Low-cost carrier Ryanair has announced several “customer care improvements”, including an extension to its grace period for changes to bookings and a frequent flyer programme.
For €199 or £199 a year, passengers can sign up for Ryanair Choice, which gives them free seat allocation, fast-track security and priority boarding. It is similar to the ‘Priority’ booking option offered to customers at booking, but Choice will give them a fixed fee for the whole year.
The airline hasn’t given any indication of when this programme will go on sale.
Ryanair is also extending its grace period for making changes to bookings from 24 hours to 48 hours and has set a target to process EU261 compensation claims within ten days.
It has also committed to operating 90 per cent punctuality – excluding delays caused by air traffic control shortages – or else shave 5 per cent off its air fares for the following month.
In addition, Ryanair has announced a carbon offset programme and plans to be plastic free within five years.
Other initiatives include digital improvements such as a new fare finder, sports ticket booking on its website, travel guides and a faster mobile app. It will also offer a ‘lowest fare’ guarantee, whereby customers will get paid the difference plus €5/£5 of MyRyanair credit if they find a cheaper fare within three hours of booking.
Chief marketing officer Kenny Jacobs said: “While we continue to improve our customer care, one thing that won’t change is our lower fares – which we promise will not be beaten – and our customers will still enjoy the biggest choice of destinations, with the most on-time flights and a fantastic onboard experience as we grow our fleet, traffic and routes.”
The Irish carrier is taking delivery of its first new B737 Max aircraft this April, which it says will offer passengers new interiors, more legroom and more seats. The Max is also more environmentally friendly.
Five of these aircraft are due to be based at Stansted.
The new customer initiatives come as Ryanair announces its winter schedule for its four London bases, including more flights on 24 existing routes from Stansted.
New flights include Luton-Krakow and Southend-Venice Treviso.