2014: The year for the passenger?
January is depressing. Let’s be honest, you’ve already started daydreaming about your next holiday. It probably doesn’t help having the beach shot you took on your last holiday as your desktop wallpaper, but hey, that got you nine likes on Facebook so it’s worth showing off to your colleagues.
However, with the cost of living ever increasing, booking your dream getaway can often be put on the back burner. The solution? Buy a Cabin Max, find a cheap airline and book it yourself. Great…But what’s the real cost?
Budget airlines give us cheap deals because they hide fees within baggage charges, forgotten boarding passes and compulsory seat reservations, all adding hidden costs to the initial price you were quoted. To make matters worse, due to the bad feedback and scare stories, it seems customer service is not their priority. Until now.
2013 saw dramatic changes from one famously awkward budget airline, Ryanair. The CEO Michael O’Leary has never been one to hide his ‘I’m right, you’re wrong’ attitude, but years of bad press has forced a change.
Ryanair released the following changes;
A 24 hour grace period – During this time you can make minor changes, such as names, that would have cost you a whopping £110/€110
Quiet flights – On these flights the obligatory drinks/perfume/scratchcard announcements have been removed during flights between 9pm and 8am.
A free second bag – As well as a 55x40x20cm bag (like our Metz), you can now take an additional small bag measuring no more than 35x20x20.
Alongside this, Ryanair have opted to be involved in the Google flight comparison site www.google.co.uk/flights. In previous years O’Leary has been heard to dismiss any alliance with comparison sites, claiming the additional charges from third parties remove the image of Ryanair being the cheapest. On choosing Google O’Leary explains,
“Because Google, being Google, want to show all of the prices from all of the airlines on display. They don’t want to charge us, they make all of their money out of advertising,”
Google then forward potential customers direct to their refurbished site that has reduced the booking process down to 5 clicks from 17.
Another budget airline also made important changes last year. Easyjet removed a specific weight limit on hand luggage and ensured bags that measure 50x40x20cm (Like the Barcelona) are guaranteed to travel with you in the cabin.
With Ryanair’s changes making waves in the travel industry, perhaps the other budget airlines will feel the pressure to improve. Prioritising the customer was a key trend for 2013 and with Ryanair’s promised changes in costs and services set to kick in early this year; the consumer could receive real value for money.
Will we actually get more from budget airlines this year?
Well, you’ll have to book a holiday and see.