Ryanair announces 'one-flick' payments, auto check-in and real-time reviews
'Always Getting Better' Year 3
Ryanair is to launch a new 'one-flick' payment system and 'Leisure Plus' product in its latest wave of innovations.
The announcements were made at an event launching Year 3 of its 'Always Getting Better' (AGB) programme of customer service improvements today.
A new 'One-flick' payment system in the Ryanair app will allow customers to pay instantly for reserved seats, fast track security, priority boarding, parking, transfers and upgrade to leisure or business plus. It will be available from May 2016.
'Leisure Plus' is a new product offering a reserved seat, priority boarding, a 20kg bag and auto check-in in one bundled package from July 2016. Starting from €43.99, it is aimed at "well-heeled" leisure travellers.
A new 'Rate my flight' app feature will allow customers to rate flights and boarding processes, as well as crew and service on board. Real-time feedback will be available to customers from May 2016, the airline says.
Auto check-in will allow 'My Ryanair' members to save their passport details, check-in automatically and have boarding passes sent by email from October 2016.
An upgraded Business Plus product will include security fast-track at more airports, with increased flexibility on ticketing and flight changes from July 2016.
A 'My Ryanair' Club will allow members priority access to sales, money-off vouchers, and a free return flight when 12 flights are booked in a single year. It will be available from October 2016.
New Travel Guides will partner with the "best destination guides available" to go with its blog, social media and user-generated content, creating what Chief Marketing Officer Kenny Jacobs calls "Europe's most accessible travel content".
The airline is also offering a new groups website, as well as a bonded and dedicated 'Schools Travel' service that it says will help schools to save millions in booking and managing school trips. It's described as a "travel agency for school tours".
Simpler baggage options will reduce price options from 108 (who knew?) to six, offering the same fees online or at the airport, in 15kg and two 20kg categories.
By any measure, Always Getting Better has been an extraordinary success.
Since it was introduced in 2014, Ryanair has announced new interiors and uniforms, introduced Business Plus and Family Extra products, rebooted its website and app and added allocated seating and second carry-on bags, among other initiatives.
Year 3 is "mostly about innovation", Jacobs said, restating the airline's aspiration to become "a one-stop travel shop" and a "travel retailer that specialises in flights".
This January, Ryanair said that it had become the first airline to carry over 100 million international customers in a single year, while the airline made a €103m after-tax profit in the quarter ending December 2015.
It has spread from 60 to 84 bases across Europe in two years.
"This is not a PR stunt," said CEO Michael O'Leary, describing the Always Getting Better programme as a "transformative" evolution and a "fundamental change" in the way both he and Ryanair do business.
'"If I'd known being nice to customers would have been so good for business, I would have done it years ago," he added.
By 2020, Ryanair aims to fly 140 million passengers a year.