Ryanair launches Schools Travel - and package holidays are coming soon
'Always Getting Better'
Ryanair Schools Travel has officially launched today, and a package holiday service could follow next spring.
The new website, launched as part of the airline's three-year 'Always Getting Better' programme, is now live on Ryanair.com.
Ryanair Schools Travel Ltd., a separate company licensed and bonded as a travel agent, could save schools millions on their trips, the airline says.
108 Irish schools have already booked group flights using the new service, Ryanair confirmed to Independent.ie Travel this afternoon.
School Travel benefits include half-price reserve seats, flexibility with name changes, assigned seating and identical prices for each passenger.
A dedicated support team is also available at Ryanair's Dublin HQ.
“As Europe’s largest airline, no one is better placed to offer a dedicated School Travel service," said Kenny Jacobs, the airline's Chief Marketing Officer.
When its schools travel service was first announced last April, however, it came in for stinging criticism from Irish travel agents.
"No airline has the experience to become a travel agent at the flick of a switch; if they think they do, what a mess they will make," said Pat Dawson, CEO of the Irish Travel Agents' Association (ITAA), at the time.
"Time has moved on," Jacobs says. "Schools are getting better at putting together their own school tours, but ultimately they will decide."
Ryanair Schools Travel only sells flights - so it's likely that schools will still use agents to book accommodation and transport, or indeed, that agents themselves will use Ryanair School Travel in assembling school packages.
More complex itineraries and trips will continue to require the expertise of specialist travel agents, Jacobs admits.
With Ryanair Rooms set to launch this winter, however, it's only a matter of time before package holidays are available to its passengers.
"Packages are something we're looking at at the moment, and I'd expect we would launch a product early next year," Jacbos says.