How bad is Ryanair\’s booking system normally?

I\’ve been trying to book flights on the website for two days now.

Goes all the way through to taking credit card details then falls over.

Tried phoning them and the queue is too long for them to take it (even though they charge for a call to them!).

So, how common is this then? That the airline that you cannot book with through anyone else screws up like this?

24 comments on “How bad is Ryanair\’s booking system normally?

  1. If it’s taken credit card details then fallen over it is entirely likely you now have 20-odd reservations on the same flight. And of course being Cryanair you will never see that money again.

  2. It is possible that you now have 20 reservations on the same flight; but if you haven’t received any confirmation emails then you’re probably ok. Check with your bank that your card is still working ok, not overdrawn or temporarily banned from online transactions due to suspected fraud. These things do happen.

  3. Go into browser settings and delete all cookies and it will work. And yes, it is pathetic. I cannot imagine how much business you lose when you are unable to take money that people are trying to give to you.

  4. “So, how common is this then? That the airline that you cannot book with through anyone else screws up like this?”

    It’s very uncommon. Ryanair are particularly good at identifying key areas of their business and making sure they’re appropriately funded to maximise revenue despite cost-cutting elsewhere. They’re one of the few major companies who actually have a half-decent IT department.

    I would hazard a guess that the problem’s not at Ryanair’s end or we’d have heard more about it. It’s simply an example of how hard it is to code for the web with all those different OS/browser/plug-in setups out there and no reliable standard.

  5. I had exactly the same problem with Ryanair last week, and after many fruitless attempts and a process of trial and error stumbled on the solution outlined by Michael Jennings above.

    I won’t be using Ryanair again…

  6. It has been observed that once you get to booking it falles over. Then when you retry the price has gone up…

  7. Dave: I have had the same problem as Tim from time to time over the last few months. I agree it is surprising – taking money from you is one thing Ryanair is usually good at – but there does appear to have been an ongoing foulup here.

  8. Ryanair gives British Airways (aka IAG) an excuse for the prices they charge.

    Still more, some people will fly BA and pay the premium to avoid having to deal with Ryanair.

    Michael O’Leary might be a cunt (okay, is a cunt), but anyone who regularly sticks it to the EU will remain on my list of preferred (if not loved) suppliers…

    What other airline would fly to Skavsta and have the balls to call it “Stockholm Skavsta”.

    Ryanair, sure, hate them, but fly with them and drink the price differential to BA.

  9. John Galt – what price differential? by the time you add in all the Ryanair extras, the fare tends to be roughly the same as BA and at least you know that the BA plane will take off at the scheduled time.

  10. O’Leary’s public sticking-it-to-the-EU plays well with the UKIP audience, but is complete and utter balls and he knows it. His entire business model is dependent on the EU; without it he’d be stuck shuttling people to and from Eire. Which isn’t much of a short-haul hub.

    As diogenes suggests, the price difference between Ryanair and proper airlines on major routes is usually small. The *existence* of Ryanair keeps proper airline prices lower than in cartelly days (hence why Ryanair is now Spain’s leading carrier and Iberia shorthaul is effectively being closed down), but that doesn’t mean you need to actually fly with the bastards if you get the choice.

    However, Ryanair are the least worst option if you need to go from (e.g.) Newcastle to Krakow, or similar second-tier city pairs. BA would sell you a ticket to Warsaw via London and tell you to get a cab ride at the Polish end, while LOT would do the same thing in reverse.

  11. Its gotta be said I love Easyjet and Ryanair . Its like being on a school trip or something. It would be great if they did intercontinental on the same model. . Plus they sell decent beer, London Pride which is better than the pissy larger crap you get with other airlines

  12. I will no longer fly Ryanair unless noone else does the route. They make their pricing deliberately opaque and once you have been fined at the check in desk for whatever mistake you have made in their procedure they are no longer that cheap. I would rather give the money up front to someone else who treats people as customers rather than as suckers who they examine minutely for a reason to add extra charges for privilege of being allowed on the plane.

  13. @john b, that Newcastle-Krakow thing gets me thinking. That kind of route they do maybe 2-3 times a week, at odd and unpredictable times, that will change on an almost weekly basis dependent on demand. They aren’t even attempting to compete with scheduled airlines, they are attempting to attract people who would otherwise drive in a clapped-out rustbucket.

    For those like me who bemoan the death of point-to-point full service travel (British Airways killed it and became Heathrow Airways when I was still living in the UK, now Lufthansa are doing the same in Germany and retreating to the Frankfurt/Munich bases, leaving the rest to the “budget airlines that are anything but when you add it all up”), you only ever use these shysters because there is no choice.

    The cheapos have a handful of major cost advantages, a big one being using cheap airports, indeed airports that pay the airlines for landing there. My local (FRA) charges around €30 departure fee per passenger on an economy class european flight. Business or long-haul (or both) and that fee goes up a lot. But that is ( on the part of the cheapos) just another cost externalisation on to most of its customers. There is little point flying to most of their airports because they are in the middle of nowhere and you then face a €100+ taxi bill to get anywhere.

    I digress. The cheapos are basically lying about being cheap. They have successfully marketed themselves as “no frills”. Time for the big boys to market themselves as “no hidden surcharges” methinks.

  14. I would suggest reading this if you are interested in how Ryanair makes (or at least made) money. The percentage of their revenues that came from being paid by airports, local governments, and other rather opaque bubble related organisations to fly to the places that they do at one point was quite extraordinary.

    Imagine you are a Spanish regional government that has used local construction firms to build an entirely pointless airport in the middle of your region using money lent to the construction companies by the regional bank. Nobody actually wants to fly there, but in order to maintain the illusion that the airport is in some way a viable and ongoing business for a little longer, you need flights to go there. So you pay Michael O’Leary to fly Ryanair’s planes there and bring x number of passengers there a year. You claim that these passengers are vital to your local tourism business and so it is a worthwhile subsidy, and some marketing promotion board that is supposedly funded by local business (but has borrowed money from that same regional bank) pays this, due to the fact that state subsidies of this kind are illegal. Ryanair then offers the flights, and prices them as cheaply as necessary to fill the seats. Three or four years ago that really did mean you could fly from Britain to Spain for less than £10 return, and sometimes as little as 2p return. (In order to get the essentially free fares, you would have to pay with the right kind of debit card, not take checked luggage, and usually fly on a Tuesday or Wednesday, but as long as you did this the cheap or free fares were perfectly real, and plenty of people took advantage of them. These weren’t exactly the sorts of customers who patronised five star hotels or three star restaurants when they got wherever it is that they were going, though, so the justification that the subsidy boosted the tourist economy much was always a lie).

    The people running the airport, the regional government, the construction companies, the regional bank, the tourist promotion board and everything else were all in fact related to one another, and all taking a cut.

    The presence of the Ryanair flights were part of the Potemkin Village aspect of the whole thing: they created the illusion that there was some real economic activity when in fact there was very little.

    Over the last couple of years – it is amazing that it took that long – it has been noticed that the Spanish regional banks are in fact completely bust, and they are unable to make more stupid loans that are never going to be able to be repaid. So this has stopped.

    Thus you can’t fly to Spain (or anywhere) for 2p or £10 any more. The cheapest flights to anywhere now tend to be around the £50 return mark. There has been a particularly dramatic increase in the cost of flights to Spain. Ryanair’s frequencies to Spain are way down, and their destinations are much less in the middle of nowhere. (Most of their flights to “Barcelona” are now actually to Barcelona rather that to Girona or Reuss). Their fares have gone up quite a lot, and they are much more competing on flights to regular airports with other airlines. (Their biggest piece of recent growth is to have opened a big base in Budapest after Hungarian national airline Malev went bust. This was all about picking up existing passengers who no longer had an airline to fly on rather than creating new business). They are leaving quite a few of their aircraft sitting on the ground in winter rather than flying them around full of people who have paid very little. They have also done quite well flying domestically in EU countries where the national carrier has traditionally dominated domestic routes and competitors have been kept out using various anticompetitive tricks – Italy, Spain, and Germany, mainly. (Other discount airlines have also been doing this – witness the recent triumphant press release from Easyjet when they finally managed to get permission to fly from Rome to Milan).

    So Ryanair’s business model has been becoming less different from traditional airlines than it was. And as other people have noted, the fares have been becoming more similar too.

  15. Curiously, was booking a Ryanair flight to Germany today and had the exact same problem. Suspect what caused it was my attempt to open a pop up window on the credit card in a new tab, this took me back to the initial booking screen. Suspect something on the initial screen then resets the state of the user’s booking.

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