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Ryanair to launch frequent flyer service from €199 per year

The new flat fee for extras is one of several 'customer care' changes on the way, our Travel Editor reports

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Frankfurt-Hahn Airport. Passengers board a Ryanair passenger plane. Photo by Ulrich Baumgarrten via Getty Images

Frankfurt-Hahn Airport. Passengers board a Ryanair passenger plane. Photo by Ulrich Baumgarrten via Getty Images

Frankfurt-Hahn Airport. Passengers board a Ryanair passenger plane. Photo by Ulrich Baumgarrten via Getty Images

Sick of tacking on Priority Boarding and paying extra for seat selection every time you book a Ryanair flight?

The airline's latest wheeze could save you the hassle - for a €199 annual fee.

'Ryanair Choice', as the new frequent flyer scheme is being dubbed, will bundle unlimited Priority Boarding, standard seat selection and fast-track services (where available) into a single annual fee, it says.

The €199 subscription does not include basic air fares, of course.

Will it save regular travellers any cash?

Currently, Priority Boarding costs from €6 to €10 per flight (including two pieces of hand luggage), with standard seat selection starting from €3.

Taking a basic cost of €9 per flight for these two extras, a passenger would need to take more than 22 Ryanair flights a year before any savings kick in.

The scheme, one of several new customer care "improvements" announced today, will be rolled out at the end of summer.

Other changes include a 'Customer Care Charter' that Ryanair says will see EU261 claims for delayed or cancelled flights processed "in 10 days".

The service will be rolled out with "new 24/7 support" and connect passengers within two minutes, Ryanair is promising.

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A new, 48-hour grace period for booking changes is also being introduced.

This will allow passengers who wish to amend a booking an extra 24 hours in which to do so, without incurring extra charges.

Currently, name changes alone cost from €115 online.

The changes come as Ryanair prepares to accept delivery of the first of up to 200 new Boeing 737 MAX 8-200 "gamechanger" aircraft this April.

The airline expects to carry 152 million customers this year, despite the fact that it issued its second profit warning in a row last month, and shuttered its two-year-old 'Ryanair Holidays' division this January.

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