The value of reading the fine print

Highlighting added by EverywhereOnce

Highlighting added by EverywhereOnce

It’s as easy to do as it is to overlook. But consistently paying close attention to details is something that has easily saved us thousands (or is it tens of thousands?) of dollars over the years. That’s especially true when taking advantage of special rates that increasingly come booby-trapped with unexpected fees.

Today’s example comes courtesy of Ryanair, a well known champion of loading their teaser fares with hidden fees. One such fee we hadn’t encountered before is Ryanair’s requirement that passengers check-in and print their boarding passes prior to arriving at the airport. This is an especially tricksy surcharge considering how common it is to get your boarding passes from an agent or a kiosk at the airport.

But if you’re flying Ryanair and show up at the airport without printing your boarding pass beforehand, that simple oversight will cost you an extra €45 / £45 per ticket. Had we not read this little detail in our confirmation e-mail, the flight we thought was going to run a mere €38 would have cost us more than double that amount.

Paying twice as much for something is a pretty steep penalty for not reading the fine print. Unfortunately we’re encountering more stuff like this all the time.

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16 Comments on “The value of reading the fine print”

  1. Betty Londergan May 27, 2015 at 9:26 am #

    Frontier Airlines does this in the US, too! It’s really kind of deceptive — particularly since you can’t print out your ticket until 24 hours ahead, AND the website is total crap, which makes it even more arduous. Finally, I called and waited 45 minutes to talk to an agent, and he allowed me to not pay the fee, although usuallythey charge you a fee of $15/$20 per ticket to reserve a seat … each way! And $25 to carry on a bag —
    so before you know it, you’re paying $75 more per ticket. Really creates a bad vibe!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Brian May 27, 2015 at 9:45 am #

      Hi Betty!
      That sounds bad. At least Ryanair lets you check-in and print your boarding passes 30 days prior to departure so it’s not really a hassle as long as you know of the requirement. 24 hours could be a problem. We’re often in places without access to a printer the day before our flight, so it’s good to learn about Frontier’s M.O. now.

      Surprised they didn’t charge you to talk to a rep, though.


  2. mytimetotravel May 27, 2015 at 9:55 am #

    This is a real pain if you’re traveling. Good idea to make sure your lodging will give you access to a printer the night before a flight!

    I just booked an Easyjet flight for later this year and noticed you can check in up to 30 days ahead, and it seems they may not have check in desks at all anymore – there was a note about dropping off checked bags AFTER security.

    Trains are so much simpler…


    • Brian May 27, 2015 at 10:09 am #

      It’s true. Trains are simpler than flying in probably a dozen different ways. What’s shocking, though, is that trains are now often more expensive too. I guess part of the price of ~$50 flights is putting up with a bunch of nonsense (and being subsidized by those who can’t or won’t put up with it 😉 )


      • mytimetotravel May 27, 2015 at 11:15 am #

        Yes, for long distance trains it really pays to book ahead these days. I’m paying less for an ICE in Germany, bought ahead, than I will for a regional that only has one price! A bus might be cheaper, but the bus station is less convenient and I much prefer trains.

        Actually, by the time you add in all the add-ons, planes aren’t always that cheap.


        • Brian May 27, 2015 at 12:09 pm #

          Agreed. Flights aren’t always, or even usually, your cheapest option. It’s still surprising to me that they’re ever the cheapest option. And yet sometimes they are. Even in Vietnam we flew from Hanoi to Da Nang and then again to Ho Chi Minh City for less than the price of the train. When we told a couple of young backpackers that they could have skipped the 17 hour train ride and saved some money they almost cried.


          • mytimetotravel May 27, 2015 at 7:05 pm #

            Lol! But didn’t that long train ride also save a night’s lodging? And I had some interesting encounters with locals on Vietnamese trains.


            • Brian May 28, 2015 at 12:18 am #

              I had an “interesting” encounter with a glass of urine on a Vietnamese train. 😀 Not the kind of lodging I would put a positive value on (especially when a nice double room sets you back only $20) but different strokes, I know. Some people consider an overnight on a train like that to be an experience worth enduring having. I’m just not one of those people. 🙂


  3. Lucia May 27, 2015 at 7:29 pm #

    Yes, so very very very true!


  4. Jason May 28, 2015 at 3:54 am #

    Its sometimes worth checking the ‘full fare’ airlines, especially if you have checked luggage. By the time you add all the fees it can be a similar cost and more convenient way to ✈


    • Brian May 28, 2015 at 11:01 am #

      Good tip. The budget airlines actually make it harder to compare prices. What looks like the lowest fare may not be the lowest fare once you add in all the extras. Before booking a flight we always go and research baggage fees etc. to make sure we know exactly what we’re buying.


  5. vannillarock May 29, 2015 at 7:38 am #

    Athens to Rome for €38 – wow. Almost worth travelling Ryanair LOL! Very good post. I imagine a lot of travellers from further afield are unaware of Ryanair’s tricks.


    • Brian May 29, 2015 at 1:48 pm #

      Yup. Every seat was filled, but not all for €38 I imagine. 😀


  6. Debt Hater May 29, 2015 at 2:11 pm #

    Geez, can it even be considered a fee at that point when it doubles your ticket? I feel bad for the poor customer service reps at the airport that have to then deal with angry customers. When you’re flying on that day it’s not likely you’ll end up taking your business elsewhere at that point…


  7. hermitsdoor June 4, 2015 at 8:06 am #

    Thanks for the reminder. So often, we are excited about our plans and forget to notice weight limits, bag limits, check-in procedures, etc. Unfortunately, these types of “gotcha” revenue schemes will only tarnish the travel industry (or any industry) and the brands of the specific airlines over time. If there is a more up-front, trustworthy competitor, we will go with that good reputation instead. Call it “voting with your seat”.



  1. It’s Time to Stop Bitching about Airfares | Everywhere Once - August 26, 2015

    […] Of course exploiting the new system takes more work than simply buying the cheapest fare. If you ignore the various rules and restrictions you can easily experience some nasty surprises. And that seems to be where at least some of the complaints arise. You really do need to read the fine print. […]


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