Ryanair reduces airport fees, continues customer service enhancements

Irish low fares airline Ryanair has lowered its airport check-in fees and missed departure fee, as part of its three-year ‘Always Getting Better’ customer experience improvement programme.

Under the programme, which is currently in its second year, Ryanair has reduced its airport check-in fee from EUR70 to EUR45, while the missed departure fee has been reduced from EUR110 to EUR100. The fee reductions are in line with an enhanced sports equipment service, offering five separate sports options and lower fees for smaller items.

Ryanair Chief Marketing Officer, Kenny Jacobs said: ‘Europe’s customers have always chosen Ryanair for our low fares and great choice of routes and through our ‘Always Getting Better’ programme, we are continuing to improve our customer experience. Having enhanced our sports equipment offering, today we have lowered our missed departure and airport check-in fees, the latest in an on-going series of changes and we will continue to listen and improve, ensuring even greater choice and service for our 100m annual customers.’

Separately, commenting on the continued customer service enhancements at Ryanair as part of the ‘Always Getting Better’ programme, Jacobs said: ‘Alongside our new routes, increased frequencies, Business Plus and Family Extra services, Ryanair customers can now look forward to further service enhancements, as we roll out Year 2 of our AGB programme in 2015, which includes a new website, new app, new cabin interiors, new crew uniforms, improved in-flight menus, reduced fees, and great new digital features such as ‘hold the fare’ and price comparison services.’

Ryanair has registered a 16 percent increase in traffic to nine million customers in April, while rolling annual traffic to April increased by 12 percent to 91.8m customers, the airline said.


Ryanair launches new Customer Charter, unveils 2015 customer experience initiatives

Irish low-fares airline Ryanair has launched its new Customer Charter and unveiled the 2015 customer experience initiatives which form year two of its ‘Always Getting Better’ programmes.

Launched in London to mark the airline’s 30th anniversary, Ryanair’s new Customer Charter is aimed at improving all aspects of the Ryanair experience for its 100m customers. It includes an 8-promise plan:

Always Getting Better is the way we promise to do things

We promise the lowest fares

We promise the best choice of destinations

We promise to always prioritise safety

We promise to strive to make your travel an enjoyable experience

We promise we will always be Europe’s most reliable airline

We promise to be transparent and to make travel simple for you

We promise to innovate to make your travel exciting

Ryanair also announced a series of customer service improvement initiatives which will be introduced over 2015 under the second year of its 3-year ‘Always Getting Better’ programme.

Accordingly, starting March, the new Boeing ‘Sky’ interiors will include more destination images as well as increased legroom, Ryanair’s chief marketing officer Kenny Jacobs reportedly told the Independent. The cabin crew will also have new uniforms.

In addition the airline will lower fees for airport check-in and missed departures as well as provide a new flight cancellation option at EUR15 per segment fee, within 24 hours of booking, starting May. Ryanair will also introduce a new ‘Hold a Fare’ feature to its website and mobile app, enabling customers to hold fares for up to 24 hours for a fee of EUR5, from June.

The airline is also planning a new insurance product starting September. An improved inflight menu, personalised Ryanair.com website with 100 versions of the homepage and an enhanced ‘My Ryanair’ customer registration system are among other improvements under consideration.

Ryanair CMO, Kenny Jacobs said: ‘Our customers can look forward to an improved inflight experience with new cabin interiors and a new menu, fantastic new digital features including personalised websites, a faster app, ‘hold the fare’ and price comparison features and great destination content, reduced fees and a new flight cancellation option, as well as new insurance products. We will also continue to add new routes and airports to what is already Europe’s largest network, offering an even greater choice to our 100m annual customers.’

In the future, Ryanair will be ‘a travel retailer that specialises in flights,’ Jacobs said.

Ryanair CEO, Michael O’Leary said: ‘We thank our customers for making Ryanair Europe’s favourite airline and assure them that we will continue to offer them so much more than just the lowest fares, with the biggest route network, industry leading reliability and performance, and the best customer service.’


Courier cheaper than airline baggage fees

Airline baggage fees, including those of budget airlines such as Ryanair, are becoming so expensive that it can be cheaper for holidaymakers to use a specialist courier to ship their luggage to their destination, new consumer research shows.

The finding is part of the investigation conducted by consumer regulator, Which!, into the cost of luggage on budget airlines. Which! found that holidaymakers and families can make significant savings by sending their summer luggage to their destination by courier. Michael O’Leary’s Ryanair was found to be the most expensive of the six low-cost airlines surveyed.

According to the research, courier firm, SendmyBag, is almost $10 cheaper when compared to Ryanair’s charge to send a suitcase from London to Malaga in Spain. Ryanair charges $55 to put a standard 20 kg suitcase into the aircraft hold on a one-way flight to Malaga, $10 more than what SendmyBag charges for the same weight.

The researchers said that golfers could also save significantly by sending their clubs with couriers rather than using airlines. The transport of golf clubs using budget airlines could cost over $1,000 for four golfers, but less than half that with courier firms.

Ryanair is not alone in imposing demanding fees for carrying holiday luggage items. The investigation found that four of the five luggage couriers surveyed were cheaper to transport a 30 kg golf bag from England to Spain than Jet2, Monarch, or Thomson Airways.

Airlines around the world are expected to make approximately $36 billion each year from ‘upsells’ and additional fees, such as those for extra luggage allowance.

A Which? spokesman said: ‘It’s surprising that it can work out hundreds of pounds cheaper to get sports gear chauffeured to your destination rather than putting it in the hold.’

However, ‘The downside of using a courier company is that you need to be more organised, as the standard delivery is likely to take a minimum of three working days to be there on arrival,’ he said, adding: ‘You’ll also have to check your hotel is happy to receive it.’

Gillian Edwards, spokeswoman for travel association, ABTA, said: ‘I think if people are planning to take something away with them which is particularly bulky, then it may be worth looking at other options, including couriers.

‘We advise passengers to check the weight allowance for hold and hand baggage as they change and it can be very expensive to pay for extra at check-in,’ she added.


Ryan Air reveal secrets to avoiding optional fees

Ryanair yesterday revealed the ‘secrets’ of how to avoid all the airlines optional fees by publishing a free online guide entitled, ‘How Do I Avoid Paying Optional Fees?’. The guide urges passengers to avoid bringing checked in bags, ensure they check-in online to avoid boarding card reissue penalties, and complete their booking with MasterCard Prepaid to avoid administration fees.

Ryanair’s free guide, which is available with a simple click through on the ryanair.com fees page, advises passengers as follows:

·       Admin Fee– avoidable by paying with Ryanair’s recommended MasterCard Prepaid card.
·       Priority Boarding Fee – is avoidable by not selecting this service.
·       Reserved Seating Fee – is avoidable by not selecting this service.
·       Boarding Card Re-issue Fee – is avoidable by presenting your online boarding pass.
·       Checked Bag Fee – is avoidable by travelling with no checked baggage.
·       Excess Baggage Fee – is avoidable by complying with agreed weight limits.
·       Online Check-In Fee – is avoidable by purchasing Ryanair’s lowest advertised promotional fares which include online check-in free of charge.


Ryanair’s Stephen McNamara said:

 “Ryanair’s optional fees are designed to encourage passengers to travel in a low cost way, which enables Ryanair to save costs and pass on these savings through the lowest possible fares to our passengers. We are the only airline to have a detailed fees table easily accessible on our home page and now we have also produced a free guide to avoiding these optional fees – to ensure that all Ryanair passengers know how to avoid them.
At Ryanair we don’t want your fees, we want to change passenger behaviour so that all passengers book their tickets and travel with us in the lowest cost manner which enables Ryanair to sell the lowest priced airfares to our 75m passengers.”

Despite Recovery Rhetoric, Proposed Flight Taxes Could Hurt UK Tourism

Britain’s tourism industry certainly hasn’t enjoyed a lucrative year. From the Icelandic volcano and its cancellation fallout to the recent stream of bankruptcies in the private travel sector, some of the nation’s leading companies are no longer the powerhouses that they once were. Some have blamed the poor tourism sector on a weak economy, although others believe there’s significantly more to it.

Some, for example, have pointed to the rising role of the internet in travel as a reason for the poor performance of many travel resellers. Others claim that the industry is suffering due to a change in consumer spending habits, one that’s likely to have been encouraged by the limited budgets many families are now forced to contend with.

Whatever the cause, the outcome has been fairly bleak. Prime Minister David Cameron has claimed that the industry is of paramount importance to Britain, citing its £115 billion value as one of many reasons to work with tourism operators. But a proposed flight tax – one that’s likely to hit private tourism operators the hardest – appears to be working against his rhetoric.

Britain’s tourism industry is worth as much as the government claims, through their course of action for ensuring it survives has been met with criticism by insiders. Long haul flight taxes are projected to rise £30 – should the proposed taxes come into effect, the cost of flying to New York will include an estimated £85 in Air Passenger Duties alone.

It’s a prospect that’s leaving travel operators, and travellers themselves, feeling rather cheated. With tourism at an all-time low point and businesses continually closing doors, the flight taxes are likely to draw further criticism within the industry. For frequent travellers, we can only hope that they’re nothing more than speculation.