Ryanair, which likes to style itself as ‘Europe’s favourite airline’ (as opposed to ‘a deeply unpleasant experience you suck up for the low fares’), is reaping the rewards of its ‘be nice to customers’ strategy, with passenger numbers soaring 28% in March.
The Irish no-frills airline carried 6.67 million customers last month, up from 5.2 million the previous year. Its load factor (how full planes are) also gained altitude, up from 80% to 90%.
The good news sent Ryanair’s share price climbing too, up 1.75% in early trading to more than €11 (£8). In the last year, Ryanair’s shares have soared more than 43%, as profits and passengers keep on rising.
Credit: Yahoo Finance
Skies weren’t so calm just a year ago: the airline had been rocked by a series of profit warnings in 2013 as tango rival EasyJet outflanked it by introducing positively revolutionary changes, such as an increased hold baggage allowance and allocated seating. Even Ryanair’s famously outspoken chief executive Michael O’Leary admitted he would have to stop pondering whether to charge customers to go to the toilet and start giving them what they wanted.
‘If I’d known being nicer to customers was going to work so well, I’d have done it ages ago,’ he told the Telegraph last month, adding the company was working through fixing a ‘bucket list of things that pissed off customers’.
No matter what O’Leary says, better customer service (or at the very least not forcing customers to pay for the privilege of printing their own boarding pass) isn’t exactly rocket science. Budget airlines may still be cattle wagons, but MT is looking forward to the straw becoming even sweeter in the year to come.]