Ryanair launches connecting flights, express booking in major service upgrade
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:
1. Connecting flights
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.
"We also plan to sell flights operated by other airlines on Ryanair.com," it adds.
2. Auto 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
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. Four 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.
'Ryanair Holidays' will continue its roll-out to a wider range of countries.
Since 'Always Getting Better' was introduced in 2014, Ryanair has announced new interiors and uniforms, introduced business, family and package holiday services - as well as allocated seating and second carry-on bags, among other initiatives.
“The success of the 'Always Getting Better' programme over the past three years has been reflected in ever increasing load factors and record passenger numbers, which has seen our traffic grow by over 50pc," said Kenny Jacobs, Chief Marketing Officer.
It has also introduced a car hire service, 'Ryanair Rooms', a schools travel product and rebooted its website and app in a bid to become "the Amazon of travel".
There has been no announcement on in-flight Wi-Fi, however.
The airline hopes to grow its annual traffic to 200 million customers by 2024.
NB: This story is being updated live.