For more general advice on getting the best fares from an airline, check out this page on How to Book the Cheapest Flights to Spain.
UPDATE A Ryanair spokesman was kind enough to answer some questions about the difficulties passengers have had booking and traveling with Ryanair. Read their reponses: Ryanair Responds to Criticisms.
- Book your flights as far in advance as possible - at least four months, if possible. Try to fly mid-week. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays are the cheapest days to fly.
Be flexible on your choice of airport. Spain has lots of airports and many of them are quite close together. See this Map of Spain's Airports.
Ryanair and easyJet are the budget airlines with the most flights to Spain in Europe. Ryanair claims to be the cheapest, but this isn't always the case - you may be better off flying with easyJet. See Alternatives to Ryanair Routes
Compare Prices on other airlines before you make up your mind. Unfortunately, due to Ryanair's decision to cancel tickets bought through third party websites, you cannot search Ryanair flights through this link.
- Note down the best price you get through the above price comparison, then visit Ryanair.
When selecting your flight, you must click on your chosen flight and check the total price on the right, as the price on the left does not include taxes or fees.
- After your have confirmed your flights, choose how many bags you want to take. Remember that the weight limit is 15kg of hold luggage and 10kg of hand luggage, regardless of how many bags you pay for.
If you think 25kg is not enough for you, then don't fly with Ryanair, as their penalties for exceeding this are extremely high. easyJet allows up to 20kg in the hold and has no restriction on weight in the cabin.
- Where you are asked "Would you like to be one of the first passengers to board to the aircraft?" (immediately below your baggage selection) choose 'no'. Ryanair only guarantees you'll board the bus to the plane before everyone else. First on the bus will be last off the bus, and so last onto the plane.
- Choose no travel insurance and book your own travel insurance - it is usually more inclusive than the airline's offer and is often cheaper.
- Make sure you spell your name correctly when inputting your details: even a one-letter typo will mean you have to pay a big 'name change' fee.
If you have a prepaid Mastercard card, use this to make your payment. Otherwise you will have to pay 5€ for each passenger and each journey made (so if booking a return trip for four people, you will have to pay this fee an astonishing eight times.)
- If you've managed to take no checked luggage, are checking in online, have turned down the speedy boarding and the travel insurance and are paying by Electron, congratulations, you've just saved yourself a lot of money!
- However, with Ryanair, the paying doesn't stop when you have your ticket. Make sure you jump through all the hoops Ryanair requests of you. Take a look at How to Avoid Paying Ryanair Extras.
- At each stage of your purchase, check all the costs on the screen are as expected. When trying to book a flight for a friend in April 2009, the system kept adding "Priority Boarding" when I had removed it. This occurred five times! If there is a charge you didn't expect, press back and go through the purchase again.
- Remember to factor travel to your final destination into your final costs. Flying with Ryanair to what they call "Barcelona (Girona)" and "Barcelona (Reus)" when you want to visit Barcelona will push your costs up as you have to get from Girona and Reus to Barcelona, which is 100km away.