Ryanair launching business class perks

Photo: Ryanair

Irish budget airline Ryanair has launched a business class service in a move to rehabilitate its image and respond to travelers' demands for better customer service. The Business Plus fare would give customers flexible tickets, more check-in baggage, priority boarding and access to premiums seating.

In May, Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary was quoted saying that the company was “asleep at the wheel” while customers were continuously fed up with receiving poor customer service. O'Leary said the airline would no longer "unnecessarily piss people off."

Wednesday's announcement also comes on the back of the airline's rival, easyJet, moving upmarket to launch a business package, and an expansion by Transavia, the Dutch budget airline owned by Air France-KLM.

Ryanair chief marketing officer Kenny Jacobs has explained that the new class would not include extra facilities, and is aimed Ryanair customers who were already traveling on business.

"We won't be introducing a blue curtain. Customers haven't asked us for the high business fares and facilities, they just want a bit of flexibility and a better schedule," Jacobs said. "The schedule is very oriented around business travelers: places like Madrid, Milan and Barcelona have three times daily returns, so they can travel there that morning and come back the same day."

Earlier this year, Ryanair expanded its presence at Eindhoven Airport, carrying out new flight routes to Madrid, Manchester Tenerife (Spain) and Lisbon, as well as Italian summer destinations in Catania, Turin  and Venice. It’s new winter timetable which boasts flights to 29 destination across 109 weekly flights will be in operation from 26 October.

The Irish airline also flies out of Groningen and Maastricht, though the firm has announced they will reduce operations from the Limburg capital.

Jacobs has also confirmed that Ryanair would be submitting an offer to buy Cyprus Airways this week, as it expands its flight paths into the Middle East and Russia.

"It's a very strategic point in the map of Europe, a logical extension of our European route map and meets Asia and the Middle East,” he explained. “It gives you access to all of that - Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Oman, Israel, Cyprus and Russia. Whether we do it through the acquisition of Cyprus Airways or not, we'll continue to have an interest."

Ryanair has committed to flying to more city-center airports to make flying easier and more convenient for business.