RyanAir in Budapest

Since the bankruptcy of Malév earlier this year RyanAir returned to Budapest and Budapest Airport and at the moment they have more than 30 destinations available from Budapest. As of today that makes up a very large percentage of all flights leaving and arriving to Budapest, making them very important when it deals with tourism in Hungary. Lots of people have a determination never to fly with RyanAir, while others fly regularly enjoying low fares and some not too comfortable stuff. Here comes a RyanAir in Budapest wrap up, at least the way Budablogger sees it!

Waiting outside for boarding unto RyanAir flight earlier this year!

As Malév threw in the towel Budapest Airport lost about 2 million passengers a year. Many of these passengers where transfer passengers only landing in Budapest and traveling on to the next destination within hours, spending hours and money at Budapest Airport. Since then Vienna Airport has taken over the role as leading transit airport and they for sure enjoy the benefits of the Malév bankruptcy. Only days after Malév went bankrupt RyanAir announced the fact that they will open their Budapest base flying to more than 30 destinations in Europe. Great stuff! The goal of RyanAir was to bring 2 million passengers to Budapest each year, thus filling the hole after Malév. The airport taxes paid to Budapest Airport per passenger flying with Malév is though less than what they in general get from a RyanAir passenger, so the part suffering in all of this is Budapest Airport. At the same time increased taxes makes it harder to operate the airport and that has also led to the increased fees for Budapest Airport parking.

Recently RyanAir has received some extra media attention in Budapest and Hungary due to two facts. The first is the fact that they always let their passengers walk to the flights, meaning no bus connection at all from the terminal building to the flights. Adding onto this is the fact that recently Budapest Airport set up small tents in which RyanAir passengers have to wait outside for their flights; with no toilets, washes or other similar facilities. The second reason just came to media as RyanAir announced that they will stop flying to 10 of their current destinations due to increased taxes demanded by Budapest Airport. So, what’s up with RyanAir in Budapest?

Personal RyanAir experience

The last year I have been traveling 4 return trips with RyanAir (all in all eight times). I must say that everything has worked out perfectly all travels. Of course, you might feel some fear if your hand luggage exceeds the allowed hand luggage size (do not try that). They might be strict if your paid luggage exceeds the kg amount you have paid for (15kg or 20kg). They might not let families with children enter before others to the flight (you will to pay extra to use the priority line), but still in quite some situations the crew at the airports have been nice and let us use the priority line even without paying for it… (thank you RyanAir)! In general I must say that if you follow the RyanAir rules, watch out for your luggage size and weight, and get to the airport and to your gate in time you should be able to enjoy your flight and hopefully also enjoy a real good price for your ticket.

Walking under roof from flight to terminal at Budapest Airport

Budapest Agent recently wrote an article complaining about the fact that passengers have to wait in tents at Budapest Airport. In my eyes this sounds much worse than it really is. First of all… before the tents where set up passengers had to wait outside in open air waiting for boarding their flights (done that a couple of times earlier this year). Luckily the weather was nice all times. Now they have set up tents and even built some kind of covered street to the tents, making it possible to get to the tent and almost all the way to the flight totally dry, even on a bad day weather in Budapest. I think that is a nice thing, at least compared to the fact that earlier this year no such thing existed at all!

Still it all sounds quite cruel. But, it is worth knowing that RyanAir only starts calling you to your gate 30-40 minutes before flight departure. This means that they check your boarding pass inside the terminal building and then send you out onto a short/long walk before finally arriving to the tent. As you arrive to the tent you do not have to spend hours there at all, but in general we are speaking of 5-15 minutes. Not the best, but compared to waiting outside in front of the plane (where there are no toilets either), I think this is no.

If you long for more luxury and no walking and waiting in tents or outside at all, skip both RyanAir, EasyJet and WizzAir, but if you want to fly very cheap, then this is what you get!

Less RyanAir destinations from Budapest

As of January 10 the 5 RyanAir flights flying from the base in Budapest will be decreased to three. The 30 destinations will be decreased to 20 and the RyanAir flights to the following destinations are supposed to be terminated: Baden-Baden, Birmingham, Bologna, Dusseldorf, Lubeck, Krakow, Malaga, Munich, Oslo and Thessaloniki. According to RyanAir this will also make 800 people lose their jobs as these destinations disappear. In addition the remaining 20 destinations will be visited less frequently (nine of them). This is a real tragedy, both for tourism in Hungary and Budapest and for Budapest Airport itself. But, who is to be blamed? Is it Budapest Airport who somehow had to increase the taxes? Or was Budapest Airport forced to do so by the present leaders of the nation? That is a good question and who really knows (see: Hungarian politics). What I know for sure is that RyanAir brings lots of tourists to town and 800,000 tourists not coming to Budapest means less hotel nights, less transfers, less people spending money on shopping and eating Goulash soup in restaurants… a pity!

Have you had good or bad experiences with RyanAir in Budapest? Would you like more RyanAir flights from Budapest, or would you rather see these Irish anti service people get out of the nation?

Lufthansa strike affecting Budapest

There has been quite some words about the strike of the Independent Flight Attendants Organization (UFO) lately, causing cancellations among Lufthansa flights from and to Berlin, Frankfurt and Munich. Currently there are no flights connected to Budapest suffering from the strike, but there are reported to be new cancellations coming up on September 7th, due to a new 24 hour strike from the flight attendants.

There are quite a lot of flights leaving from Budapest to Frankfurt and Munich daily from Budapest Airport, so if you need to visit those cities, especially on this upcoming Friday, make sure you check your flight schedule and with your local Lufthansa office before driving of to the airport.

For updated information you can also check arrivals and departures at www.bud.hu or you can visit the article by Lufthansa dealing with the same matter. Find it here.

If you want more information about Budapest Airport, check out this brand new article from the Budapest blog about Budapest Airport.

What is the problem with the taxis in Budapest?

Budapest is not the only place in the world to be known for tricky taxi drivers, but when you come as a tourist to Budapest you will for sure do good to have some basic knowledge about the taxis in town. This article will therefore give you advices on how to deal with the taxis in Budapest and information which will hopefully help you avoid overpayment and other sorts of taxi scams.

The largest groups of tourists coming to Budapest arrive from England, Germany, USA, Italy and Scandinavia. For these groups Budapest is normally said to be a cheap city and that is true. One of the activities said to be cheap is to use the local taxis, but that is only true if you get in a real and nice taxi taking paid as he should, and not more than that. Before coming up with our advices let me start with some typical stories I have heard from lots of tourists I have been speaking with in Budapest.

Bad stories about taxis in Budapest

Some nice gentlemen I once guided lived in Hotel Astoria and traveled with taxi from their hotel to Szechenyi Furdo. They ordered the taxi to the bath via their hotel and the trip to the thermal bath costed 2000 Forint. Once they finished their swim in the refreshing springs of the bath they left the building and jumped in a taxi waiting outside. Once arriving to their hotel the taxi driver told them to pay 10,000 Forint for their return trip. The guys only had a 20,000 Forint bill so they paid with this and got 10,000 back. Later they went to the shop to buy something and wanted to pay with the 10,000 bill. They then got to know that the bill they received from the taxi driver was not 10,000 Forint, but 10,000 Romanian Lei (an old bill). They took the case with a smile, but compared to the transfer to the thermal bath they paid 18,000 Forint for more the return transfer (about 65 Euro).

Some reporters from national television once jumped in a taxi outside WestEnd CityCenter pretending to be tourists. They asked for a trip to the Hungarian Parliament (about 1,5km from the shopping mall). Their driver took them on a nice city sightseeing driving them a distance of 7km before arriving to the Hungarian Parliament where he asked them to pay 7000 Forint. They then asked for a formal bill and told the driver to write it to the name of the TV channel (in Hungarian). He then threw them out of the car, and they did not have to pay!

Earlier this year some other guys I guided had to pay 6000 Forint for a small distance trip. Heavy overpayment, but okay. They paid with a 10,000 Forint bill. The driver gave them back 2×200 Forint bills. The tourist was aware and told the driver that he had given them back wrong. The driver said sorry, and said it was a big mistake, and gave them 2×2000 Forint bills. Speaking with the guy the day after I told him that the 200 bills are not in use in Hungary anymore (and hasn’t been for a while), so again this was a typical way a local taxi driver tried to trick a tourist.

Last week I spoke with four nice men. One guy had went to a night club while the other three guys went to Szimpla Budapest. Around 2.00 the three guys wanted to see if everything was okay with the last guy, so they jumped in a taxi on a street and told the driver to take them to the night club where the last guy spent his night. Well, they tried to, but since taxi drivers know where to bring people (against money), the driver didn’t at all want to take the group to the night club, but always tried to bring them somewhere else. In the end they kind of ended up there, but still they had to fight hard to get there!

One of the safe taxi companies – City Taxi

Advices on how to enjoy Budapest taxis

I guess you would like some advices on how to enjoy Budapest taxis and how to avoid stories such as these mentioned earlier. Here comes some advices which hopefully will help you, though one can never be 100% sure.

1) Walk on foot!
This is the cheapest and safest, but of course, there are times when you need a taxi and then you can forget this advice

2) Do not use taxis waiting on the street
There are lots of taxis standing at busy places in Budapest waiting for people to jump into them. These are typically around night clubs, in the vicinity of Vaci utca, close to shopping centers, in the City Park area and mostly all around Budapest. To jump into one of these is risky, at least if you do not want to be tricked. If you still want to try this, look for a taxi with an official name (City taxi, Radio Taxi, Fő taxi etc…), a telephone number and maybe a list of prices on the doors of the car. If the taxi only has a taxi sign on the top and maybe a taxi name on the side, but nothing else… skip it!

3) Call and order a taxi yourself
There are quite a lot of taxi companies in Budapest which can be trusted and who send nice taxies who do not trick you around. The most praised taxi company is City Taxi and their phone number is +36 1 211 1111. They allow you to pay with card in the taxi and I have not yet heard any complaint on their services. Another company is Fő Taxi. This is the same company which is responsible for the taxi transfers from Budapest Airport to the city center. Their phone number is +36 1 222 2222. Both companies have English speaking operators, so wherever you are in Budapest, give them a call and they will normally have a taxi waiting for you within 10 minutes.

4) Ask for help from your hotel or restaurant
If you live in a nice hotel or have eaten at a nice restaurant in Budapest they can normally help you order a nice taxi. They have an agreement with a company, meaning that they receive some money for every guests they order a cab for, and thus it is important for them to use a company trustworthy and offering good service. In most cases (90%) this works perfectly. If it doesn’t then you should report it to the hotel, and if you have the guts to do so, ask for the name of the driver and write down his license plate number so you can give that information on to the hotel/restaurant as well.

These were just a few advices which will hopefully help you and make your stay in Budapest even more enjoyable. A last piece of advice is to never ask your taxi driver for advice on where to go, especially not if you are looking for a night club. This advice is not only valid in Budapest but lots of other places around the world as well, but since they know where to deliver you against money, they will in most cases take you to the most expensive places and often the quality is not as high as what you pay for.

Good luck and enjoy your ride!

How to get from Budapest Airport to Sziget Festival (Obudai Island)?

I will arrive to Budapest Airport Terminal 2, and wonder how I can get from here to the Obudai Island where the Sziget Fes(z)tival is arranged. Can you please help?

In general we would recommend arranging with an airport transfer which is not especially expensive, but it will take you directly from the airport to the island and it is a very efficient way of getting there. Still, if you want a more advanced and public transportation way of getting to the Obudai Island, Sziget Fesztival, the following can be a working solution.

First travel with bus 200E from Budapest Airport Terminal 2 to Köbánya Kispest (metro station). From there you can travel with the metro to Deák Tér, then change to the red metro and travel to Batthány Tér (red metro). There you can change to the HEV traveling towards Szentendre. You need to stop at Filatorgiat, and then you are there.

Another option, much easier, is to travel with the special bus for the Sziget Festival from Liszt Ferenc Airport (Budapest Airport). This will be operating between August 4th and 8th between 9 in the morning and 00.30 every day, every second hour. On August 13th this bus will be operating from 3.00 til 14.00 transporting people back to the airport. We do not know anything about the actual cost of this bus, but it seems like a good solution to get from the airport to Obudai Island
(this information is valid for Sziget Fesztival in 2012…)

In case you are confused, Obudai Island is the same as Hajogyári sziget and Óbudai sziget. These are just other versions of the same place.

Budapest Airport Terminal 1 – newest parking lot in town!

Just a few months after Budapest Airport terminal 1 closed down due to lack in passengers it is about to reopen as a parking lot for people wanting to leave their car outside the centre of Budapest and keep traveling with train from there. This is an ideal solution as the new Ferihegy train station opened some years ago, and it can serve as an easier way to get to the city center, instead of bringing the car all the way.

The fee for parking here is supposed to be around 500 HUF per hour if you park from 0-12 hours. The monthly ticket for parking here, much more interesting for people who would like to use this on a daily basis is to cost 12,000 HUF.

Is it a ticket to use public transport for 2 days valid for the whole family?

No, there are no 48-hour tickets available. The only option is the 48-hour Budapest Card, but that costs 10,000 HUF almost and you need to visit a lot of museums for this to be worth the price. You could consider the “csoportos 24 órás jegy“, or as it would be in English: “Group ticket for 24 hours“. This can be used for up to 5 persons travelling together all the time, in the same wagon. The price is 3100 HUF and is worth using for families and larger groups traveling together. IF you are three persons, then the price for two such cards would be only 6200 HUF, compared to three persons buying the Budapest Card would cost 30,000 HUF.

You can buy this tickets described here at the larger metro stations around in Budapest.

You could consider the 72 hour ticket if you stay for three days which costs 3850 HUF per person.

Budapest transportation

Ask your Budapest question!

Can I buy a one week transportation card at Budapest Airport?

Can I buy a one week transportation card at Budapest Airport? Or maybe a single day ticket or a three day ticket?

It is not possible to buy daypass, three-day pass or a week pass at Budapest Airport. The only thing you can buy at the airport is single tickets, a package of ten single tickets and Budapest Pass. In most situations we do though not recommend the Budapest Pass, as that only is worth the money for those who plan to visit A LOT of museums and so on. For the normal usage of public transportation and maybe for visiting a few museums it is better worth simple buying a normal Budapest transportation ticket (3-day pass or 7-day pass) and later paying full entrance fee on the different places.

What to do then? As you arrive at the airport you can buy a single ticket at the Relay shop at the airport. Enter the bus, validate your ticket and travel to Köbánya Kispest (end station of the bus). There you can buy all tickets available, also the 1-day pass, 3-day pass and 7-day pass, and from there you can travel on with the metro to the city center of Budapest.

Ask your Budapest question!

Budapest Airport parking

For many people coming to Budapest the place of arrival is Budapest Airport. The airport has two terminals, terminal 1 and 2, but earlier this year the owner closed down terminal 1 due to few passengers, a natural consequence of the bankruptcy of the Hungarian airline Malév earlier this year. Even though RyanAir immediately launched more than 30 new destinations from Budapest, it still seems that the passenger amount decreased so much that they had to close down terminal one a few months later. This all lead to the closure of Budapest Airport Terminal 1 in the end of May 2012, and since then only terminal 2 has been in use.

A few weeks ago the news was given that the parking lot in front of Terminal 1 would be turned into a P+R parking lot, in which people coming from outside Budapest can park their cars and continue towards the city center of Budapest using either the train stopping at the Ferihegy stop next to the airport, or traveling with bus 200E from the airport towards Köbánya Kispest. From that stop travelers can travel on with metro towards the city center. This is of course nice, but what is going on at the parking lots in front of Terminal 2?

One of the fears of many tourists coming to Budapest deals with the taxi drivers of the city. Can we trust them? Will they trick me? Will they add additional fees for luggage and so on, thus giving me a far higher price than I should pay if I got a “normal” taxi? As a solution to this Budapest Airport Zrt. continuously try to make it harder for the unofficial airport taxi’s to operate at the airport, and so helping Fö Taxi (the official airport transfer company with set prices) to get more passengers. Until now there are lots of drivers approaching you as you arrive in the terminals, claiming to be official taxi drivers, offering you transportation to your Budapest hotel. Their cars have been parked outside the terminal and they simply get some passengers and drive on towards the city. Many warnings have been given against these so called official airport taxi drivers, but they still seem to get a lot of transfers, because they can still be seen.

New parking rules at Budapest Airport from August 8th, 2012

For the last years it has been impossible to park in front of the arrival terminal at Budapest Airport for anyone else than the official airport taxi’s and the airport mini bus. This means that even large tourist groups with buses ordered needed to walk up one floor to the departures part and walk out there, and then they could find their bus. This has been a really stupid solution and none really liked it. Since August 8th there have been changes, and now anyone can drive up in front of both the arrival and the departure part of Budapest Airport, thus with some heavy price changes.

If you want to park in front of the arrival or the departure part of Budapest Airport Terminal 2 they have introduced the so called Premium Parking since August 8th. The price for parking there is 2000 HUF for 30 minutes, but if you leave within 5 minutes the parking is free. It is though interesting that many workers with quite normal wages (500 HUF per hour) will need to work for four hours to be able to park for 30 minutes in front of the terminal. Of course those people with such salaries normally don’t fly so much, but still, this needs to be taken into consideration when setting a parking fee. If you walk outside the terminal building and down some stairs you will get to the big parking lots, and there you can park for 800 HUF if you leave within thirty minutes. If you leave within 10 minutes the parking is free.

I have been outside Budapest Airport several times since the new parking fees and rules were introduced, and it is interesting to see that there are almost no cars to see in front of the arrival and the departure part of Budapest Airport, the so called Premium Parking. In general there have been 3-4 cars parked in the parking lot, and everyone else just drive through picking up their passengers already waiting for them, or dropping of the passengers from the car, and then leaving within 5 minutes, thus not paying any parking fee at all. The question is if this is good for the airport, or not? An empty parking lot where everyone just drivers through, thus making no money, or a full parking lot with lower fees, but still making more money?

With the new system it has gotten much harder for pirate taxi’s to operate at Budapest Airport and that is for sure positive, but they are still there, so if you arrive at Budapest Airport, you should still look out for them, and just walk pass them as you arrive. It is possible to order private airport transfers before arrival, but if you have not done that, then you should walk by the drivers offering their services, and walk towards the official stand of the Airport Taxi or Fő Taxi outside the terminal building. The price of an airport transfer in Budapest with your own taxi driver should probably be between 6000-10,000 HUF, of course depending on where you stay, but if your hotel is in Budapest, it should fit into this price category.

If you would like to park your car at Budapest Airport for a longer period this can easily be done (so called long-time parking), as the airport has protected long time parking available, and at quite nice prices. This summer they have an offer giving you parking for 8 days costing only 9990 HUF, so this should be considered if you would like to leave your car at the airport.

Ferihegy, Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport or Budapest Airport

The airport in Budapest has two terminals, and earlier these have been known as Budapest Ferihegy Airport terminal 1 and 2 (A & B). Terminal A and B are located next to one another, so you can walk between the two terminals in one or two minutes. Not long ago it was renamed (as was lots of other squares, streets and so on in Budapest) to Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport or as we know it in Hungarian “Budapest Liszt Ferenc Nemzetközi Repülőtér.” In Hungary many people still use the name Ferihegy Airport, while others use the new name and call is Ferenc Liszt Airport. A third group simply call it Budapest Airport… What is important for you if you arrive to the airport is to know that it is the same airport they speak of, no matter which of the three names they use.

Transportation strike is over

And then the public transportation strike in Budapest was over, for this time. The buses are polluting the city again, the trams are following their normal schedules and the people of Budapest can easier get to their jobs than last week. Well, if the buses are able to drive. It has been snowing and it is quite cold, so often that causes great problems for the drivers and the buses!

At least it is over! So that was it for this time. There is a small strike on the Ferihegy Airport as well, but that is not expected to cause any further delays!

Public transportation strike in Budapest

Strike in Budapest

Yesterday BKV, the Public Transportation company in Budapest, started their strike which will last for an uncertain amount of time. The metro in Budapest is running as usual and so is the HEV (though not as often as normal). Those suffering are the people who would like to use trams and buses.

The most popular tram, number 6, is up and running, and so is tram number 2. Some other trams are going, but not on the entire line. Most buses are standing still, but for example the airport bus is following normal schedule.

We do not know how long this public transportation strike will last, but if some big things should happen, we will for sure write about it.