Sunday, 1 March 2009

Ryanair - Fees and Charges

¿ Is it Really ?

The question is, are Ryanair just an unpleasant bunch of executives that pretend to charge low fares then rack up charges for just about everything else to line their own pockets or are they an imaginative and innovative company that is tearing down the walls of the airline establishment in the interests of the passengers? The truth I suppose is somewhere in the middle.

I really like finding 1p flights but I know that this isn’t economically viable and so the true costs of the service have to be made up somewhere. Ryanair now earns up to 25 per cent of its revenues from non-core activities - including lottery tickets, credit card processing fees and overpriced cups of tea. And it seems that there is no let up in the identification and introduction of new charges. Some of these are sensible, most are acceptable but just recently some have become downright ridiculous, unfair and punitive.

The credit card admin fee is the biggest scam of all but a couple of weeks ago the airline came up with something that makes this look completely reasonable. They said that in future they would be charging passengers £30 for taking a duty free bag on board if this could not be fitted into the single piece of hand luggage allowance. That is completely mad and the only people that this is going to affect are those in the duty free shops because in future no one in their right mind is going to buy a 10% discounted bottle of gin and then triple the price to get it back home. The Ryanair website helpfully explains:

‘Ryanair passengers who do not comply and present with more than one piece of hand luggage will be charged €/£30 at the departure gate and have their bag placed in the aircraft’s hold. Passengers can half this charge by opting to check-in a bag at the time of their booking or before they travel.’

How daft is that? How do I know if I am going to buy something from duty free at the time of booking the flights sometimes weeks and months in advance?

The duty free baggage charge is a stinker but this next one is positively dangerous because Ryanair is willing to risk mobile phone air rage just to raise a few extra pounds because they plan to allow mobile phones to be used on board and I think that this is going to piss a lot of people off. Whether to allow voice calls has split airlines, with many fearful that voice calls would anger other passengers and create mobile rage in the sky and among those that have resisted voice calls are Lufthansa, Qatar Airways and Qantas. Qatar have said that research has showed that 80 per cent of customers do not want mobile calls to be allowed inflight and a poll by Times Online Travel in 2008 showed the figure to be even higher at 87 per cent. Mind you, it will be very expensive (hopefully prohibitively so) and voice calls will cost around £1.50-£3, texts 40p and email £1-£2 and there will also be a charge for an incoming call. On top of that passengers then pay the roaming rate and are billed by their phone companies as normal.

Luckily only six passengers at a time can use their mobile phones on board so I suppose you will have to be quite unlucky to get landed next to someone who wants to chatter all the way through the flight. If it happens to me then I know that I am going to hate it because there is nothing worse than being obliged to listen in to someone elses phone conversation – just look at how bad it is on the trains. I have calculated that if six mobile phones are used constantly throughout an average two and a half hour flight at £2.50 a minute that this will raise an additional £2,250. Anyone would be mad to pay these inflated prices and anyway, if someone can afford £2.50 a minute they can probably afford to fly with a proper airline instead.

This week it was announced that Ryanair was considering charging passengers to use the on board toilets by introducing payment metres to the facility doors. I haven’t fallen for that one because it is just so plainly ludicrous that I think Michael O’Leary must surely be trying to demonstrate that he has a sense of humour. It just wouldn’t work because first of all passengers would stop buying the overpriced £2.50 bottles of water so that they just wouldn’t need the toilet and then wouldn’t passengers simply just hold the door open for each other anyway? I know that I would. The other reason that I don’t believe it because if it were true then surely as well as charging a £1 for a pee then they would surely also introduce a £5 priority loo queue at the same time.

Actually I suppose that might be quite a good idea and here a few more: Install a slot metre for the use of the overhead reading light, that ought to raise a bob or two; make a charge for reading the in-flight magazine, after all people buy loads of rubbish magazines at the airport and throw them away anyway; make a reasonable charge for using the life vest or the oxygen masks in the event of an emergency; charge for special seats - it is surely worth a pound or two to sit by a window; and this is my favourite, make a charge for using the overhead lockers like they do in sports centres! That way they get you for taking a bag on board free of charge!

1 comment:

Sandra said...

It`s really crazy Andrew, I read about the supposed toilet charge the other day and even though it does sound ludicrous I wouldn`t put it past them. Why not have a standing area and charge for seats. On each seat will be a slot so you can pay for seatbelt use!