It all adds up... Ryanair earnings soar on the little extras

Airline generates €1.3 billion in revenue from baggage charges and other fees in first six months

A Ryanair check-in counter at  Dublin Airport. Photograph: Paulo Nunes dos Santos/  New York Times

A Ryanair check-in counter at Dublin Airport. Photograph: Paulo Nunes dos Santos/ New York Times


The money Ryanair makes from the extra charges it imposes on everything from a guaranteed seat to checked-in bags to boarding a plane slightly faster than others jumped sharply in the first-half of the year.

As it prepares to roll out yet another significant change to its baggage policies at the start of next month, it has emerged Ryanair generated €1.3 billion in revenue from so-called ancillary charges in the first six months of the year, an increase of 27 per cent on the same period last year.

Among the items that can add to the airline’s bottom line are extra legroom seats which cost €15 and assigned standard seats, which have a price tag of €4 on top of the cost of the plane ticket.

People travelling with an infant face a €25 fee while anyone who wants to check in a bag can expect to pay anywhere between €8 and €25.

Once a passenger arrives at an airport, the fees can climb dramatically with those who fail to check-in online or who need boarding cards re-issued hit with costs of €55 and €20 respectively.

New rules

A passenger who wants a name changed on a ticket ahead of travel will be charged €115 - or €160 if they leave it until the airport to make such a change.

Passengers who pay for priority boarding pay €6 and, under new rules announced this week, they will get to bring more bags on board that other passengers.

From the beginning of November, non-priority customers who want to bring a second larger bag, weighing no more than 10kg, on board will have to check it in for €8 if they make that decision during the initial flight booking. The cost rises to €10 if the bag is added online after booking. This can be done up to 40 minutes before the scheduled flight departure time.

The bag must be deposited at the airport bag drop desk prior to entering security.

Ryanair said the “main benefits of this new policy will be reduced flight delays and cheaper checked bag option” and it suggested that additional advantages for customers will be “the ability to pack more liquids into their 10kg checked wheelie bag and walk to the boarding gate ‘hands free.’”

While the airline collects a substantial amount from its passengers, it is by no means the most efficient airline in the world when it comes to extracting cash from customers.

A report published earlier this year by American aviation consultancy IdeaWorksCompany put the airline in fifth position behind four US airlines in an ancillary revenue league last year.

With ancillary revenue touching $5 billion, United Airlines was by far the most profitable airline in that arena followed by Delta, American Airlines and Southwest airlines.