It’s been nearly three years since Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary promised that the budget airline would “stop unnecessarily pissing people off.”
Famous for matching incredibly cheap base fares with a welter of fees for adding any frills to its bare-bones services, the airline has since been on a mission to improve its customer experience and simplify its upselling-heavy booking process. One early change: reducing the number of clicks required to book a flight on its website from 17 to 5.
In that spirit of simplification, the company announced today (June 2) that it was cutting baggage fees and reducing the complexity of its charges. Get this: 108 luggage fee options—yes, one hundred and eight—will be cut to six. Whereas the airline once adjusted fees based on arcane combinations of weight, distance, number of bags, time of booking, the season, and other variables, it will now levy one of six prices on bags based only on weight and the distance of travel.
Ryanair’s charm offensive, which in addition to a friendlier customer approach has crucially featured aggressive fare cuts, has been paying off. Profits are up, planes are fuller, and the carrier’s share price is soaring—up nearly 20% over the past year, while rivals like EasyJet, BA, Lufthansa, and the like have been flat or down.