It Adds Up

Tracy Stewart, June 27, 2007
Fares from Washington DC:

    Q: I want to book a flight from Brussels to Venice on Ryanair. When I attempt to purchase the flight online, the site requests that I also purchase travel insurance. Is this really necessary? I'm aware that this budget airline charges a lot for checked baggage and overweight bags. Is the insurance just another scam?

    A: It's true that Ryanair, which currently flies only within Europe but one day may fly trans-Atlantic if it gets approval, charges for checked bags (about $10 per bag if prepaid in advance). It also charges about $5 per pound for any bag weighing over approximately 33 pounds (these fees are each way, not roundtrip). And you're only allowed to bring one item of hand luggage on board, weighing no more than about 22 pounds, meaning that most people end up checking luggage. As for insurance, I think you'd be better off purchasing from a well known US-based provider, such as CSA, TravelGuard, Access America, or TravelSafe. By the way, for those not familiar with Ryanair, this budget carrier often has fares within Europe for just a few cents each way, although the taxes and other fees do add up.