Student rates

Ryanair’s successful student discount scheme enters 6th year


  • Ryanair Boeing 737
    Ryanair

    IATA/ICAO code:
    FR/RYR

    Airline type:
    low cost carrier

    Hub(s):
    Dublin Airport, London Stansted Airport, Milan Bergamo Airport

    Year of foundation:
    1985

    Air group:
    Ryanair Group

    CEO:
    Eddie Wilson

    Country:
    Ireland

The terms “low-cost carrier” and “student discount” seem like polar opposites. Despite this, Ryanair has offered a 10% discount on flights to members of the Erasmus Student Network for the past six years, and this successful partnership is set to continue in the future.

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The Erasmus+ program provides funding made available to students to undertake part of their higher education in another country, with the program extending beyond European students and schools. Of course, when students study abroad, they must be able to travel to their university and return home during the holidays.

How the Ryanair Erasmus program works

Eligible students who are members of the Erasmus Student Network can enjoy 10% off four one-way Ryanair bookings or two return bookings. Erasmus students also receive a free 20kg checked bag with their bookings, which can cost a passenger up to €60.

ESN members can sign up for flight discounts through the Ryanair Customer Account portal. Photo: Ryanair

Members of the Erasmus Student Network can access these benefits by booking a flight at least 28 days in advance between September 1 and June 15. Of course, to book these flights, passengers must have a valid ESN card at the time of booking and flight. This is verified by manual registration on the My Ryanair web portal. Applications are manually cross-checked against ESN records, which sometimes takes a few days.

Common Sense and Giving Back

Speaking exclusively to Simple Flying on the scheme’s sixth anniversary, Ryanair’s chief marketing and digital officer, Dara Brady, suggested the scheme just makes good sense for the carrier due to the typical profile of travelers using the program,

“You have students who are starting out in the world, maybe not well settled financially…their whole philosophy is to get from place to place as cheaply as possible and spend all the money they have when they get there… They look at the pennies, and our product is ideal for them… There are a lot of commonalities between this group of travelers and our business model.”

More than 600,000 reservations have been made thanks to the ESN partnership. Photo: Ryanair

“It’s part of our narrative to give back. Yes, it’s flight and baggage discounts. While the rest of the business is rooted in the fundamentals of keeping our costs as low as possible and keeping our fares as low as possible, we think it’s the right thing to do to be able to pay for travel for students trying to further their education… In the larger context of our business, it’s relatively small, but it’s is a good thing to do.”

6 years, 600,000 reservations

Ryanair’s partnership with Erasmus Student Network is now entering its sixth year, given its previous success. To date, there have been over 600,000 ESN bookings since the partnership launched in 2017. With Ryanair seeing record passenger numbers month after month, it looks like this partnership is set to go from strength to strength.

It looks like the offer will be limited to ESN students for now. When asked if the program could be expanded to include other student programs, Brady commented,

“The Erasmus student network gives us a wide range. It gives us student access to a very wide range… Partnership makes a lot more sense than individual agreements at regional or national level. We try to be as wide and to serve as many people as we can.”

Did you know that Ryanair offers student discounts? Have you used the ESN discount before? Tell us what you think and why in the comments!