Thursday 14 November 2019

Stop whinging about seats - O'Leary

Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary. Photo: Bloomberg
Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary. Photo: Bloomberg

Cillian Sherlock

Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary has denied the airline has changed its seating policy following claims people are being separated on flights.

The budget airline has come under fire for allegedly splitting up passengers who are travelling together if they do not pay extra to select their seat.

Mr O'Leary went on the offensive yesterday as he spoke on RTÉ's Today with Sean O'Rourke programme and Liveline. He denied there was any recent change of policy or in the seat allocation algorithm to keep people apart. He said the apparent rise in passengers being split up was due to more people buying reserved seating since the option was introduced two years ago.

Mr O'Leary told 'Liveline': "We don't go in and change the algorithm. It changes due to demand and because the number of reserved seats has changed.

"You are now increasingly more likely to be split up if you select a random seat, because that's what random means."

He said customers could choose to book a random reserved seat for free or select a seat for €2 or €4.

"It's a very simple policy. It's your choice. If you've made the choice, stop whinging after it's made," he said.

Mr O'Leary denied the airline ever attempted to accommodate passengers who booked together with neighbouring seats.

He said more than 50pc of passengers were now choosing to pay for a reserved seat, which has led to other passengers being split up.

"We have more than 65 million people who chose to pay for the seat," he said.

"The only way to guarantee sitting together is to buy a reserved seat from a cost of €2," he added.

Mr O'Leary added that the company had reduced their average fares by 8pc this year.

Irish Independent

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