Airline review: Ryanair standard class, Berlin to London

Our rating

4 out of 5

THE PLANE

Boeing 737-800

THE ROUTE

Berlin (Schonefeld) to London (Stansted)

THE LOYALTY SCHEME

None.

CLASS

Standard. When I board as the last passenger, I spy a woman in my allocated seat of 12F and, rather than make a fuss, switch to 6F, a window seat in an empty row. The disadvantage of boarding late is that your cabin baggage can end up being stowed in the hold when overhead bins are full. This isn't a full flight and my daypack stays with me. Those who buy "priority boarding" (from $5) guarantee their cabin baggage accompanies them on-board.

DURATION

The two-hour scheduled flight takes only 90 minutes – we land early.

THE FREQUENCY

Three times daily.

THE SEAT

The cloth seats (part of the fleet has vinyl seats) have a pitch of up to 30 inches (76.2 centimetres) and are up to 17 inches (43 centimetres) wide. The cabin has 189 seats in a 3-3 layout.

BAGGAGE

I prepay for one checked bag weighing up to 20 kilograms ($40); one carry-on bag weighing up to 10 kilograms is carried free.

TIPS FOR KEEPING IT LOW-COST

When booking, I decline all extras and, when paying, I opt out of the currency conversion to Australian dollars ($89 fare, this saved $4). The opt-out option can be hard to find. The ultra-low-cost, no-frills Irish carrier also charges $24 if you arrive at the airport without a boarding pass, which can only be printed within seven days of the flight and up to two hours before departure – this can be tricky if you're already away from home. Grab the first hotel printer you come across within this time frame.

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ENTERTAINMENT

BYO distractions.

SERVICE

The flight attendants are pleasant and efficient.

FOOD

Hot food takes 10 minutes to heat so an attendant whizzes through the cabin as soon as we level out to take orders before the food and drinks trolley trundles past carrying sandwiches and sweet and savoury snacks, as well as hot beverages and cold drinks.

THE VERDICT

As long as Ryanair's airports (which are often regional or secondary city airports) work for you, it's an affordable way to criss-cross Europe. To avoid becoming one of those passengers who grumble about unexpected fees and charges, read the fine print. Both of my Ryanair experiences (my first flight was from Girona, Spain to Pescara, Italy) have been positive: I landed on time (or earlier) with my luggage in tow and didn't expect more than that. Would I fly Ryanair again? To be sure, to be sure.

Reviewed by Katrina Lobley who flew at her own expense.

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