Q1 2021 ends much like last year's Q1 ended in the middle of a pandemic. One full year of the corona pandemic; crazy to think a year ago, it all started. Now with the first quarter of 2021 finished, it's time to take another look at my portfolio and see how it faired during these challenging times. Did my portfolio continue to rocket to the moon, or did it orbit a bit and crash back down?
June is here and the summer holidays are right around the corner, well, for most of us. Perfect time for a (small) family vacation. What better way to get away from the daily grind than to book a cheap flight to that beautiful city you’ve been planning to visit or some other nice destination away from everything that grinds your gears.
Budget airlines like Ryanair seem perfect for us FIRE aficionados. Their major selling point, ultra-low plane tickets, is perfect for us who are trying to reach FIRE by reducing their costs but still want to get away from it all from time to time.
You appear to save a ton of money and still get to experience a nice holiday abroad. Tickets go as low as 50 EUR for a two-way flight to Dublin with Ryanair. A similar flight with Aer Lingus is almost double that. What’s not to like, right? Well, for me, enough to not fly with them. Ever. Let me elaborate.
My limit to limiting expenses
I consider myself a frugal person, though I’m not completely honest when I write that. While it’s correct that I do watch how I spend my money, there are two things where I tend to splurge:
- Sports equipment
I don’t think I have to explain why it’s easy to spend money on these two points? A perfect example of both is my recent winter holiday. It was on the more expensive side given I bought a new snowboard instead of a second-hand one and stayed at a 4-star hotel near the glacier.
So, I do enjoy spending a bit on holidays. I get the most enjoyment out of my holidays when I can relax from the beginning of my holiday all the way till the end. This includes the trip to my destination. When I don’t have to worry about extra things. This holds especially true when it comes to traveling further using (budget) airlines.
The first and foremost reason for me to ignore budget airlines, especially Ryanair, is how the company operates and does business. you don’t always see this side but recent incidents with RyanAir does bring it to the surface.
When as recent as this year I read that Ryanair keeps on trampling on its clients by trying to prevent thousands of claims from being processed in accordance with Belgian law, it makes me adamant not to fly with them. Especially when these grounded claims came after a series of strikes which in turn happened due to bad treatment of its employees.
The second biggest reason is hidden costs. I opened with a snippet from Google Flight with very cheap flights to Dublin. What you can already see in that snippet is the lack of, well, anything.
These hidden costs are worst with Ryanair. Not only do check bags cost extra like with most budget airlines, oh no, but Ryanair also carries it one step further and asks extra for anything more than a small (soft) bag or backpack.
If you think Ryanair will make it easy for you when you need a larger bag, then you are sorely mistaken. Every step of the process you are bombarded with options and choices. When you stick to just one extra checked bag the prices shoot up to well above €100 (at the time of writing I came out at ~€110) and very close to the price of a not-so-budget airline.
So you pay €20 less, but at what costs? As mentioned earlier, the way Ryanair does business is anything but savory. This becomes clear once again through Google Flights with the nice little red warning “Often delayed by 30+ min”. The reason for these delays is not hard to figure out: too tight schedules, bad communication, rushed safety and security checks, etc.
To top it off, you also get less leg room in the standard seats (unless you pay extra of course) so for people over 180 cm, you won’t sit comfortably and are almost forced to pay more for “better” seats.
With all of the above annoyances, I really can’t bring myself to spend a single euro on Ryanair tickets. To me, going for the cheapest choice isn’t always the best choice. There are moments where it’s worth considering paying that little bit extra to get a lot more.
I like to enjoy my holidays to the fullest. When the start is already full of frustrations it brings down at least part of the whole package. It’s why I don’t fly budget and specifically, fly with Ryanair.