Tag Archives | Ryanair

Internet cookies on your computer will cost you money

This tweet recently, from @sampsonian, was very popular with more than 100 retweets. It’s from someone highlighting how the Ryanair website recognises when you’re back visiting them more than once, and tries to charge you more the second time around.

Ryanair exhibit A. Looked up fare yesterday, total £123.00. Returned today and fare is £237.oo. Flushed cookies. Fare is back to £123.00.

It’s a sneaky trick, but it’s nothing new. Your can read an article here on how cookies can cost you money that I wrote back in 2009.

If you’re not sure on how to clear the cookies from your computer if you think you’re losing out because of this, just search Google for the browser that you’re using with the words “clear my cookies” to find instructions. Some browsers will allow you set this automatically as well so that the cookies are cleared each time you close down your browser – but that’s maybe a bit extreme.

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Top Tip when dealing with electronic boarding passes online

It’s a few months now since a discussion on Twitter with a few people about how to best manage your tickets and boarding passes online.

A popular suggestion was to print the tickets and boarding passes a few times when they first become available on the airlines websites.

The consensus, however, seemed to be to print your boarding to a PDF file to save on your computer and then to reprint as required.

To be fair, this might be more for the more techie persons amongst us, but there are two simple things that you could use/install on your computer to help you with this.

The first is to install the excellent (and free) PrimoPDF on your computer. It basically adds a new printer to your listing of printers, to which you can print your documents.

Alternatively, there is the Web2PDF application which you can install on your web browser. This will put a button on the browser that you click when your boarding pass or ticket is onscreen, and it’ll create a PDF file of the document.

A final tip for handling these PDF files is to e-mail them to yourself to an e-mail account that you can access remotely just in case you need it after you’ve left home.

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Ireland’s Departure Tax – which came first, the tax or the drop in passengers

The topic of this blog post has been going around in my head for some time now, never quite making the light of day until now – so here goes. Actually, this will be the start of a bit of a tourism theme for the week.

It’s said that the €10 departure tax brought in by the government in one of their many recent budgetary attempts brings in something between €10m and €15m per month. It was expected to net €9m in 2009 and €150m in a full year.

While this tax is undoubtedly a regressive measure, we’re being told that it is because of this tax that airlines are flying less passengers to Ireland – Aer Lingus and Ryanair shouting the loudest on this one.

Yet, back in 2008, Tourism Ireland revealed that the number of tourists visiting Ireland in that year had fallen 3.3%.

Had the rot already set in even before this departure tax was decided upon?

The number of tourists visiting Ireland for a holiday dropped 20% in 2009, but given the turmoil experienced around the world because of a world wide recession, is that not the primary reason for the fall rather than this new departure tax?

Look at this another way.

Let’s assume you’re planning a holiday later this year, 2010. You’re going to fly somewhere. What dictates where you go? When you search the internet researching destinations for your holiday, do you check out hotels, attractions, sights, entertainment and places to eat, or do you first check how much is the departure tax that you’re going to have to pay when you leave?

Do you even know which countries you might visit charge a departure tax? When the tax is included in your air fare (as it is here in Ireland) you’re most likely never even going to know you’re paying such a tax.

The overall price of your vacation will determine when and where you travel – and if you’re flying somewhere, staying in a hotel and eating out for a couple of nights over a weekend, then the €10 cost of the departure tax isn’t going to be the deciding factor.

Ireland was, and still is, a very expensive destination for tourists to visit – it was in the good times, and in general (despite the fall in hotel costs in many locations), it still is now.

When potential tourists are experiencing recession in their own country and counting the pennies, we can hardly expect that they’ll be arriving here by the plane load if they’re going to have to pay through the nose for the privilege of spending a few days in Ireland.

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Screen Scraping Websites – Anything I can do?

The term “screen scraping” refers to automated processes that some people run which go off to a website and scans/copies the content to use for themselves. You may have heard about Ryanairs problems with screen scrapers in the past. Essentially, a third party takes advantage of the content that someone produces and publishes on their website for their own benefit.

Another example, as far as I’m concerned, was the recent controversy where a third party company developed an i-Phone application based on the information presented about where bikes were/were not available on the DublinBikes.ie website.

My question, though, is probably more for the more technical minded people amongst you.

I believe that someone has started screen scraping some particular content on the ValueIreland.com website. It’s the only possibility that I can come up with based on some of the recent web visitor statistics I’ve been noticing.

It’s someone logging on to ValueIreland.com from an NTL/UPC internet connection, and they hit one particular page approximately once every hour during the day.

I don’t think it can be a person that’s doing this because there is very little content on the one particular page that’s being visited.

I know that Ryanair are talking about taking those that scrape their website to court, but is there something simple that I can do here on my site that would thwart whomever is trying to steal my content?

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Top Tip when booking online for anything

In this post last week, I referred to this thread on Conor Popes Pricewatch blog where there was some discussion on the pros and cons of Ryanair.

One item that was mentioned that deserves to be highlighted as a Top Tip came from someone calling themselves Lil:

What I do do, is, when printing the boarding pass after online check-in, is to print a copy to PDF (i.e. create a PDF file using the print function) and this way, I can email myself a copy in case I need to print a copy closer to time if I’ve left the printed copy elsewhere, and not have to worry that I can’t access Ryanair’s website to reprint my boarding pass.

This is something that I do myself with all online confirmation pages – as well as just being a record for your own purposes, it could also be useful if any questions were to arise with your bookings in the future – it contains the web page details and so on necessary to indicate that a booking was made and confirmed to you.

You can download the free PDF writing application called PrimoPDF if you don’t already have the necessary software on your computer.

Update 22:45 – Thanks to the ValueIreland.com who sent in this related tip specifically for when travelling.

Liked the tip about e-mailing a copy of a boarding pass. In a similar vein, it is useful to e-mail your passport number to yourself so you can access it from abroad if necessary.

I’d add, just in case, make sure it’s not an e-mail that’s downloaded onto your phone in case your phone is stolen. If it’s on GMail or somewhere, then that might be safer. However, remember that that’s not 100% safe given recent issues with GMail as well.

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World Cup Play Off Flights Uproar – ignore the grandstanding!

Following a close second in the pointless and non-newsworthy headlines stakes, we saw this beauty last Tuesday “Shameless rip-off as airlines hike Paris football flights to €300”.

If you remember, I wrote yesterday about the number one most pointless and non-newsworthy headline here. The particular headline above is from the website of Mayo TD, John O’Mahony – the Fine Gael spokesperson on Sport.

There were others though: From the Irish Examiner, there was Angry soccer fans set to hit back over air fare hikes, while the Irish Times had Airlines accused of World Cup ‘rip-off’. The Irish Independent, meanwhile, went with Fans fleeced as airlines shift goalposts.

Rolled out once again for the cheap and easy oneliner, the Chief Executive of the Consumers Association of Ireland had this to say:

The surge in prices was yet another indication of the way consumers were being treated by airlines. “The airlines have a policy of watching where there will be a guaranteed demand and then increasing their prices,” he said.

“They are unapologetic about it. Whatever about supply and demand, once this happens any fairness in pricing policy goes out the window. It’s a case of – if you want to go you’ll pay dearly for it.”

Get over it

Look folks. Here’s the thing. The world and their granny knew that Ireland were going to be playing in one of 4 destinations next month, and that the precise location would be known about lunch time yesterday.

Based on past performance of the airlines when it comes to applying “supply and demand” when it comes to pricing flights for Irish sporting occasions, the world and their granny also knew that once the particular destination was finalised, that the price of flights would shoot up.

Forewarned isn’t, apparently, forearmed

So, what did football fans do to prepare for the situation that was blatantly obvious was going to happen? Nothing it seems – they wait for the draw to happen, they then look for flights, and then proceed to bleat their usual complaints to whomever will listen – and becuase it’s such a soft easy story, there’s always people who will jump on the bandwagon and publish the story.

Was there any way around this?

I heard a story yesterday of someone who’d logged on just before the draw was made and had proceeded as far as possible to booking flights for each of the four potential destinations. As soon as the draw was made, he clicked buy and bought his flight literally seconds later – thereby getting his flight at the normal price rather than at the higher price charged minutes later.

What about booking flights to all 4 destinations at the very cheap prices beforehand and then only using the flight you need? Theoretically (as I can’t retrospectively check the prices now) 4 flights could have been significantly cheaper than the higher prices that people are bleating about at the moment.

How about not buying these flights at the higher prices? Despite the protestations of Mr. Jewell, the airlines are acutally engaging in a perfectly legal and fair practice of charging a price for a service based on the demand for that service – something which any business should never have any reason to be “apologetic” about. If football fans don’t like the prices charged, then don’t pay them – simple as that. Either find an alternative way to Paris (rugby fans did during the 2007 Rugby World Cup), or just don’t go. If the airlines can’t sell their seats, then supply and demand will kick in again and prices will fall if there’s no demand.

How about finding an alternative way to the game? Maybe there are cheap flights into London from where you can get the train to Paris. Isn’t London Waterloo about the same train journey time from central Paris as wherever it is that Ryanair land “in” Paris anyway?

Not Fair

I appreciate that people will feel hard done by though the actions of Ryanair and Aer Lingus, but lets not get carried away here. Buying flights to go to Paris for a game of football is a discretionary spend – you don’t have to go.

If you can’t afford to go becuase of the prices charged, then suck it up. You wouldn’t have gotten your cheap holiday to Spain earlier this year, or your free flights to London for your Christmas shopping in the coming months if we threw out the concept of allowing airlines charge based on supply and demand.

The alternative here would be that we pay consistently the same (artificially fixed higher prices) all the time, rather than paying less sometimes and paying more at other times.

That’s a scenario, I think, that wouldn’t be fair.

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Ridiculous consumer views about Ryanair

This thread on Pricewatch recently, which I’ve referred to a few times already, is a gold mine of information and absolute stupidity. It’s a “must read” to see the two extremes of opinion when it comes to flying with Ryanair.
You can understand when people feel aggrieved when they’ve got problems as paying passengers, but the sentiment in this particular comment shows how some people will always (for whatever reason) just “have it in” for Ryanair.

Well all, see Ryanair at it again inconveniencing there passengers by leaving Manchester because they wont drop there fees to suit Ryanair and now forcing passengers to travel to other English airports costing them more in Bus/Train fares to get to there destination Manchester.

As if Ryanair have any responsibilities to anyone who wants to fly to Manchester? What is it I said before about Irish people and their sense of “entitlement”?

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Ireland deserves foreign holidays!

A few times over the past couple of weeks (over a few pints mind you), the term entitlement and the Irish race came up.

One particular acquaintance of mine referred again and again to how they view that many (their term, not mine) Irish people believe that they are deserving of anything that they want – that there is an expectation of attainment rather than any serious effort to actually go out and attain.

Sort of related, but I had to laugh when I saw this ridiculous comment on a blog post by Conor Pope over on Pricewatch recently which caused a heated debate amongst the commenters.

Some people have little choice but to fly with Ryanair unless they want to stay stranded in Ireland for the rest of their lives and read about travelling via AA Gill /

Never mind the (baffling “Ireland deserves Sun” campaign at the moment, Ireland deserves foreign holidays (whether they can afford them or not).

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Pop Quiz: Why do you fly Ryanair?

Ryanair describes itself as “the worlds favourite airline” in its press releases. It frequently provides the cheapest fares on its routes compared to its competition.

Yet many people seem to feel that the customer service at Ryanair is pretty bad. There are definitely more e-mails to ValueIreland.com about Ryanair than any other company in Ireland.

If this is the case, why do nearly 6 times more of us fly with Ryanair than flies with Aer Lingus for example?

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