Battle Of The Low Cost Carriers: EasyJet vs. Ryanair

A study abroad student traveler’s review of easyJet and Ryanair

study abroad ryanair planeThere are a million low cost carriers out there; Flybe, Wizz Air, Aer Lingus, and Jet2 just to name a few. But any student who has studied abroad in Europe will tell you that the most popular by far are easyJet and Ryanair, and this post is meant to help you decide between the two.

First and foremost, don’t worry, they’re not as bad as everyone makes them seem. I remember when I first went abroad, everyone talked about the planes like they were three days from the junk yard, but they’re actually legit planes with a full steward staff, food and beverage service, and they even play classical music while taking off and landing. They’re also actually two of the biggest airlines in Europe. So don’t worry, you won’t die.

As far as which one I prefer, it’s definitely easyjet, mainly because the plane itself is simply bigger and you end up with a lot more leg room. It’s a lot cleaner, a lot more comfortable, and way more professional.  With easyjet, you check in online so you can go straight to security at the airport instead of waiting in those massive lines (just make sure you have access to a printer), meaning you can get to the airport much later. And there are no extra fees or taxes when you book with them. What you see up front is what you pay. For the most part, easyjet and Ryanair are almost exactly the same in terms of price, so if you can, I would go with easyjet.

easyJet flight study abroadRyanair isn’t necessarily the worst thing in the world though. Just know that the plane is a lot more cramped, and a lot less comfortable. The seat backs are plastic, so if you’re tall, your knees will be sore after a while. They’re also a lot more strict on the size of the carry on that you’re allowed to bring on the plane. You do have to check in when you get to the airport which means you’ll have to get there a little bit earlier. And lastly, they attach a lot of extra fees to the flight price. The prices are still ridiculously cheap, it just means what you see on the front page might not be the actual price.

If the Ryanair price is much cheaper than the easyjet price, I would probably go with Ryanair. If you’re in Spain, you’re longest flight can’t be more than a couple hours depending on where you’re going, so a cramped plane isn’t the end of the world.

Definitely take advantage of both of them. I flew from Scotland to Spain, Spain to Italy, and Italy back to Scotland for under 100 pounds/euros total.

– Because of competition from budget carriers, some major European airlines like British Airways, Air France, and KLM have been forced to offer discount flights. I would still check these bigger airlines because sometimes they’re actually cheaper than easyjet and Ryanair (its rare but it has happened to me).

The only real negative is that they both fly into airports that are usually a half hour to an hour outside of the city, so you’ll have to take a bus or train ride to get to the city center. Even with that extra cost, they’re still cheaper than normal airlines. (Getting to and from the airports will be a different post so stay tuned.)

Obviously you can book on either Ryanair or easyJet’s websites, but I’d suggest using Vayama because it compares fares on all low cost airlines. Before you spend any money, you should also check out my post “A Lesson On Flying Europe’s Low-Cost Carriers“, where I explain how to find cheap flights on all budget airlines including Ryanair and easyJet.

Remember, budget airfare is your friend, and of course – happy flying!

Check out this article in the UK’s Guardian: Ryanair v easyJet

And these posts for more helpful travel info:

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below and I’ll get back to you!

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