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Unlike many frequent travellers, I am actually pretty supportive of Ryanair. Yes they’re dreadful if you get something wrong, but even when they’re fleecing you because you’ve forgotten your boarding pass or your hand luggage won’t fit in that frame-thing, its cheaper than it used to be and they’re just generally doing it with less of an evil grin on their face.
The upside of them, if used obediently, is also massive. You really can get some superb value intra-European travel. Indeed so much so, that we’ve even included the Ryanair fare finder in our InsideFlyer Top 10 Insider Travel Tips.
But it’s not all good…
There’s one very sneaky little rort Ryanair still have going, which you need to be aware of as it’s very easy to be caught out by it.
Ryanair’s dynamic and demand-based pricing system has a certain number of fares available at a certain price.
However, a problem arises if you make a group booking for more people than there are fares left at a particular price (e.g. there are 5 seats left at £51.99, but you book for 6 people).
The issue is that, rather than “mop up” the lesser fares to the extent they remain, Ryanair will charge ALL your seats at the higher price (to revert to my example, rather than charging 5 seats at £51.99 and 1 at £61.99, Ryanair will charge all 6 at £61.99).
Here is the above booking for 6 people:
To be clear, this £61.99 price is not a combining of 5 x £51.99 plus the cost of the 6th seat. If you book the 5 seats at £51.99, the 6th seat will be available at £61.99, not more.
There is, however, a very easy way to beat this – you may well have guessed it already.
- Always do a test booking of any route for just one person, and see how many seats are left at the lower price.
- Next, book as many of the lower priced seats as there are left
- Finally, book the rest of your seats at the higher price, as a separate booking.
Any problems with this workaround?
Yes, you’ll have 2 bookings to administrate, although that’s hardly onerous. You’ll also have to rely on there being seats available for the separate bookings near each other, if that matters to you. But for the sake of saving a substantial chunk on some of the airfares, this is an option well worth going ahead with.