Established in 1985 by the Ryan family with a share capital of just £1 and a staff of 25, Ryanair now has 43 bases and over 1100 low fare routes across 26 countries connecting to 155 destinations.
Ryanair operates a fleet of 250 new Boeing 737-800 aircraft and will be continue to add new aircraft every year. Currently employing more than 7,000 people, it is estimated that Ryanair serve almost 70 million passengers per annum.
In the UK, cheap flights from Ryanair depart from most major cities, a few of which include London Gatwick, London Luton, London Stansted, Birmingham, Belfast, Cork, Dublin, Bristol, East Midlands, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Glasgow, Liverpool, Leeds Bradford, Manchester and Newcastle.
In Europe, Ryanair flies out of France, Spain, Sweden, Italy, and Germany and passengers can book flights from Berlin, Brussels, Barcelona, Limoges, Poitiers, Carcassonne, Genoa, Paris, Milan, Rome and many other cities.
Ryanair no longer operate airport check-in. Passengers must now check in online from 15 days up to 4 hours prior to departure. Boarding gates close 20 minutes before time of departure.
Subject to the applicable baggage fees, passengers may fly with two checked bags of up to 20kg. Passengers may carry one piece of hand luggage. Handbags and laptops must be carried inside the cabin bag and should not exceed 10kg.
All cheap flights from Ryanair are Economy class and seating is unreserved. Passengers choose their seats on a first-come-first-served basis. There is of course Priority Boarding for a discounted fee. The seat pitch is 31 inches.
Frequent Flyer Programme
Ryanair do not have a frequent flyer programme - they believe in passing on savings to their passengers in the form of low-cost ticket prices.
When Ryanair launched in 1985 it had just one aircraft - a 15-seater Bandeirante operating daily from Waterford in the south-east of Ireland to London Gatwick. Cabin crew had to be 5ft. 2 inches tall or smaller in order to be able to move about in the tiny cabin of the aircraft.