Although users of the new service will have to sit along with everyone else, those willing to shell out a bit more for a ticket will enjoy benefits including access to priority boarding, the ability to change flights on the same day and extra baggage allowance.
The move comes as part of an ongoing drive to improve a poor reputation for customer service, with Ryanair recently admitting that it had been "asleep at the wheel" over the issue following its first reported drop in annual profits in five years.
How I See It
Mark Lowe, founding partner, Third City
Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary didn’t previously care much for customer insight, but now he does and he seems to be acting on it.
In this case, the insight is that Ryanair is the most convenient and nearly always the cheapest option for business travellers, but it’s very rarely their first choice.
This initiative aims to make it so and there’s nothing wrong with that, although cynics might say that Ryanair should do more than just let them sit at the front and have luggage.
Executionally, it capitalises on the PR value that the irascible O’Leary has gifted any Ryanair initiative, particularly those that benefit the consumer beyond price.
Whether this stuff is enough to turn easyJet’s tanks around too is another matter, but Ryanair’s Damascene conversion to customer-centricity is quite complete, so we can expect more and more of the same.