Is the Ryanair Family Plus Upgrade Worth It?

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Ryanair with the kids? Why not. Maybe you bagged a bargain fare, maybe Ryanair offers a direct flight to your destination or maybe Ryanair offers the most flights from your local airport. Whatever your reason, flying Ryanair with kids in tow can be an affordable way to travel, and TPG UK is here to help you determine if the Family Plus upgrade is worth it.

The Basics

Infants — Babies (aged 8 days to 23 months) can be booked for free with an adult flight reservation and must sit on the adult’s lap. An infant seat belt will be provided by cabin crew.

When travelling with an infant, you are entitled to a free baby bag up to 5kg in addition to your own free cabin bag (40x20x25 centimetres). You can carry two items of baby equipment for free of charge per child — one pushchair and one of the following items: car seat, booster seat or travel cot. Note that the baby items must be tagged for travel at a Bag Drop Desk, which closes 40 minutes before the scheduled flight departure time. Any extra baby equipment in addition to the two free items can be checked-in upon payment of an Infant/Child Equipment fee (£/€15 at booking or £/€25 at airport).

Additionally, babies aged 12-23 months can sit in their own aircraft seat using an Amsafe CARES child restraint, but you will need to provide the gear yourself. An infant comfort seat can be purchased through Ryanair, which can be used once airborne, however, the infant must sit on the accompanying adult’s lap during takeoff, landing and if instructed by the cabin crew. You will need to contact a call centre to book these add-ons.

Kids — Children aged 2 to 12 years must purchase a ticket and sit next to an accompanying adult. At least one adult in your party must pay for a reserved seat. Reserved seating prices for adults travelling with kids begin at a reduced fee of £/€4.

You are allowed free reserved seats for up to four children for each adult that purchases a seat in rows 18-33. Seats in rows 18-33 are free for children, however, if you prefer to sit in rows 1-17, you must pay the difference for all seats, including the kids.

Teens — Kids aged 13 and up can sit anywhere and must pay for reserved seats, but reserved seats are not mandatory for children ages 12 and over.

Family Plus: What You Get

As long as you have one adult flying with a child or teen under 15, you can opt for the Family Plus package. Here’s what is included: 

  • 2 x 20kg check-in bags (per booking)
  • 1 x 10kg check-in bag (per passenger)
  • Free seats for kids (but as you saw above, this is included for children 12 and under anyway)

The key in determining the value of Family Plus is figuring out if you need all the check-in bags. TPG UK looked at a few popular itineraries (Stansted to Biarritz; Gatwick to Alicante and Gatwick to Dublin) for travel in July, and the Family Plus savings is always the same — 6% off booking separately. If you look at the price breakdowns below on an itinerary to Biarritz, the Family Plus package becomes worth it if you need to bring the two pieces of 20kg luggage.

Family Plus package.

If you want the two 20kg bags, in this example of a week-long trip to Biarritz with two children, you would save around £21 (6% of the cost of booking each item individually) using the Family Plus upgrade.

Buying items separately.

If you don’t have large bags to check-in, you will save up to £/€100 on your journey, or £/€25 per 20kg bag, per leg of your trip versus the Family Plus. Here you can see costs per 10kg bag, either as carry-on with Priority check-in for £/€6 each way or £/€8 each way to check-in the bag.

Another option if you have one 20kg bag is the Plus package, which starts at £/€24 each way and includes a single 20kg check-in bag, Priority check-in, two cabin bags and a reserved standard seat.

I travelled in April with two teens for a week in San Sebastian, Spain, flying Ryanair to Biarritz (a 45-minute drive to San Sebastian), as it’s the cheapest and closest option with direct service from London. I opted for the Family Plus package, but in hindsight, I overpaid, as we each only checked-in one piece of 10kg luggage. 

An important mote for parents travelling with infants is that if you are only flying with a lap baby, you are not eligible for Family Plus.

Bottom Line

The most important question is: How much 20kg checked luggage do you need? If you don’t need two pieces of 20kg luggage, it is always cheaper to buy the luggage by the piece. If you need two pieces, go for the Family Plus and you will save 6%. If you don’t need two 20kg bags, just pay for exactly what you plan to bring. For a 20kg bag, prices start at £/€25 each way, and for a 10kg bag, prices start at £/€8 each way for check-in or £/€6 each way for carry-on. If you are travelling with a baby, you get to check-in two pieces of baby equipment free and bring a 5kg baby bag on board, so keep that in mind when planning.

Overall, what is nice about flying Ryanair as a family is that you can choose to pay for exactly what you need if saving money is the most important factor.

Featured photo by Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images.

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