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Playing Ryanair at their own game ... by a veteran flyer

Myles Dunne from Dublin estimates he has flown more than 500 times to date with Ryanair over the last 12 years.

He used to commute to London to work, but now he mostly flies every six-to-eight weeks to Limoges in central France, where he has a home that he uses as a base to spend time with his sons, who now live in the country with his ex-wife.

There are no direct flights from Dublin to Limoges. He travels either to Nantes or La Rochelle to collect the kids first, or travels directly there via London Stansted or East Midlands.

Not surprisingly, this veteran Ryanair flyer knows how to play the low-fares airline at its own game. Myles estimates that he regularly saves up to €200 per return trip compared to a less 'clued-in' flyer.

For a start, he always books the cheap promotional fares (the ones that include taxes and charges and online check-in), particularly as he knows where and when he wants to travel.

But when that's not possible, he times his bookings carefully. "Let's say a flight to Nantes costs €189 when booked at the last minute," says Myles.

"It starts out at about €89 a few months in advance of the flight, and then drops to maybe €45ish -- usually about three-to-four weeks before departure.

"This is when most tickets are bought.

"Then as the plane fills up, the price climbs up to maybe €129 one-to-two weeks before departure. The last tickets are always the most expensive.

"I've observed this pattern over 12 years of Ryanair flying, as have work colleagues that used to accompany me on the regular London flights," says Myles.

He also has a pre-paid Mastercard to avoid the credit or debit card surcharges and, crucially, always flies with hand-luggage only.

But he is mindful of how easy it is to end up spending money as you work your way through each airport, or even on the plane itself.

"Food prices are through the roof, and they rely on your boredom to get you to spend money," says Myles. "People get that siege mentality and think they need food, but a pack of Werther's Originals is all you need."

Because of his height, Myles' one concession to all the available 'extras' from Ryanair is priority boarding. "I usually pay for priority and get a seat with legroom."

Irish Independent