Is this the advent of a new caring, sharing Ryanair?
On-time jingle to be limited and passengers to be allowed correct minor online booking errors
Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary. The airline has announced measures to ease stringent travelling conditions for passengers. Photograph: Steve Parsons/PA Wire
The on-time jingle is to be silenced on early morning flights and passengers will be allowed correct minor booking errors and bring small shopping bags onto planes without having to remortgage their homes after Ryanair unveiled a range of customer service enhancements and price cuts this morning.
The airline has announced six major customer service improvements, the first since last month’s AGM at which chief executive Michael O’Leary admitted the customer-care culture at his airline was - possibly - “abrupt”. As a result, he promised to “try to eliminate things that unnecessarily piss people off”.
The “Recaptcha” security code which many users found all but impossible to decipher will be removed from the Ryanair.com website for individual bookings from November 1st. Customers who book directly on the website will also be given a 24 hour grace period from the time of their original booking to correct any minor errors such as spelling, names, routings.
On the same day, Ryanair will introduce “quiet flights before 8am and after 9pm. During these quiet flight periods, no announcements will be made on board other than required safety messages, which means the much loved - or maligned, depending on how you look at it - on-time jingle is set to be silenced. Ryanair will also dim the lights during these quiet flights so any passengers who wish to snooze can comfortably do so.
A month later, a rule change will be introduced that will allow passengers to bring a second small carry-on bag - the airline says a small ladies’ handbag or airport shopping bag - will be permitted. This will allow a bottle of wine or its equivalent to be carried on board.
The airline’s boarding card reissue fee will be cut from €70 to €15 for customers who have already checked in online, although those who do not check-in online will still have to to pay a €70 airport check-in fee.
From early January, Ryanair’s standard airport bag fees will be cut from €60 to €30 at the bag drop desk and from €60 to €50 at the boarding gate, bringing them into line with competitor airline standard airport bag fees.
“We are very excited at these significant improvements,” Mr O’Leary said today, adding that Ryanair was now “actively listening and responding” to its customers.
“These are the first in a series of customer service improvements which Ryanair is actively working on,” said Ryanair’s director of customer service, Caroline Green.
“As some of these policy changes will require website changes and handling staff retraining, we will be rolling them out over the next few months,” she said. “If customers have any other suggestions or feedback they want us to hear, then please use our customer feedback service “Tell MOL” on the Ryanair.com website.”