RyanAir is making some changes to its fees structure that passengers should be aware of: for all flights booked after May 5, checked baggage fees are increasing to £8/€10 for the first bag booked online (£16/€20 if purchased at the airport), £16/€20 for each additional bag (max. 3 total) whether online or airport. This does not include the mandatory airport check-in fee for luggage checkers, which has also been raised to £4/€5 whether online or airport. RyanAir claims they will continue to raise this price until meeting their goal of 50% of travelers checking in online with no checked luggage! The quick math on this one: if you plan on checking one bag (max. 15kg), you will add an additional £12/€15 (travelers with multiple bags will pay up to £52/€65 extra, even if they stay within regulations) to each leg of your journey. Put another way, pack less and carry on, you’ll trim at least £24/€30 off your round-trip travel costs. Even if you invest that money at your destination in large bottles of liquids, clothing items or books you might not fit in up-front, you can still come out ahead.
Another fee change is that priority boarding will no longer be included “free” for web check-in customers. It will now cost an increased £4/€5 for everyone, and can be purchased for the same price whether booking online or last-minute at the airport. At the same time, they are making it possible to change passenger names online., but have yet to update their fee schedule to include the change. I’ll update here with the information as soon as it’s available. You’ll now pay the same £80/€100 to do it yourself (naturally they’ve increased the call centre fees for this service to £120/€150)!
Also important to note is that RyanAir is no longer accepting “Advance Passenger Information” (APIS) at the airport, instead requiring passengers to submit this information online at least four hours prior to their flight. APIS is collected for use by the Spanish authorities on all passengers traveling from Poland, Slovakia, Morocco, Malta, the UK and Ireland. If you have not submitted this information, you will be denied check-in! It is easiest to fill out the APIS at the same time you purchase your ticket. You should be prompted following checkout, otherwise instructions are included on your booking receipt.
Finally, the airline has announced new routes for the fall. The last week of October, RyanAir will begin flying from Bremen to Fuerteventura, Gothenburg, Marrakesh, and Tenerife; Bournemouth to Milan and Paris; Glasgow to Faro, Malaga, and Tenerife; and Marseille to Agadir, Brest, Lille, Nador, and Tangier.
Better find another way to San Jose: This Just In is reporting that Megabus is ending service in California and adding East Coast service between NYC and Boston, Washington, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Buffalo, Atlantic City, and Toronto. Fares starting at just $1 (plus 50-cent fee per reservation) are available at the website; random searching of these new routes brought up plenty of $1-$5 fares for the coming three months, but it certainly pays to book early.
Megabus has also expanded their popular Midwestern service to include routes to Normal and Champaign, IL, Columbia, MO and Memphis, TN since I first posted about them in January.
Finally, while higher gasoline and diesel prices have sent airfares through the roof and launched a trend of “staycationing” across the U.S., drivers and travelers across the world are also feeling the pinch — to the tune of three times what American drivers are paying per gallon. In Europe, one finds it’s often cheaper to fly — even domestically — than to fill the tank and drive; most of the rest of the world has developed rail systems, which provide a cheaper and stress-free alternative to driving or renting a car. If you’re in a city, the New York Times reminds us that mass transit is the best way to go. And when the going gets tough, you’ll find some Europeans are bucking their high gas prices by leaving the continent completely . . . for a bargain-basement driving vacation in the U.S.! It’s all about perspective, isn’t it?