The Times of London conducted a little investigation into whether Ryanair’s flights are actually as inexpensive as the airline claims to be. The hunch was that the constant piling on of fees has caused a huge increase in the actual price paid.
The answer? On ten popular short-haul routes from London to Europe, British Airways was cheaper on 7 of them. On three of those routes BA’s base fares were even cheaper than Ryanair’s fares. They give an example of someone checking 20kg of baggage and buying a snack: That would cost GBP 194 on Ryanair, while it’s free on BA. For everyone who has flown Ryanair and been extremely annoyed with the fee situation, this should be a small comfort.
The key takeaway (even in the US…): It’s annoying, but you have to do a little legwork beforehand and figure out the fees. Tripadvisor’s flight comparison tool includes ancillary fees, so that’s a good place to start. The fees aren’t going away, and the government isn’t about to step in and regulate how fees are advertised.