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Ryanair charges the most for airline extras

Written by: Emma Lunn
Which? Travel examined the true cost of cheap flights and found Ryanair passengers are being sucked in by low fares, then charged a premium for add-ons.

An investigation by Which? Travel examined how much budget airlines charge for luggage, seat selection and in-flight food.

It found Ryanair offered the cheapest headline prices, but was the most expensive for flight extras.

In the consumer champion’s snapshot research, a Ryanair £48 return flight from London to Alicante in September soared to £170  – more than tripling in price – when the price of checked-in luggage, an assigned seat, and food and drink were added.

Ryanair charged £70 for a 20kg bag to be checked into the hold on the flight. This is the same price as British Airways but BA customers could pack slightly more at 23kg.

In comparison, Thomas Cook would charge £46 for a £20kg bag, and both Norwegian and Jet2 £50.

Ryanair also charges £12 each way for a 10kg bag to be taken on board as carry-on luggage, while BA allows 23kg of hand luggage for free. The budget airline changed its baggage rules in November 2018.

On top of luggage charges, Ryanair charged £14 for assigned seats on the flights in question, and £15 for food and drink.

After adding extras, Which? found Ryanair had a total fare comparable with both British Airways and Jet2, which both rank higher in the consumer champion’s customer satisfaction surveys. It concluded that consumers should not automatically be lured in by a cheap headline price.

The Which? Travel research found that Jet2 had the cheapest combined extras, although it had the second highest ticket cost at £102.

Norwegian Air was the most economic airline overall – £18 less than second-place easyJet. However, Which? described the airline’s 10kg weight limit across two cabin bags as “pretty miserly” when compared with BA’s two 23kg bags or easyJet’s unlimited allowance.

British Airways was the most expensive for assigned seats, but passengers could save £52 by upgrading to its Economy Plus ticket, which includes hold baggage and assigned seats. Similarly, Norwegian’s LowFare+ ticket, which includes seat selection and baggage, would save £22.

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