Is Ryanair deliberately splitting up passengers who refuse to pay for seat selection?

The other day I had to check in three people for a Vueling flight - reports Nick Trend from independent.ie.

As is often the case with no-frills airlines now, the website gave me the choice of paying to select seats or having them allocated at random.

The real implication of not paying was left unclear.

Depending how you interpret that message, you might think that there is either a very low chance of being seated together, because each of the seats will be assigned randomly, or a reasonably high chance of getting seats together because there is bound to be a row of three seats still available which the computer will select for you.

It was only a two-hour flight; we were all adults; so I took the plunge and didn’t pay. We all ended up seated together.

Ryanair posts a similar warning - pay up or have your seats selected randomly.

I don't pay, and have never been separated from my travelling companions on a Ryanair flight. But in recent weeks there has been a surge of complaints on Twitter (search “@Ryanair seats” and you will see what I mean) from passengers who didn’t pay up, and who say they have not been seated together, even though there were plenty of spare seats on the flight.

My colleague, Oliver Smith, travelled with a couple on a Ryanair flight from Bordeaux this week who checked in late. They were seated at different ends of the plane, even though one of them turned out to have an empty seat next to him.

Other complaints have come from single travellers who have been put in middle seats, even though there are plenty of aisle and window seats available.

So why the sudden surge of dissatisfaction? Has Ryanair changed the way it implements its policy?

The airline categorically denies the accusation. It says that random selection has been happening since 2014, but that because it is carrying more customers, and its planes are now 95 per cent full on average, there are fewer seats available.

Whatever the truth of the matter, the result is that travelling companions can clearly no longer be sure of sitting next to each other on Ryanair unless they pay extra.

Since seat selection costs up to €11 each way, this could add €22 to a return fare. (The extra charge also enables you to check in 60 days in advance, that drops to four days if you don’t pay).

At a glance | Ryanair's charges

  • Seat selection: From €2 to €11x
  • 15kg Checked bags: From €10 to €50 per flight
  • Excess baggage fee: €10 per kilo
  • Sporting/musical equipment: From €30 to €60 per item
  • Boarding card re-issue fee: €15
  • Flight change fee: From €30 to €60
  • Name change fee: From €110 to €150
  • Priority boarding: €5
  • Credit card fee: 2pc of total transaction
  • Airport check-in fee: €50pp
  • Infant fee: €20 per infant per flight
  • Missed departure fee: €100

Since October last year, Ryanair has also imposed different rules for families with children aged between two and 12. Adults on the booking have to pay €4 each way to reserve their seats, but they get free seat reservations for up to four children with every adult seat booked. Families with older children must, on the other hand, pay up for every passenger or risk getting separated.

How, I wonder, does all this square with with Ryanair’s much trumpeted Always Getting Better campaign? This was launched back in 2014 by chief executive Michael O’Leary in a bid to turn around Ryanair’s reputation for arrogance towards it customers — typified by the way it penalised passengers who didn’t quite fall in line with the airline’s requirements.

Forget to print out your boarding pass and a swingeing charge would be imposed at the airport. Fail on cabin baggage rules, and you would pay a fortune to check it into the hold. These policies were moderated, with the aim of making the airline more customer friendly.

Back then, O’Leary was explicit about what this would mean, “No more conflict,” he said. And his chief marketing officer echoed him: Ryanair wanted to “become as liked as we are useful”.

We wait in hope.

Read other news on the city site of Dublin.

independent
Ryanair seatselection
If you notice an error, highlight the text you want and press Ctrl + Enter to report it to the editor
10 views in september
I recommend
No recommendations yet

Comments

Comments are designed to communicate and discuss the features of an enterprise or event, as well as to find out the interesting questions on it.

Society
A number of Ulster Bank customers are currently being impacted by an issue with the bank’s Anytime and Mobile Banking services. In a statement Ulster Bank said that it was aware that there are some issues on its Anytime and Mobile Banking services, and that it is working to fix them. The bank advised customers that its telephone banking and ATM services have not been impacted by the problem. "We are aware that customers are currently experiencing issues lo...
Society
TWO national school teachers and an accountant have been spared jail for their part in a violent brawl in a well-known Dublin pub. Teachers Michael Davitt and Seamus O Cearra, as well as accountant Conor Shannon all walked free from court today after admitting violent disorder charges in the 10-man melee. A fourth accused, warehouse manager and soccer team captain Stephen Cantwell also avoided a prison sentence while a fifth, electrician David McSweeney wa...
Incidents
Two people have been hospitalised with serious injuries and a man arrested on suspicion of drink-driving following a collision in Co Wexford. The two-car crash happened at The Leap in Clonroche at around 8.30pm yesterday evening. A man and woman, both in their 50s, were taken by ambulance to Wexford General Hospital. The driver of the second car, a man in his 50s, was arrested at the scene on suspicion of drink-driving. He has since been released from cust...
Society
Long-standing plans to deliver hundreds of new homes on the site of the former Player Wills cigarette factory on Dublin's South Circular Road have come up against yet another obstacle. Documents lodged in the High Court showed the site's Nama-appointed receivers, Paul McCann and Stephen Tennant of Grant Thornton, are locked in legal proceedings in an effort to remove a company operating a salvage business from the site. The case relating to the tenancy rig...
Society
Health Minister Simon Harris has been told his decision on whether to grant access to a revolutionary new drug for children with a rare degenerative condition is one of life or death. Families, friends, supporters and sufferers of spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) gathered outside the Dail yesterday to call for access to the drug Spinraza. The only drug ever manufactured to treat SMA, a degenerative neuromuscular disorder, it is licensed, available and changin...
Society
Storm damage at the ploughing championships has forced organisers to cancel the second day of the event. More than 100,000 people had been scheduled to attend Ireland's largest annual outdoor event outside Tullamore, Co Offaly. However, two delayed openings were not enough to save the National Ploughing Association (NPA) event, after tents were badly damaged by the gusting winds. NPA assistant managing director Anna Marie McHugh said the organisers will no...
Society
A dream holiday to Ireland turned to tragedy for a tourist who died after her caravan was blown into the sea as Storm Ali battered the country. The woman, named locally as Elvira Ferraii from Switzerland, had arrived in the Clifden area of Galway the day before the tragic incident. She rented a caravan and was staying at the Clifden Eco Beach camping and caravan site in the Claddaghduff area, along the Atlantic coastline. At around 7.45am yesterday the car...
Society
Teachers Michael Davitt and Seamus O Cearra and accountant Conor Shannon all walked free from court yesterday after admitting violent disorder charges over the 10-man melee. A fourth accused, warehouse manager Stephen Cantwell, also avoided a prison term while a fifth, electrician David McSweeney, was jailed for six months. Passing sentence, Judge Brian O'Shea said the teachers were "ambassadors for their schools" whenever they went out and they had "let t...
Society
ESB Networks says 39,000 homes, farms and businesses are still without power this morning after StormAli crossed the country yesterday. Repair crews workedthrough the night, but 1,600 individual faults remain on the network. It says it hopes to restore power to everyone affected today. ESB Networks Operations Manager Derek Hynes said most repairs are in the Cavan/Longford, Monaghan and Mayo areas. He saidcrews need to get to 1,600 locations today andwarned...