Ryanair Getting All Soft?

The public has a love / hate relationship with RyanAir.

They’re an incredibly successful company, but their track record with respect to customer service has been far from stellar.

However, as mentioned previously, there are signs that this is changing.

Whether the changes are coming from the airline’s own management or are due to external forces is not clear, but positive changes are always welcome.

Yesterday the airline announced a number of changes to how they handle their passengers and they’re pretty big:

After an extensive customer feedback programme through its “Tell MOL” page on the Ryanair.com website, Ryanair confirmed that it was introducing the following customer service improvements over the next 6 months to end March 2014.

1.      The “Recaptcha” security code will be removed from the Ryanair.com website for individual bookings next week (on 1 Nov next).
2.      From 1 Nov, customers who book directly on the Ryanair.com website (i.e. not via travel agents or screenscrapers) will be given a 24 hour grace period from the time of their original booking, to correct any minor errors (i.e. spelling, names, routings) made in their original booking.

3.      From 1 Nov, Ryanair will operate “quiet flights”, prior to 8am in the mornings and after 9pm in the evenings. During these quiet flight periods no PA’s will be made on board other than required safety announcements. Ryanair will also dim the lights during these quiet flights so that any customers who wish to snooze, can comfortably do so.

4.      From 1 Dec, Ryanair will allow passengers to bring a 2nd small carry-on bag (small ladies handbag or small airport shopping bag) no bigger than 35 x 20 x 20 cms which will allow a bottle of wine or equivalent to be carried.

5.      From 1 Dec, Ryanair’s boarding card reissue fee will be cut from €70/£70 to €15/£15 for customers who have already checked in online. Customers who fail to check-in online will continue to pay a €70 airport check-in fee.
6.      From 5 Jan, Ryanair’s standard airport bag fees will be cut from €60/£60 to €30/£30 at the bag drop desk, and from €60/£60 to €50/£50 at the boarding gate, bringing them into line with competitor airline standard airport bag fees.

So it’ll be easier to book flights via their site and you’ll also be able to fix up typos after the fact (which is more than what some airlines allow you).

The concept of “quiet flights” is nice – I’m not sure how many announcements RyanAir were making during their flights, but having flown with other airlines extensively the number of PA announcements on some airlines is excessive.

What’s probably most significant are the two changes related to carry-on luggage and boarding passes. Ryanair’s policies in both areas up until now were, for lack of a better word, insane. Charging people 70 Euro to print a boarding pass will be no more, as long as the passenger has checked in online in advance, though they’ll still charge 15 Euro. It’s a move in the right direction, though I’d still consider it to be excessive especially when you consider that so many airlines are now offering mobile boarding passes.

Michael O’Leary has also been fielding questions from the public both via the RyanAir site and via the company’s new Twitter account.


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