Ryanair insists it’s ‘not the bad boy’ as cost of carrying on two bags rises
Ryanair has been forced to deny that “bad Ryanair is back” after it told customers this week they would no longer be able to take two bags into the cabin for free. The airline announced that passengers would now need to upgrade to priority boarding, at a cost of £5 each way, if they wished to keep two bags with them during a flight, otherwise the larger of the two would be placed in the hold, free of charge.
Europe’s largest carrier also found itself under siege once again regarding its random seat allocation policy, which has irritated passengers by splitting up groups who have chosen not to pay to reserve where to sit.
Ryanair has long denied that it forces such customers into middle seats and maintains that neither its policy nor its computer algorithm had changed, but this week told Telegraph Travel it tries to “keep window and aisle seats free”. It also emerged that the airline had seen a 10 per cent rise in the number of people booking reserved seats since the start of the year – equating to some seven million passengers.
Kenny Jacobs, the airline’s chief marketing officer, said the two policies were the result of the airline, which aims to have its aircraft as full as possible so that it can keep fares low, being “very, very busy”.
“We’re giving customers what they are looking for, we’re just busier,” he said. “People thought that Ryanair had suddenly gone back to being the bad boy of aviation – and no, we haven’t with the seating policy; and no, we haven’t with [the changes to the luggage policy].”
Mr Jacobs said the new rules were a response to passengers taking too much luggage on board and causing delays, something of which Ryanair has been heavily critical.
“We hope that restricting non- priority customers to one small carry-on bag will speed up the boarding of flights and eliminate delays being caused by not having sufficient overhead cabin space on busy flights,” he said.
He denied that the new rule was shifting the delay from the plane to the passenger forced to wait for the bag at their destination, adding: “People have it in their heads that they’ll always be waiting around, but getting through the airport is taking longer now, so we’ve looked at it and know that more than 90 per cent of the time your bag will be waiting for you.”
It has been four years since Ryanair launched its Always Getting Better campaign in an attempt to reverse its unfriendly image. Mr Jacobs said this week’s announcement was in keeping with this as the airline was cutting checked baggage fees from £35 per person to £25 and increasing the allowance from 15kg to 20kg.
Passengers must now pay £5 each way to bring a second item of hand luggage on board