I know that Ryanair did a lot to bring airline prices down, but they can hardly claim to be such a cheap option today. It is a salutary experience booking with Ryanair these days, watching their increasingly silly charges mount up.
It is true, as Michael O'Leary regularly moans, that the UK Treasury takes perhaps £20 more a flight than, for example, the Irish government. But that ignores Ryanair's own taxes. They now charge an extra £16 per passenger each way in taxes of their own: £8 a bag, £4 to check in (and they don't let you check suitcases in on a computer without a charge) and £4 for the privilege of paying for it all, per passenger on each leg of the journey. If you're not careful they will also sign you up for early boarding and overpriced insurance on a website that keeps trying to add these things back.
And if you book to return from a different European airport than the one you travel into, you pay a currency surcharge which adds another £4 to the cost. Add to that the incessant blather on the flight as they try to sell you scratch and phone cards. You pay a lot for your 'no frills' experience. But Michael O'Leary has surely missed a few tricks. After all, we don't yet have the £5 charge for a seat - we could sit on the floor if they ripped them out. And what about a tenner to use the airport steps - after all, we could just jump off the aircraft? Or a fiver for peace and quiet on the plane? No wonder he looks so confident about surviving the credit crunch.