Ryanair halves its excess baggage fee in latest salvo to win over customers
RYANAIR is playing Santa instead of Scrooge by halving its excess baggage fee in time for Christmas.
In the latest effort to show a softer, more consumer-friendly side, the airline said that from yesterday, the cost of carrying an extra kilogram of luggage over its current 15kg and 20kg limits has been cut, with the cost per excess kilogram falling from €20 to €10.
Having spent years all but ignoring complaints, Europe's biggest airline has now gone on a charm offensive.
Headed by Michael O'Leary, Ryanair has been introducing a number of significant changes to the costs and penalties it levies on its passengers.
Spokesman Robin Kiely said that Christmas was a time when people travelled with lots of baggage. He said the reduction in fees was an "early Christmas present to our customers".
"We want to say a very sincere thank you to our 81 million passengers and wish them all a very happy Christmas," he added.
So far, Ryanair has:
* Reduced the fee for reissuing a boarding card at the airport to €15 from €70.
* Allowed passengers to make ticket changes for free within 24 hours of booking.
* Permitted passengers to have one additional carry-on bag -- big enough for a bottle of wine.
* Introduced 'quiet flights' in the morning and evening, with dimmed lights and in-flight safety announcements only.
* Revamped its website to make it easier to book flights.
* Fully allocated seating will be introduced from February, while the cost of checking in a bag at the airport will drop from €60 to €30 from January 5.
Mr O'Leary has also said he would introduce new family-friendly fares, as well as fare packages that would target business travellers.
At a lunch last month he told an audience of accountants how he had had to endure the "questionable pleasure" of bringing four children under eight to Peppa Pig World just outside Bournemouth.
"We'll also be announcing significant discounts for anyone who wants to accompany my wife and children whenever they next travel abroad," he joked.
Mr O'Leary has embraced the new Ryanair image with live Twitter chats in recent weeks.
He fielded questions from customers on diverse topics.
Asked what his favourite place in Europe was to travel, he replied: "Costa del Gigginstown, 10km outside Mullingar, Co Westmeath, far outsida Dublin."
The airline boss breeds cows and keeps racehorses there.