I loved flying Ryanair to Jordan — here’s why I’d do it again

Apr 25, 2022

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Petra has been on my bucket list for as long as I can remember, so when the world started reopening for travelling it was one of the first things I wanted to tick off.

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The Monastery of Ad Deir at sunset, Petra, Jordan. (Picture by Getty Images)

One of the 7 wonders of the world, Petra, is located in Jordan — some 2348 miles from London — with average Royal Jordan and British Airways fares regularly costing in excess of £500 return.

Related: What are the ‘Modern Seven Wonders of the World’ and how do I visit them using miles and points?

With this outside of my budget, I started looking for the best and cheapest way to get there – and Ryanair seemed to be a bold but good choice. I had no idea that the ultra-low-cost airline operates flights all the way to the Middle East, and for a far-flung destination like Jordan, it almost seemed too good to be true to bag a return ticket for just over £100.

Why this ticket was a great deal

To be exact, I paid £122.89 for a return ticket with Ryanair from London Stansted (STN) to Aqaba (AQJ), Jordan, via Vienna (VIE). The return ticket was from Amman (AMM) as we were doing a road trip and wanted to end up there and not spend extra time heading back to Aqaba.

This was roughly 1/5 of the price of flying with Royal Jordanian at the time of booking which would have cost close to £500. Even though Royal Jordanian fly directly from London, a saving of almost £400 seemed well worth a quick layover in Vienna.

I’ve flown Ryanair quite a lot and always found it an acceptable way to get from A to B without being either brilliant or awful. I was travelling with my boyfriend, so together we saved almost £800 on this deal. A huge saving considering we booked the flights just three weeks in advance of our trip.

Related: How to find the cheapest flight to anywhere

I found the deal on Skyscanner and booked the trip through Gotogate, which seemed like one of the more trustworthy providers. It was quick and easy to navigate through the site – no extra faff or crazy overload of ads. We decided not to pay for assigned seats. Gambling that the longest leg of the journey — Vienna to Aqaba — probably wouldn’t be a full flight, and we’d be able to move seats and sit together anyway.

We also chose to travel with hand luggage only but could have added extra luggage when we booked for £83. You would have to add luggage for each leg of the journey because of the separate tickets, so with four flights, this would turn out very expensive.

We also opted against this because the connection time was less than two hours which might not have allowed time to transfer with checked baggage and we wouldn’t have been protected by Gotogate’s self-transfer guarantee if we missed our connecting flight. The communication was clear and transparent from Gotogate, emphasising that the great price was possible because each leg of the journey had separate tickets. It was risky, but we decided to chance it.

But…the route didn’t exist on Ryanair

I checked if it was cheaper to book directly through the airline, but when I searched ‘London to Jordan’ on Ryanair, no results came up. To book directly you would need to make four separate bookings for each leg of the journey (two flights both ways) which seemed like a lot of hassle and paperwork. This is because Ryanair doesn’t sell connecting tickets — I’m not sure why given that EasyJet does.

Related: Everything you need to know about flying with Ryanair

With hand luggage only and a connection time of 1 hour and 45 minutes, we felt confident that the tickets we booked through Gotogate would be okay. We also had an included connection guarantee in case of any delays — something Gotogate offer that Ryanair don’t. I’ve booked with Gotogate before and never had any issues with them, although like with any other third-party operators there will always be some bad reviews.

Seamless check-in

We received the confirmation email with our itinerary straight after our payment had gone through. With the PNR booking codes, we could easily check in online for all our flights in advance, and it only took us a few minutes.

For a long time, you couldn’t check in online because of COVID-19, and some airlines still don’t let you. I recently had a flight with British Airways and still struggled. You would have to send in vaccination information first, which then has to be approved, which makes for a long and frustrating process. Every time I’ve flown with BA over the last six months it has been an issue, which means I’ve been unable to choose a seat – ending up with one of the worst seats when I finally get to check in at the airport. So, kudos to Ryanair for a smooth app and great check-in experience.

Related: I flew Wizz Air all the way from London to Abu Dhabi — here’s why I wouldn’t do it again

According to the itinerary, the whole journey was going to be operated by Ryanair apart from the first leg of the return flight, which would be with Wizz Air. We would fly from London to Aqaba with transit in Vienna, and back home from Amman with transit in Budapest.

Luckily, a few days before our trip it was announced that all test requirements had been dropped to travel to Jordan. From the beginning, it seems like the stars had aligned on this trip. The only thing we had to do was fill out a health declaration form which only took a minute. We didn’t need to present a negative test or a vaccination certificate on any of the flights, and neither did we to enter Jordan.

My lucky day

At London’s Stansted airport, boarding was complete in less than 15 minutes. We also got another pleasant surprise — the route was operated by an A320 Lauda aircraft, rather than the Ryanair 737 we were expecting.

(Picture by Maren Gimnes / TPG UK)

Lauda is a former Austrian low-cost airline which is now a subsidiary of Ryanair. I found this aircraft to be more spacious and a lot more visually pleasing than the regular Ryanair’s garish blue and yellow aircraft that usually wheeled out. You could also recline the seats which you usually can’t on Ryanair, so it’s fair to say that this was an upgrade!

Related: Which European low-cost carrier is best for you

(Photo by Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

In classic Ryanair style, we had chosen randomly allocated seats – and guess what? It was my lucky day – I got seat 1D and couldn’t have been happier. It came with loads of extra legroom and the seat next to me was free as well!

The crew was very service-minded and everyone seemed in a great mood which made a nice change from the normal Ryanair experience. Overall, this didn’t feel like a budget airline experience at all — I actually really enjoyed it. During the flight, I spent my time researching Jordan — saving the nap for the longer leg of the second flight.

(Photo by Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Layover in Vienna

Our Vienna layover lasted just 1 hour and 45 minutes — this proved to be the perfect amount of time. We had checked in for both flights the night before and had all our mobile boarding passes on the Ryanair app. This meant we could go straight to the gate, and only had to go through transit security on the way.

From getting off the plane to arriving at our new gate it took less than 20 minutes. With no queues anywhere in sight, this made for a very easy and pleasant travel experience.

(Photo by Maren Gimnes / TPG UK)

A poor man’s business class

The flight from Vienna to Aqaba was also operated by an A320 Lauda aircraft, and at one point I completely forgot that I was flying Ryanair since I hadn’t seen any of the branded planes or crew throughout the journey. The whole experience was seamless and smooth. The plane itself was almost empty and every single passenger on the flight from Vienna to Jordan could have had a whole row to themselves, which is pretty rare. We hadn’t chosen any seats on this flight either but were told by the crew that we could sit wherever we wanted — another moment of the stars perfectly aligning.

(Photo by Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Flight experience

This second flight was one of the quietest and most relaxing flights I’ve ever been on, with zero turbulence, little noise and no unnecessary announcements. I got several hours of sleep and the six-hour journey went by in no time.

The crew was super friendly and kind, and the service was great – the food we ordered got served in less than ten minutes. Even though the vegetarian lasagne wasn’t the best I’ve had it did the job and the price of £5 was fair.

I could have brought some snacks on board, but the food at the airport in Vienna was really expensive. So if you ever fly the same route and want to bring food along, remember to buy it in London if you can.

Touchdown

We arrived at 6 pm in Aqaba and got to see a stunning sunset over the beautiful desert from the plane. Unlike some other Ryanair flights I’ve been on, the arrival time was just perfect.

(Photo by Maren Gimnes / TPG UK)

At Aqaba’s King Hussein Airport, our flight was the only one coming in at that time, so there were almost no passengers around. We got through passport control in less than 15 minutes and were ready to explore Jordan!

Bottom line

If you think Ryanair is only for point to point short flights, think again. Flying Ryanair to the Middle East was a bold choice and one my TPG UK colleagues thought it would be a bad decision. But it turned out to be the best travel deal I ever made!

If you’re wondering, the return flights went without a hitch too, noting one of the flights was operated by Wizz Air. I was left with quite a lot of appreciation for ultra-low-cost airlines, which are often heavily criticised when things go wrong, but get very little kudos when everything runs smoothly. Budget airlines have allowed me to explore this incredible planet for very reasonable prices and have grown my love of travelling.

Jordan is a wonderful destination with so much to offer – you can experience the magical desert of Wadi Rum, visit the Red Sea’s world-famous diving sites, explore one of the seven wonders of the world – Petra, and go swimming in the Dead Sea for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Related: How to visit Petra, Jordan using points and miles

(Photo by Sebastian Kahnert/picture alliance via Getty Images)

 

Featured image by Horacio Villalobos Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images

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