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Ryanair and Honeyguide holidays

This page has some notes from our experience of using 'no frills' airlines, especially Ryanair which has a mixed reputation that some find discouraging, but we use them as they fly to airports nicely situated for our holidays.

Ryanair and luggage

Honeyguide practice is to book 'Ryanair Plus' since it was introduced in 2017. We generally don't believe that priority boarding has much merit, especially with seats already reserved. However the Ryanair Plus package of 20kg hold luggage (not 15kg), priority boarding and early check-in without additional charge meets our needs well.

Ryanair announced in January 2018 a revised baggage policy, the headline effect of which means taking a free large bag on board is only possible with priority boarding booked. We are sympathetic to this change: there isn't room in the lockers for one of those small suitcases with wheels for everyone, so many have to go in the hold. This change means larger bags will get tagged for the hold at the departure gate. The airline says it will benefit everyone by more punctual departures. Honeyguiders are generally OK on two counts: (1) we have priority boarding included inthe Ryanair Plus reservation; (2) most Honeyguiders travel with compact bags that stow easily, often under seats.

Ryanair boarding pass with a wrong spelling

The notes below may not be up to date, or what always happens. For a more recent (April 2013) attempt to correct a spelling on a name, after check-in but nearly two weeks before flying, the call centre simply said they'd tell the airport desk. That worked. This was despite an online chat advisor saying they would change it, as described below, if I phoned. Contrary advice — but successful travel, which is the main thing.

Everyone fears that a typo when booking a seat on a flight could mean you can’t take your flight.

This web page is to explain how I dealt with this, and how Ryanair was helpful, contrary to its popular image (see note in right column). I’m publishing this in case anyone is searching online for advice, via their favourite search engine, as I did.

I realised a day before flying to Lourdes in the French Pyrenees in September 2012 that name on my boarding pass said CHRISTOPER and not CHRISTOPHER. A simple typo, but as I was leading a group I couldn't risk being turned away at Stansted.

It was too late for an online name change – which comes at a cost, anyway – as the boarding pass was printed. So I telephoned Ryanair and explained. The UK contact number was 0871 246 0000 and the rate 10p a minute (but check here in case these change).

The lady that I spoke to took no persuading that it was a typo, changed it on Ryanair’s system, and advised me to check in again an hour later, to allow time for the change to be in the system, and print new boarding passes. It may have been there sooner, I don’t know, but I did as advised and an hour later the correctly spelt name showed on updated boarding passes.

At the airport, I presented the old boarding pass – could I have got away with a tiny misspelling? The woman at the bag drop look puzzled. The outcome was that the old boarding pass was rejected as the computer coding showed up as invalid. I apologised for producing the wrong boarding pass and the right one was accepted. She said that you can print copies of boarding passes (I always travel with back-ups) but in this case the updated name meant a new boarding pass, as recognised by the computer system. So I still don’t know if I could have travelled as CHRISTOPER.


EasyJet works similarly. On one occasion, I was able to change a 'Mrs' to 'Miss' on a booking (a mistake in the initial booking) by phoning 0843 104 5000 (check that number here), and it was done without problem or cost. On another occasion, an easyJet boarding pass with the wrong gender went unnoticed, and Mr travelled as a Ms without a problem.


Stick by their rules, and our Ryanair experience is favourable. It’s not a luxury experience but they get you safely from A to B. From Honeyguide’s perspective, we use them, albeit across the programme less than easyJet, as in many cases they fly to airports nicely situated for our holidays.

Examples include Bergerac for the Dordogne and Lourdes for the French Pyrenees. The transfer time to our bases is an hour or so, better than some three hours pre-Ryanair – for both holidays – for the drive from Toulouse.

Chris Durdin, autumn 2012, with later updates.

Back to Honeyguide Travel Tips

"Favourite airline ... Ryanair" says the i's Travel Correspondent Simon Calder. He weighs up the airline's plus and minus points here, which chime with our experience (August 2013).

Ryanair is trying to reduce its annoying features. Read here for changes announced in October 2013. These include a 24 hour grace period from the time of booking to correct any minor errors.

Ryanair has a reputation for being pedantic and unhelpful. For pedantry, I’m thinking about the airline’s enforcement of luggage weight limits, though that’s easier now there’s the option to book 20kg rather than the former standard 15kg, which we do for all Honeyguide travellers who fly with Ryanair. (See below.)

The image of unhelpfulness is partly due to Ryanair Chief Executive Michael O’Leary’s gift for rhetoric. "Love him or loathe him ... refreshingly forthright" says a recent editorial in Travel Weekly. For example, there was when he branded a traveller as an ‘idiot’ when she arrived at the airport without boarding passes and ended up with a large additional cost (story here).

'All publicity is good publicity' is the old maxim. You can dispute that, but it's worth viewing much of what Mr O’Leary says through that prism.

But we still like to poke fun at Ryanair. See Fascinating Aida on 'Cheap Flights' here on YouTube. Then there's the Ryanair Comedy Song by Eric Gudmunsen here.

And a superb British Airways parody here.

Coping with Ryanair’s 15kg checked in luggage allowance used to be a challenge, but they presently give an option (for an extra charge, naturally) for 20kg, the option we take unless you request otherwise.

Nonetheless, these tips may still be useful:

· Start with the lightest suitcase you can. Sailing bags weigh the least and will fold up somewhere out of the way when empty, though don't have wheels.

· Decant shampoo, conditioner, facewash etc into very small bottles, e.g. recycled from complimentary products from hotels. (Liquids need to go into suitcases under current airport security, of course.)

· Pack heavy items (e.g. telescopes) in hand baggage. It’s quite difficult to make that reach the 10KG allowance.

· Wear boots

· Put books in coat pockets

· Luggage allowance isn’t transferable but as everyone gets 15kg (or, now, 20kg), coordinate with fellow travellers.

· Weigh bags in advance

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