A €250 fare from Dublin Airport to O’Connell Bridge? No thanks, Ryanair

The airline’s airport-transfer service has been quoting some eye-watering prices for customers in Ireland

Airport transfer: the Ryanair app lets you book a vehicle for when you land. Photograph: iStock/Getty

If you’re checking in for a Ryanair flight this summer, you might well notice that the airline’s smartphone app is promoting its airport-transfer service. Book a vehicle ahead of time and, once you land, it can whisk you from your airport to wherever you want to go. It’s a tempting option, especially given that taxi queues are one of the last things you want to see when you come out of arrivals, particularly if it’s the last stage of your journey home and you’re back at work the next morning.

Our advice? Think twice. The prices we’ve seen make Ryanair’s service a far more expensive option than you might have been expecting. One eye-watering example we were offered this week was a fare of between €108 and €253 to take between four and 10 people from Dublin Airport to O’Connell Bridge, in the middle of the city, at 6pm this Friday. That’s usually a journey of no more than 15km for what’s often the fastest route, using Dublin Tunnel, and just 10km sticking to potentially more congested city streets.

Dublin Airport says you should normally expect to pay €25-€30 to travel into the city centre using its taxi rank. The Free Now taxi app comes in slightly cheaper, quoting between €19 and €26 to transport between four and eight passengers at 6pm on Friday. Either option is only a quarter of Ryanair’s cheapest quote — and a mere tenth or so of its most expensive, even if that is for a luxury vehicle with room for 10.

Ryanair airport transfers: the airline’s app quoted fees of between €108 and €253 to take between four and 10 people from Dublin Airport to O’Connell Bridge at 6pm this Friday

It’s a similar story if you want to be taken elsewhere in the capital. The Ryanair app quoted us a fee of €107 to be taken from Dublin Airport to Blanchardstown, about 15km away, in the northwest of the city, and €130 to be taken to Crumlin, about 20km away, in the southwest of the city. Free Now is quoting between €23 and €31 for similar journeys.


It’s a little cheaper to use Ryanair’s service to go in the other direction, from O’Connell Street to Dublin Airport, at 10am on Friday: prices range from €54 to €140 to transport between three and 14 people. But Free Now is quoting €18-€25 for up to eight passengers to make the same journey.

You could argue that the Ryanair service isn’t directly comparable to taking a taxi, as many of its transfers are by luxury vehicle. It also doesn’t provide the transfers itself: its app shows what specialist companies are offering, along the same lines as the car-rental booking services that Ryanair and many other airlines offer their passengers. And as car rentals have shot up in price this summer, perhaps it’s reasonable for Ryanair’s airport-transfer providers to quote such high fares, especially for bookings at relatively short notice.

The Irish Times invited Ryanair to contribute to this story, but at time of publication had not received a comment.

But while there’s a clear shortage of hire cars this month and next, the prices that Free Now and similar apps are quoting suggest there’s no great shortage of taxis in Dublin — certainly not one that would drive prices as high as they seem to be using Ryanair’s booking service.

Ryanair airport transfers: the airline’s app quoted fees ranging from €37 to €119 to take up to 19 people from Alicante Airport to the centre of the city at 6pm on Friday

The airline’s app is able to offer much lower prices in some popular holiday and city-break destinations around Europe. If you’re flying to Alicante Airport, in Spain, on Friday, Ryanair’s app is offering a comparable private transfer to the centre of the city for prices that start at €37 for four people. (The maximum quote is €119, although that’s for up to 19 passengers.) Fly to Barcelona and being whisked to the middle of the city costs from just €31.

But Spain is cheaper than Ireland for lots of things. What about countries where prices are similar? If you’re heading for a city break in Amsterdam, the Ryanair app quotes a fee of €42 from Schiphol Airport into the centre of town this Friday. And even some of the higher prices look like decent value given the distances involved: if you’re flying to Beauvais Airport you can book a transfer to the centre of Paris, about 90km away, for €169 for three people. (That said, if 10 of you would like to travel in the same vehicle, you’d have to hand over a hefty €518.)

We did find some more modest Dublin fares using Ryanair’s app — €81 for a private transfer from the airport to Crumlin, €72 from the airport to Blanchardstown, and just €39 from the airport to O’Connell Street. The catch? They’re all for August 26th, more than four weeks away. So, as ever, planning ahead can secure you better prices. Just beware of being so enticed by the prospect of a quick, easy journey after you land that you end up paying far more than necessary to get where you want to go this summer.

Ryanair airport transfers: the airline’s app quoted fees of between €169 and €518 to take up to 10 people from Paris Beauvais Airport to the Pompidou Centre, in the middle of the city, on Friday evening
Liam Stebbing

Liam Stebbing

Liam Stebbing is Culture Editor of The Irish Times