, which is quite far out.
In both cases, the initial fare that you’ll see may be very very low, but the final tally will be higher, once fees are added; thus, my “10 euro” fee for DUBFRA became much higher. The Aer Lingus website is very good at clearly showing you the final price that you’ll pay. Last time that I flew Ryan Air ( a few years ago), I recall that there were even fees added for using a credit card for booking the flight! (Don’t know if that’s still true).
Ryan Air’s baggage allowance is pretty stringent, and I remember having about 1 kg excess baggage weight, and the fee cost more than my original ticket. 
  Read the fine print carefully about issues like baggage allowance,  fees added in the booking process, and costs (money and time) getting from the airport to your destination, then make an “apples to apples…” comparison.

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I’ve flown on Air Lingus quite a while ago and on Ryanair this past summer. As far as flying goes both are fine. I would even say that Ryanair people are more efficient that those working for your average North American airline.

Ryanair typically uses airports that are farther away from their namesake city, thus are more expensive to get to, and have very limited facilities compared to the main ones. It also has ridiculously early check-in times. Air Lingus (unless things have changed) is a traditional airline in a sense that once you pay for your ticket you get at least basic services included. With Ryanair you’d have to pay for web check-in, for any checked luggage, for being able to board before others (there are no seat assignments), and even for water during the flight.

With any airline booking nowadays you need to continue all the way to the payment screen before you find out what is the actual price you are being charged. In the case of Ryanair you must factor in all the extras you may have to pay later. IMHO if after doing price comparison Ryanair is still way cheaper then a legacy competitor, then it worth the trouble flying with them. If the total cost of going with Ryanair is about the same (or more) then with Air Lingus, save yourself the trouble.