Since I’m going to be in Dublin for TBEX in October I figured why not hop on over to another European country while I was there. I am familiar with Ryanair and Easyjet (2 low cost airlines in Europe) so I went to both of those websites to see flight options from Dublin. Bratislava jumped out at me so my mom and I (she’s meeting me in Dublin) will be spending a few days in Bratislava after my conference.
Travel tip #1- If you are going to be in a foreign country and you have time for more travel, do a search to find out how you can get from where you are to where you want to go. For instance, If you are flying to Paris and want to go to Croatia, type in “flights from Paris to Croatia” and check out the options.
I work for a major airline but when I am flying between countries in Europe I very rarely fly standby. I like to have confirmed seats so I have to purchase my tickets like everyone else. And like everyone else, I hate to pay high prices for tickets so I start looking for my tickets as early as I can because I find I get the best deals that way.
I am happy about the price for the tickets to Bratislava, wouldn’t you be? 121.09 is $160.22 for two round trip tickets! I think that’s pretty good. I put a little note on the screen shot about the dates.Travel tip #2 – Dates in Europe use the day first, then the month so please keep that in mind when you are booking your tickets.
When you book with a low cost airline, there are many additional fees. You can see from the screenshot above there is a web check in, an administration fee, EU 261 levy, and a ETS levy. Here is the explanation from Ryanair of what those last two taxes are about (Yeah, have fun with those explanations):
EU 261 Levy: Ryanair, Europe’s favourite airline, today (30th Mar) announced it would introduce a €2 levy per passenger for all bookings made from Monday 4th April 2011 in order to fund its costs of flight cancellations, delays and its EU261 costs in “force majeure” cases where the airline is not responsible for either the delays or cancellations.
ETS (Emission Trading Scheme) Levy– This charge of €0.25/£0.25 per person/per sector has been introduced to meet the costs imposed by the European Union on air passengers (but not train/ferry or coach travellers) under its 2012 Emissions Trading Scheme. Ryanair believe that European aviation should not be included in the ETS scheme since it accounts for less than 2% of the EU’s man made CO2 emissions. This new ETS tax is the latest in a long line of cost increases imposed on Europe’s air passengers by the European Commission.
One of the drawbacks of flying a low cost airline is you don’t have as much selection when it comes to times. I took screen shots of my reservation so you could see what I’m talking about. We have to fly from Dublin at 6:30am! Ugh. But on the upside, we get to Bratislava at 10:15am so we will have a full day to explore.
See the big green box below? Whenever you see a warning like that be sure to heed it because if you don’t you may have to pay additional fees when you get to the airport or have to wait until the last minute like I did when I was in Rome a few years ago. Many low cost airlines charge you for printing boarding passes and the fees can be ridiculous.
I personally never get the travel insurance. I have supplemental insurance that I use in case of emergencies and I never cancel a trip once I book it so I don’t feel I need it. But you have the option to get it if you want it, and you can add it after you book your tickets as the screen shot below I took after I had already paid for the tickets.
Again, you see the warning to check-in and print your boarding passes before you get to the airport. This is how much you will pay to get your boarding pass at the airport:
Airport Boarding Card Re-issue Fee €70/£70
Yikes! And the thing is, when you get to the airport you don’t have access to a printer and you have to pay the fee. I don’t know about you but that would royally piss me off if I had to pay that when I could have done it for free at my house.
One more thing you need to know. When I was trying to book my tickets I kept getting an error message after I would push ENTER and I didn’t understand why. I finally called RyanAir and they told me that using Safari as a web browser isn’t compatible with their website, you have to use Internet Explorer or Safari. Once I did that I was able to book the tickets with no problem. I hope this information in helpful to you as you plan your European vacation.