Don’t be surprised if you soon see Ryanair chief Michael O’Leary kissing babies like a pre-election politician.
His cut-price airline is offering a range of discounts for parents traveling with children as part of its new cuddly, customer-friendly image.
The new Family Extra service will includes a free 11 pound infant bag allowance, reduced infant fees, a 50 percent reduction on allocated seating charges for children and discounted priority boarding.
Until February families could not guarantee they would be seated together on Ryanair flights because there was no pre-allocated seating arrangement.
Another improvement in the new family-orientated service is in-flight bottle warming and baby changing facilities, as well as the ability to bring on board two free pieces of infant equipment such as strollers, booster seats, car seats or travel cots in the hold.
The airline has been on a charm offensive in recent months after shareholders complained the company’s poor reputation for customer care was costing it financially.
Chief Executive O’Leary acknowledged that at the annual general meeting when he said his airline needed to “stop unnecessarily pissing people off.”
The re-branded airline has recently introduced a range of customer-friendly upgrades to its service.
Improvements include more allocated seating, a more user-friendly online booking process and less punitive airport check-in fees.
Chief marketing officer Kenny Jacobs said in London on Tuesday the new improved service for families traveling with children was the latest in a long line of Ryanair customer improvements. He said the airline will also be unveiling a new app and mobile boarding passes in July.
Ryanair’s recent efforts to improve its image followed a profit warning last autumn. Since then it “simplified” its website, made a foray into television advertising, trimmed some extra charges and reduced the number of in-flight announcements.
It also now allows passengers to take on board a second “small” carry-on bag, such as a “small ladies handbag or a small airport shopping bag.”