If you’re checking in for a Ryanair flight this summer, you might notice the airline’s smartphone app promoting its airport transfer service. Book a vehicle in advance and once you land it can take you from your airport to wherever you want to go. It’s a tempting option, especially since the taxi queues are one of the last things you want to see when you come out of arrivals, especially if it’s the last leg of your journey. back and you’re back to work the next morning.
Our advice? Think twice. The prices we’ve seen make Ryanair’s service a much more expensive option than you’d expect. A stunning example we were offered this week was a fare of between €108 and €253 to take between four and 10 people from Dublin Airport to O’Connell Bridge, right in the city center, at 6pm this Friday . This is usually a journey of no more than 15km for what is often the quickest route, using the Dublin Tunnel, and only 10km staying on potentially more congested city streets.
Dublin Airport says you should normally expect to pay €25-30 to get to the city center using its taxi rank. The Free Now taxi app is slightly cheaper, offering between €19 and €26 to transport between four and eight passengers at 6pm on Fridays. Either option is only a quarter of Ryanair’s cheapest quote – and barely around a tenth of its most expensive, even though it’s a luxury vehicle with room for 10 people .
It’s a similar story if you want to be taken elsewhere in the capital. The Ryanair app gave us a charge of €107 to take from Dublin airport to Blanchardstown, about 15km, northwest of the city, and €130 to take to Crumlin, about 20km, southwest of the city. Free Now offers a quote between €23 and €31 for similar journeys.
It’s a bit cheaper to use Ryanair’s service the other way from O’Connell Street to Dublin Airport at 10am on Fridays: prices range from €54 to €140 to transport between 3 and 14 people. But Free Now offers between €18 and €25 for up to eight passengers to make the same trip.
Arguably, the Ryanair service is not directly comparable to taking a taxi, as many of its transfers are by luxury vehicle. It also doesn’t provide the transfers itself: its app shows what specialist companies offer, like the car rental booking services that Ryanair and many other airlines offer their passengers. And with car rental prices soaring this summer, perhaps it’s reasonable for Ryanair’s airport transfer providers to offer such high rates, especially for bookings at relatively short notice.
The Irish Times invited Ryanair to contribute to this story, but at the time of publication had not received a comment.
But although there’s an obvious shortage of hire cars this month and next, the prices that Free Now and similar apps quote suggest there isn’t a huge shortage of taxis in Dublin – certainly not one that would drive prices as high as they seem to use Ryanair’s. reservation service.
The airline’s app is able to offer much lower prices in some popular holiday and city break destinations in Europe. If you’re flying into Alicante Airport, Spain, on Friday, Ryanair’s app offers a comparable private transfer to the city center for prices that start at €37 for four people. (The maximum quote is €119, although this is for a maximum of 19 passengers.) Fly to Barcelona and be taken to the city center costs from just €31.
But Spain is cheaper than Ireland for many things. What about countries where prices are similar? If you’re going on a city break to Amsterdam, the Ryanair app quotes a charge of €42 from Schiphol airport to the city center this Friday. And even some of the higher prices seem like decent value given the distances involved: if you’re flying into Beauvais airport, you can book a transfer to central Paris, around 90km away, for 169 € for three people. (That said, if 10 of you wanted to travel in the same vehicle, it would cost €518.)
We found more modest Dublin fares using the Ryanair app – €81 for a private airport transfer to Crumlin, €72 from the airport to Blanchardstown and just €39 from the airport to O’Connell Street. The problem? They are all for August 26, more than four weeks away. So, as always, planning ahead can guarantee you better prices. Just beware of being so enticed by the prospect of quick and easy travel after you land that you’ll end up paying far more than necessary to get where you want to go this summer.