Ryanair, an Ireland-based low-cost airline, is to move towards allocating all seats on its flights by February of next year.
Responding to passengers that have registered their dislike of the existing free-for-all as passengers rush to grab non-allocated seats, the company will carry out its own allocation of seats, free of charge, 24 hours before each flight. However, passengers wishing to choose their own seat will be able to do so in advance for a £5.00 surcharge.
This is one of a number of measures that Ryanair is taking to improve its customer image after being slated in various reports for adopting a supercilious attitude towards its customers. During October customers were encouraged to lodge questions and suggestions with Ryanair CEO, Michael O’Leary. As a result of feedback, the company has also reduced its boarding card fee by £15, allowed passengers to change their bookings up to 24 hours before a flight, reduced its hold luggage fee by £30, and allowed two carry-on bags.
At the same time as announcing its revised seat allocation procedure, the company also announced a revised profit warning due to pressure on fares. An expected nine percent reduction in fares for pre-Christmas travel, and a similar reduction predicted for the first quarter of 2014, mean that the company could see the £486.9 million surplus that it achieved in the last financial year reduced to £423.3 million in this financial year.
The news caused Ryanair shares to drop by 12 percent, to £5.40, in this morning’s trading.