I certainly used to use Ryanair for more unusual destinations, & before the tax hikes & Surcharges from the UK, they really did offer value for money. Now i don’t think they do. The back up on reliability just isnt good enough to ensure a busy schedule goes smoothly.
I recall the days when KLMUK dominated the international terminal at STN (they completely had the decor to celebrate with the KLM Blue & swans), & they flew to most major EU cities.
But i book my flights well ahead & use either LCY or LHR (only as a must with a hotel eve before), & with one ways now on Cityjet very reasonable, great value.
Amsterdam £90 returns wit 20 flights a day from LHR /LCY, & Lisbon Budapest mostly in the EU for around £139. Benefit from Schipol, great lounges, match my gold membership of 30 flights a yr, & miles.
In this way, & with the add ons & standards of the seating on low cost, I dont use Easyjet or Ryanair anymore.
I am however, intrigued at Premium economy being developed Long haul, & some low cost Airlines, having premium seats like AirAsiaX. This will indeed be a growth Area & an business opportunity. A decent seat to sleep long haul, modern aircraft most important for me, especially at 1/3rd of the price (eg STN – KUL on AirAsiaX).
I think the bandwagon of Airport taxes, fuel surcharges, & Government UK Taxes have damaged low cost travel from the UK, & the gap between full service Airlines & them is practically nil with cost now…