Ryanair’s punitive measures may have recently forced one Mancunian student to change his name by deedpoll (getting a new passport for £103 was cheaper than paying the carrier’s £220 admin fee) but the Irish airline is seemingly on a charm offensive. Director took to the skies on the airline’s flight from Stansted to Comiso in Sicily
Over the last year, Ryanair has rolled out more customer-friendly initiatives such as allocated seating, extra carry-on luggage and more legroom. Key to this is wooing business passengers (according to Ryanair, business passengers comprise a quarter of customers) which is possibly why the Irish carrier has launched its ‘Business Plus’ service which offers flexibility on ticket changes, 20kg baggage allowance, fast-track airport security and priority boarding.
The improvements have paid off (Ryanair’s profits soared 66 per cent to €867m/ £623m) in the first full year since the changes were introduced. But does the airline’s revamped image – part of CEO Michael O’Leary’s ‘Always Getting Better’ plan to “fix the things our customers don’t like” – really come home to passengers? Director sampled a flight to Comiso in the remote southeastern corner of Sicily to find out…
Ryanair: Check in
With Stansted swarming with people, Director inadvertently ended up waiting in the wrong lane. Lack of Ryanair signage meant we had no way of realising our mistake, until we were at the front of the queue, causing unnecessary delays. Check-in staff were approachable but somewhat distracted, possibly because of the hordes of travellers they were processing that day. Score 5/10
Running slightly late thanks to our check-in faux pas, Director was startled to learn our gate was a significant walk away. However, help arrived when we discovered a Stansted transit people mover that whisked us there in under five minutes. Score 8/10
Ryanair’s new allocated seating service (available from €5 per person per seat) seems to have killed the usual gate-side scramble. The 30-inch legroom (40 inches in rows 1ABC, 2DEF and emergency exits) was ample enough for the three-and-a-half hour flight. Score 7/10
Ryanair’s customer service has generally improved but the attendants on this particular flight were robotic to the point of Steptford-style automation. Enjoyment of the journey was marred by the unrelenting din of sales messages and flight attendants’ interruptions. Meanwhile, a blanket would have been useful to stave off the cabin’s arctic-like temperatures. Score 3/10
As Ryanair’s on-time fanfare is fond of telling us, around 90 per cent of its flights land on time. The pint-sized Comiso Airport saw Director clear the carabinieri passport control within five minutes. Score 9/10
Although Ryanair’s in-flight service needs some further improvements, its extensive network and impressive punctuality record, ensures a hassle-free way to reach many European destinations.
Total score: 32/50
Ryanair flight FR3074 from London Stansted to Comiso, Sicily. Ryanair flies twice a week from Stansted to Comiso. Prices start from £24.99.
To book visit ryanair.com