Are Ryanair's extra charges all part of the fight against climate change? – Vladimir McTavish

Be careful when flying with Ryanair or it may not be as ‘budget’ as you expected
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This week, Ryanair reported annual profits of more than £1 billion. This is a turnaround from last year’s figures which showed a loss. Obviously, this change in fortunes is the result of increased traveller numbers as the world opens up post-pandemic.

Also, it would not surprise me in the slightest if some smart guy at Ryanair has spent the last 12 months thinking up all the extra charges for stuff other airlines offer free. Take check-in, for example. Book an EasyJet flight and you are able to check in online from the moment you buy your ticket. Ryanair does offer free check-in, but you have to get your timing spot on. Do it too early and you have to pay. Do it too late and you have to pay a whole lot more.

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There is a 22-hour window when can actually check in without charge. Try to do so more than 24 hours before take-off and you are faced with a £10 extra fee to select a seat. I went to select a seat and, guess what? None of the seats available cost £10. Some were 19 quid. Worse still is to leave it too late. Do that and you have to use airport check-in which costs an arm and a leg. Or, more accurately 55 euros. That’s about £48 to you and me.

Ryanair made a profit of more than £1 billion last year (Picture: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)Ryanair made a profit of more than £1 billion last year (Picture: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
Ryanair made a profit of more than £1 billion last year (Picture: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

The first time I flew with the so-called “budget carrier” was over ten years ago. When my wife and I weighed our hold luggage it was nine kilograms overweight, for which we were going to be charged £20 a kilo. Or, to be precise, £180, which was more than the seats cost. In other words, it’s actually cheaper to fly Ryanair in the cabin than in the hold. If I ever fly with them again, I may request to be upgraded to the hold.

According to the online magazine Portugal News, a rumour has recently been doing the rounds that the airline is thinking of charging passengers to use the bathroom. Although this rumour was sparked off by a video on TikTok, it wouldn’t surprise me if it’s true. I seem to remember a few years ago, a similar story emerged that they were thinking of charging a pound to use the toilet. Even if these claims are untrue, they gain credence because of Ryanair’s cynical profiteering.

Thankfully the pound-for-a-pee policy never saw the light of day, as going to the lavvy on a plane is hardly an uplifting experience even when it’s free. Either the rumour was rubbish or Ryanair saw common sense. What may have sounded like a cunning money-raising plan by some bean counter in head office would have been an absolute nightmare for the poor flight attendants having to enforce the rule. Stag parties on the Mallorca flight would probably just urinate at their seats, rather than stump up a quid.

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In fairness, let’s not dismiss Ryanair’s green credentials. As air travel is one of the major contributors to global carbon emissions, they are probably doing much more than any other carrier to combat climate change. Simply by putting us off flying ever again.