Skip to main content
Advertising

Originally published Wednesday, August 27, 2014 at 12:17 PM

  • Share:
           
  • Comments
  • Print

Low-budget Ryanair launches business-class

European budget carrier Ryanair is offering business-class tickets in an attempt to woo companies and governments during penny-pinching times.


Associated Press

advertising

DUBLIN —

European budget carrier Ryanair is offering business-class tickets in an attempt to woo companies and governments during penny-pinching times.

Marketed under the slogan "Your boss will approve," the new ticket reverses some of the airline's more reviled policies for fee-dazzled travelers. The Dublin-based company, long Europe's fastest-growing airline with a sell-it-cheap, stack-'em-high philosophy, says it hopes to capture three-fourths of all business travel between Britain and Ireland, its two biggest markets.

The move reflects not just the airline's desire to leverage its huge presence in Europe, but also a growing interest for low-cost executive travel. Most European governments are still cutting down on debt while many companies remain wary of spending as the eurozone recovery has stalled. Ryanair says more than a quarter of its passengers already are business travelers.

The new ticket will be a low-budget version of traditional business class. It will allow a checked-in bag weighing up to 20 kilograms (44 pounds), which normally costs 25 euros to 75 euros ($33 to $99); preferential boarding and, at some airports, fast-track security lines; and most importantly, free changes to flights including on the day of travel.

The latter policy seeks to solve one of the great headaches of travel that made Ryanair off-limits for many business travelers: the risk of eating tickets and punitive penalties for altering anything.

Allied to the new approach, Ryanair increasingly is cutting deals to open services at Europe's business airports, most notably the European Union hub of Brussels' Zaventum. Currently, Ryanair tends to fly to smaller airports that are often distant from the cities it serves and not practical for time-pressed executives or civil servants.

Ryanair's product looks extremely competitive versus Aer Lingus, British Airways and continental carriers that typically charge more than 150 euros ($200) each way for flexible economy-class tickets. Ryanair says its business tickets will cost as little as 69 euros ($91).

The airline, to many analysts' surprise, took a cold look in the mirror this year after lackluster 2013 results and decided it could get even more business if, in chief executive Michael O'Leary's typically blunt assessment, its policies stopped irritating people needlessly.

Customers now can buy tickets online using debit cards without fees. They automatically receive seat assignments, ending long waits in line to secure position and making family travel easier. They can take two bags on board, no longer battling to shove airport purchases into an already full bag and avoid costly punishment at the boarding gate.

Ryanair aims to carry 86 million passengers this year, 4.5 million more than last year.

While Ryanair's business-branded ticket is strong on flexibility, other business-class staples remain absent. The airline has no executive lounges, there's no special menu, and no seats recline on its tightly packed aircraft. You'll pay extra to pre-book the least uncomfortable seats.

And long-haul connections remain a nerve-wracking chore because Ryanair does not transfer bags between flights. This leaves Ryanair as Europe's most ubiquitous choice for traveling from A to B, but not C.

___

Online: Ryanair fees, http://bit.ly/1tCo2QN



Want unlimited access to seattletimes.com? Subscribe now!

Also in Travel & Outdoors

News where, when and how you want it

Email Icon


Advertising
The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited seattletimes.com access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►