Customer service costs money- new 'friendly' Ryanair fares up 12%
They say good manners cost nothing, but the recent change of approach being sported by the airline we love to hate does seem to have come at a price. While the cost of a no-frills airline ticket is a moving target, latest figures suggest that discount airfares have actually increased by between 12% and 20% from last year.
Research by website WhichAirline.com found that, since Ryanair came over all customer-friendly, the average cost of a one-way ticket is €65.67 (£52.40), up from €58.45 (£46.64), an increase of around 12%.
However, a spokesman for Ryanair dismissed the research as "hopelessly inaccurate", claiming instead that "Ryanair's average fare fell by four per cent to €46 last year." But then he would say that.
But to give Ryanair some credit, whether or not the average fare has increased, the new customer caring approach has seen the demise or discount of a number of add-on fees. These include reduced infant fees and allocated seating charges for children; a drop in the charge for checking luggage at the airport, from £60 to £30 per bag; and the introduction of a 24-hour “grace” period during which passengers will be able to correct minor errors, such as spelling mistakes, free of charge. Previously such changes cost £110 per person. The airline's boarding pass re-issue fee was also cut from £70 to £15.
Ryanair also claim that, even though they aren’t increasing prices, other similar airlines are increasing fares by even more. And the WhichAirline.com figures agree- at EasyJet, fares have increased by nearly 20%, up from €72.97 to €87.44, and at Wizz Air, the Hungarian low-cost carrier, there has been a 13.5% increase, up from €60.74 to €70.62.
Nevertheless, increases in ticket prices do not appear to be putting off travellers, with Ryanair passenger figures for June up 5% on the previous year, totalling 8.3m passengers. EasyJet carried 6.1 million passengers this June, up 10% on the same month last year.