A flight with Ryanair is a lot, but a premium travel experience is never mentioned.
However, what happens when money is thrown into a trip with the low-cost Irish airline?
A travel expert has filmed a fascinating attempt to make a £14 Ryanair flight ‘first class’ by taking a limousine to the airport, buying all the extras, booking a spare seat next to him on the plane and sparkling to drink. He described part of the trip as a “mess” and “on the verge of a scam,” but parts of the trip had been vastly improved, he revealed.
Nicky Kelvin, head of The Points Guy UK, filmed a fascinating attempt to make a £14 Ryanair flight ‘first class’. Step One – Airport Limousine (above)
The Escape Lounge cheered Nicky on after meeting ‘rude’ security personnel
The experiment was conducted by Nicky Kelvin, head of The Points Guy UK, who began a journey to Madrid, via London Stansted, by donning a smart suit and driving an S class Mercedes to the airport with the help of a company called ‘Wheely’ (€204).
He said, “The car arrived on time. It was incredibly comfortable with a professional, smartly dressed driver who set the temperature and radio volume to the desired levels and provided Evian with water.”
He had paid for quick security at the airport (£7), but said the experience was ‘not premium…with rude staff showing passengers around’.
However, the Escape Lounge (£22.99 or use Priority Pass) cheered him up.
He described this as “not the most luxurious”, but it was a space “to escape the hustle and bustle of the airport with free food and drink and comfortable seats”.
After buying a travel pillow (£14.99) to increase comfort in the air, it was time to get on board.
Nicky bought a travel pillow £14.99) to increase comfort in the air
And this is where the journey went wrong.
Nicky had paid for priority boarding (£20.85), but said: ‘The boarding process itself was a mess. Priority boarding was ignored and once you got through the boarding gate all passengers had to wait about 15 minutes in a stairwell with bags in tow until they were finally allowed to cross the tarmac to board the plane.”
On board the experience improved again (mostly) – as Nicky had secured seat 1A up front (£20), paid for the seat next to him to improve the space factor (£34.99) and ordered himself a glass of prosecco (£20) 6) and a hot beef lasagna (£5.10).
Nicky booked seat 1A and the seat next to him for that premium feeling
The Prosecco on board. Unfortunately, says Nicky, it was served warm
Nicky’s Beef Lasagna Was A Winner – He Described It As ‘Delicious’
UPGRADE A RYANAIR FLIGHT
Step 1: Change into something smarter
Step 2: Treat yourself to a luxurious ride to the airport (£204.60)
Step 3: Pay for the fast-track security lane (£ 7)
Step 4: Buy lounge access for your flight (£22.99 or use Priority Pass)
Step 5: Buy yourself a comfortable travel pillow (£14.99)
Step 6: Get priority boarding (£20.85)
Step 7: Reserve seat 1A (£20)
Step 8: Book another ticket and reserve an empty seat next to you (£34.99)
Step 9: Order prosecco once on board (£6)
Step 10: Provide a Quality Meal (£5.10)
Source: The Points Guy UK for a trip from Stansted to Madrid.
He told MailOnline Travel: ‘Sitting in seat 1A with an empty seat next to me, I felt I had the best seat on board. Being served first, getting off the plane first and having virtually unlimited legroom and space was a huge bonus. ‘
The Prosecco, meanwhile, was ‘about as fancy as on board’ and it was ‘hot and served in a plastic cup and therefore not so nice’. But the lasagna was ‘delicious’.
And the verdict?
We asked Nicky how his experience compared to, say, paying for a business trip with BA.
He said: ‘Some elements were worth the money and some were almost a scam.
‘The luxury transport to the airport provided a great start to the trip, but of course you can also take a luxury car if you fly with any airline.
‘You’d have a better time in some British Airways lounges flying business class and you’d also enjoy cold champagne and better food from Do & Co on board – although to my taste buds the lasagna was a winner.
“Paying for a front row seat and the spare seat next to me, assuming it can be bought at a reasonable price, has created real value for me and I would definitely recommend this as an important way to extend the Ryanair experience improve.
‘Even in British Airways’ European business class [“Club Europe”]Except in the front row, you sit in the same seats as economy passengers, although the middle seat automatically remains free.
“The priority boarding option in my case was a complete waste of money and not honored by the airline.
“Generally speaking, it comes down to the price. If you really want a premium experience, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to match British Airways’ overall business class experience with a low-cost airline and low-cost airlines such as Ryanair will remain the choice for those who are primarily concerned with cost.”
For more information on travel tips and tricks, sign up at The Points Guy UK. To see Nicky’s video in full, click here.