How bad is Ryanair’s website really?
News of a planned revamp will come as good news to those who use it regularly
On average it took more than two minutes to get through the Ryanair booking process, from searching out flights to getting to the point where you hand over your card details and pay for them. Easyjet’s site came in at least 20 seconds faster or more. Photograph: Bloomberg
It may have been a surprise to hear Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary admit this week that rival Easyjet’s website did it better, but as anyone who has booked flights with the Irish carrier will know, it’s not an easy business.
So the news that Ryanair is planning a revamp of its website will come as good news to those who use it regularly.
I tested both sites several times, running through the booking process for each. On average it took more than 2½ minutes to get through the Ryanair booking process, from searching out flights to getting to the point where you hand over your card details and pay for them.
Easyjet’s site came in at least 20 seconds faster or more. The main reason? Ryanair’s extras.
Once you choose your flights, Ryanair requires you to run the gauntlet of added extras. Instead of being opt-in, like Easyjet, Ryanair makes you take action for most of these.
Don’t want priority boarding? You can’t just leave it blank; you have to choose no.
How about travel insurance? You must trawl through the list of countries that Ryanair provides insurance for to find the “travel without insurance” option – and then there’s a second pop-up reminder full of dire warnings on the cost of medical claims and repatriations to deal with. They’re really keen on selling you that insurance.
Then there are SMS reminders of your flight booking, and, depending on your destination, you’re offered airport transfers, and there’s also Ryanair’s phone service to accept or reject. Sightseeing tours, airport parking – the airline offers the full range.
The Ryanair-approved hand luggage and the car rental can be skipped without interaction from the user, although Ryanair does offer you the chance to pay to enter a draw to win the cost of your flights back when you reach the payment page.
If you’re interested in buying any of these extras you might welcome the chance to buy them all from one provider. But if you aren’t, having to click through every one is time-consuming and frustrating, especially if you miss a box and get the error screen.
Ryanair is, understandably, trying to bump up its ancillary revenues. But don’t make the mistake of thinking Easyjet is offering any less of a hard sell on its extras – it offers travel insurance, car rental and even hotels – but the difference is you can skip through the screens in seconds without having to accept or reject each option.
Ryanair’s redesign will be a while coming, but there is relief on the horizon; the recaptcha security test, which prevents automated searches of the site, is on the way out in the coming weeks for individual bookings.
Overall, Easyjet is a faster, less frustrating experience.