Battle of the Budget Airline: Ryanair VS EasyJet

Budget AirlinesBudget airlines have been an absolute life saver when it comes to European travel from the UK.  Because the fares are so cheap, I have no problem in getting on the first flight of the day on a Saturday morning, jetting off, spending 1 night in a European city, seeing some of the sights, trying some of the local food and then getting on the last flight on a Sunday night, back ready in time for work on the Monday morning.  I once flew to Scotland for less than £5!  95% of my budget airline experiences have been hand luggage only, carrying a backpack that is guaranteed to fly with me EVERY time because it fits under the seat in front…even on my recent 7 night trip I only used a backpack that fitted under the seat!  Obviously my experiences are based around this.  Both Ryanair and EasyJet have their pros and cons, I find that price wise they are roughly equal, but which one is better?

* = The airline that does it better out of the two

Ryanair

Destinations

Ryanair tend to fly to random airports on the outskirts of cities.  However they are getting better.  For example, my local airport is London Stansted and it’s a big Ryanair hub…but it’s actually quite a way out from London so then the cost of a train or the coach needs to be considered as part of the price.  When I visited Copenhagen (Denmark), I had to fly home from Malmo, Sweden.  However, even with the bus ticket, in this case it worked out cheaper than getting an EasyJet flight straight from Copenhagen.  It’s worth checking onwards travel from the airport BEFORE booking a flight.

Online Check-In

For the budget travellers, online check in with FREE seat assignment opens 7 days before the flight.  Fine for weekend trips, bit of a pain for longer trips.  I still like to travel with printed boarding passes.  When flying through Lisbon, the airport wasn’t accepting mobile boarding passes and made everyone go and get one printed from the check in desk…and therefore pay an additional Ryanair fee.  It’s just a pain trying to find a printer to get one printed in advance, I’d rather travel knowing I’m already prepared!

*Boarding Cards

Ryanair recently changed theirs and I love them!  Rather than a horizontal tri-fold, they fold into quarters so are passport sized!  One quarter has a little time line that displays information about take off, landing, flight duration and even what you have to change your clock to when you land!

*Checked Luggage

Like many budget airlines you have to pay extra to check in a bag.  Ryanair however have a cheaper option to book less weight (15kg or 20kg).

*Cabin Baggage

2 bags as standard, yay!!!  I rarely travel with a suitcase as hand luggage, (I can’t imagine having to drag it for miles around a city before or after I’ve checked into/out of my accommodation) so I can’t comment on the percentage of the chance of having to put a cabin bag into the hold.  I usually travel with a backpack that’s small enough to fit under the seat as well as a ‘cross body’ bag that has all my important stuff that I like to have easy access too.  I don’t like having important things on my back, especially when travelling solo as there’s no one to help keep an eye out, I HAVE to have my 2nd bag and being allowed 2 means I can max out the space in my backpack.  Weight limit = 10kg.

On Board

The seats are a nasty slippery ‘leather’.  The crew come round with a free inflight magazine that has a couple of travel stories but mainly shows the duty fee and food products.  Even the route map in the back doesn’t have border lines or countries marked.  The annoying thing is, there’s no seat back pocket so then you have to put it on the floor, taking up the already small amount of leg room!

EasyJet

*Destinations

I guess the biggest thing I noticed was when planning my ‘summer’ trip to Croatia was that Ryanair doesn’t serve anywhere on the Adriatic Coast, they only fly to Zadar, the in-land capital city.  During the summer season EasyJet fly into either Split or Dubrovnik, yay!  Both on the coast!

*Online Check-In

The free seat allocation opens 30 DAYS in advance which I think is brilliant.

Boarding Cards

The bog standard tri-fold.

Checked Luggage

EasyJet only offer one option for checked in baggage and that’s for 20kg.  However, they do state on their website that if you are travelling as a couple/family and have booked more than one lot of luggage, you can spread the weight between suitcases.  For example, 1 case can weigh 23kg, as long as the 2nd is no more than 17kg.  There is a limit of 32kg on a single item though.

Cabin Baggage

On a standard ticket, passengers can only have 1 cabin bag…no personal item.  Only Plus, FLEXI and extra legroom customers can have 2 pieces (these tickets obviously cost more).  It’s then annoying because you’ll get people take a suitcase on board and then block up the aisle while they undo their case to get out a smaller bag or stuff they want during the flight.  However, there is no weight limit for cabin bags as long as you can lift it into the overhead locker by yourself.

*On Board

The seats are material and on their newer planes the seats are more streamlined but still comfortable enough for a short haul flight.  There are seat back pockets with sick bags, the duty free and food information and in my option, a pretty decent in flight magazine.  It has lots of interesting travel stories and ‘spotlight’ destinations, the flight route map is packed with information which is then broken down into the different countries and airports that even tells you how much a taxi is to the city centre along with public transport costs and timings.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, it’s pretty even when it comes to who does what better, it’s both 3 things each!  Ryanair is my go to airline, purely for the cabin baggage allowance and the fact that my local airport is mainly Ryanair so I can usually find flight times that suit my needs.  However I think that EasyJet offer a more comfortable on board experience and I love that the online check in opens for free 30 days in advance!

Do you have a go to budget airline?  Which airline out of Ryanair and EasyJet do you prefer? Any positive/negative experiences?  Let me know in the comments below!

(Details on things such as weight limits are correct as of May 2016…please always check before you fly in case things have changed.  Other opinions are my own)

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