I figured that a post about the Ryanair fare prices would be very appropriate since summer arrived, and everybody is in for some sun, either it be on a long beach vacation or a short citytrip.
So, to start with, I must say that there is not A pricing strategy that Ryanair uses, and there are exceptions, but I will explain the MAIN points they use to put a price on every fare.
First of all, there are 3 types of fares, in order from expensive to cheap:
Normal fares: Here there will be airport taxes added when you proceed to payment, and also a fee for online check-in (which is by the way compulsory). The taxes differ a lot, the online check-in fee is about 6 Euro one way.
Free of Tax fares: With this fares, you only will pay the about 6 Euro one way online check-in fee
Free Online Check-in fares: On this fare, you will get the price that is listed, without any extra's.
These prices are still excluding luggage (only one 10 kg hand luggage is allowed, within the limits of concrete measurements), prior boarding, extra legroom seats, ...
So, when the flights are being released, the prices are being offered at a medium rate (of course, this depends on the length of the flight, popularity of the destination, high or low season, and many other things). This rate will be either a normal fare, either a free of tax fare in some cases.
About a month and a half before the flight date, the fare will fall under the promotions, and there, it's the moment to hit the BUY button. Here, flights are offered at considerably lower prices, starting with the lowest ones. Just an example, I had a flight for 7 Euro, from Barcelona to Fuerteventura, which is more than 4 hours of flight time... Which is crazy, since that is exactly the price of a bottle of water and a basic sandwich on the same flight :) Anyway, here the prices start off with a bottom price, always free of taxes, and sometimes een free online check-in is offered. Most common examples are 7, 10, 12, 15 , 20 and 25 Euro (depending on the earlier mentioned features). There is only a limited amount of seats at this price, so you should be quick. Sometimes, in 2 hours the price could double, since after these seats at the lowest price are sold, the seats at a price one level higher enter. Let's say, the first 20 seats are sold at 10 Euro. After that, Ryanair offers 30 seats at 15 Euro, 30 more at 22 ... And about at level 4 or 5, the tickets will lose their 'free of tax' option, and will become a normal fare, continuing the rise in price. Of course, if the flight is not ery popular, and the ticket sales don't go as they were expected, the price may stay lower, just to fill the airplane (since it's still better to sell 10 extra tickets at a lower price than flying half empty).
Anyway, to make it short here are the main rules to book a cheap ticket:
Book in low season, or just before high season. Though July and August are the general months of high season, it differs for every destination :) For example, in June Greece is a good option to have a nice cheap vacation. The Canary islands are already at high temperature starting from end of March, but the high season doesn't start untill middle of June. There, you can also be sure of having good weather 'till end of October, though the high season ends in mid September.
Book at the right moment, following the tips above. The best is about 1,5 - 1 month before departure date. Though, if you're already sure about when you want to go, checking the site twice a week won't harm to look out for sudden promotions, and will take only 2 minutes of your time.
Travel lightweight. I know this is a hard one, but even a shopaholic like me managed to travel for 2 weeks to the Canaries with only a handluggage. (And YES, I am freaking proud of that!) Since 1 Dec 2013, Ryanair allows an extra small handbag besides your 10kg hand luggage. Use it! And I don't have to explain to you that the bags of your coat, joggings, ... can serve as an extra packing space for small objects :)
Be flexible. The best option for getting REALLY cheap tickets, is to be flexible. About dates, but since I understand not everybody has such a flexible jobs, you can also be flexible about destinations. Choose a few options, and look for the cheapest alternative!
I wish all of you a nice time travelling around the world and discovering new places... With over 145 Ryanair's destinations, that mustn't be any problem...
PS: Right now, there are lots of promotions for mid and end of August... Don't wait too long :)