Thursday 18 December 2014

It's Ryanair's business class: but not as we know it

John Mulligan and Pol O'Conghaile

Published 28/08/2014 | 02:30

Kenny Jacobs,Chief Marketing Officer at Ryanair,speaking and Michael O'Leary,Chief Executive  at the launch of their new (3xDaily) Dublin-Brussles Zaventem route as part of an extended Dublin winter 2014 schedule in Dublin yesterday..Pic Tom Burke 21/8/2014
Kenny Jacobs

Ryanair is open to making what would be one of the biggest changes to its aircraft in the past 20 years - adding more premium seats to cater for business passengers.

Changing the internal seating structure of its aircraft would be a major departure for the airline, whose 303-strong fleet of Boeing 737s all have 189 passenger seats on board.

But the airline, which has just launched its new fare structure aimed at business passengers, has admitted that such customers may not always be able avail of the so-called 'premium' seating that they're entitled to as part of their ticket price.

Ryanair only has 45 seats on each aircraft that it describes as premium.

They either have more legroom or are close to an exit.

While business passengers will automatically be entitled to a premium seat, there's no guarantee they'll get one.

Other passengers are free to continue paying for premium seats if they so wish.

Ryanair chief marketing officer Kenny Jacobs conceded that on some routes at certain times there won't be enough premium seats for every business passenger.

He said in such cases where high business fare demand emerges, extra frequencies could be added.

He added that while it would be Ryanair's "least favoured option", it would be open to altering its seating structure to add more premium seats.

Ryanair's 'Business Plus' is offering tickets starting from €69.99. The fares include:

* Flexible ticket changes;

* A 20kg checked-in bag allowance, and fast-track airport security at selected airports;

* Priority boarding;

* Premium seating.

Mr Jacobs said that while fliers can currently pay extra for most of the elements of the business fare, buying them separately would end up costing more than buying them under the new business product.

Around 25pc of Ryanair's customers travel on business.

The new flexible ticketing offers unlimited flight changes and the option to change flights on the day of travel - which will be free of charge.

Fast-track security is available at select airports: Dublin; Barcelona El Prat; Brussels Charleroi; London Stansted; Liverpool; East Midlands; Milan Bergamo; and Manchester.

The new service is the latest development in the airline's on-going charm offensive.

That's seen a dramatic turnaround that has seen Ryanair introduce a new website, allocated seating; a free second carry-on bag; a new mobile app; and a dedicated family service to entice passengers.

Irish Independent

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