Irish low cost carrier Ryanair is going to offer connecting flights to their customers for the first time in the companies history, marking an end to the simple point-to-point budget carrier flights.
The first connecting flights are scheduled within the month through Rome Fiumicino airport with other destinations following.
Ryanair also announced that the airline is in discussions with Aer Lingus and Norwegian for potential partnerships involving thru-passengers. Other new features are also scheduled through a continuous improvement project the company follows for several years now.
You can read more about this from the Independent (access here) and their story.
Ryanair has announced a new wave of customer service upgrades, including connecting flights, auto check-in and express booking.
The announcements were made at the launch of Year 4 of its ‘Always Getting Better’ (AGB) programme of customer service improvements today.
Highlights over the coming year include:
Connecting flights will be available from this month, Ryanair says – initially through Rome Fiumicino airport, with connections at other airports to be rolled out shortly afterwards.
The airline is currently involved in discussions with Aer Lingus and Norwegian – “and other potential partners,” as it describes – with a view to launching connections (“a flight feeder service”) with third-party airlines in late summer.
2. Automatic Check-In
Several improvements have been announced for Phase 2 of the airline’s ‘My Ryanair’ service, including ‘Auto Check-in’, which will allow customers to check-in simultaneously for both sectors when return seats are booked. In this case, they will receive both boarding cards.
3. Express Booking [and premium booking options]
Customers will be able to save preferred bundles of bags, extras, seat preferences and so on as a default in their ‘My Ryanair’ user profile.
The function is firstly available to solo travellers, but will be rolled out to groups and families shortly, allowing a faster booking flow.
Other ‘My Ryanair’ improvements will include a wider range of transfer and parking services bookable through the app, enhanced search functions, dual profiles for personal and business use, and cashback offers for those who book hotels or car hire.
4. New Booking Categories
From May onwards, Ryanair will offer four booking categories.
These are ‘Regular’ (offering basic fares), ‘Family Plus’ (offering family fare bundles and flexibility), ‘Plus’ (the current ‘Leisure Plus’, offering increased flexibility) and ‘Flexi-Plus’ (replacing ‘Business Plus’ with business-friendly options, including a new, 50pc travel credit for cancellations).
5. Ryanair Rooms & Holidays
Ryanair’s accommodation and package holiday services are already up and running, but 2017 will see more partners and choice, the airline says, with Hostelsclub and B&Bs bringing its total of ‘Ryanair Rooms’ partners to five across Europe.
Overall it’s obvious that the core mission of Ryanair (and any company really) is to drive increase of revenue and the airline is traditionally very successful with this.
That being said, departing (literally) from their business model of point-to-point flights, offering cheap to affordable tickets and then selling on board products for ancillary revenue comes with a danger. Offering connections bears risks such as misconnects and long delays which are covered by the EC261/2004 regulation.
While this applies to regular A to B flights as well, chances of someone misconnecting through a slight delay and being then eligible for a couple hundred Euro in compensation could upend Ryanairs desire for fat profit margins. That being said there are reports all over the place that in order for Ryanair to actually pay you EU Compensation you actually have to sue, they pretty much never pay voluntarily.
Ryanair chairman O’Leary did pretty much everything right you can do right when it comes to managing an airline as far as the operational organization and results go. Though the carrier is not without controversy when it comes to labor and customer service handling one can’t deny their successful results.
Let’s see how this is going to turn out in the long run. I’m personally not a big fan of Ryanair and their peers including wannabe low cost carriers such as Germanwings (Lufthansa’s little ugly child).