Ryanair Launches New Annual Membership

Filed Under: Other Airlines

Ryanair has just announced a series of new “customer care improvements” for 2019, some of which sound quite good. Among them is that they’ll allow a 48-hour free of charge grace period for changing bookings, they’ll process EU261 claims within 10 days, and more.

Perhaps the most interesting new initiative is that they’re launching a new annual membership.

They’ve introduced Ryanair Choice, which is an annual membership that costs €/£199 (my first question is related to that — seems a bit odd to peg the currencies 1:1, no?). For buying a Ryanair Choice membership you receive the following on all your Ryanair flights:

  • Free standard seat assignments
  • Fast-track security
  • Priority boarding (which includes a 10kg bag, while non-Priority customers can only take a small carry-on)

It’s intriguing to see an airline like Ryanair try to offer a subscription service, since their business model has for so long been based on ancillary fees with every journey.

It’s tough to calculate exactly what the breakeven point is for this subscription, since some of the fees vary by flight.

For example, I priced out a Dublin to Warsaw flight, which cost €26.10 including taxes and fees, but without any extras.

Then I tried to add-on the things that would be included with this subscription. So I added priority boarding, which comes with a 10kg bag, and costs €10.

Then assigning standard seats costs €4-9, though let’s assume you want to assign one of the better standard seats, or else you might as well not bother.

And then adding on fast track security costs €5.95.

Those three add-ons cost you a total of €24.95. So on a roundtrip you’d be paying €50 in add-ons, meaning the breakeven point here for the subscription would be four roundtrips per year.

Of course all of this assumes that you’d otherwise pay for fast security and priority boarding and seat assignments. Further, since this subscription only applies to the person buying it, this assumes that you usually travel alone, or that your companions would usually buy all of those as well.

Bottom line

The new Ryanair Choice membership is an intriguing concept, though you need to take several roundtrip flights per year on Ryanair to break even on this. I imagine some people would come out ahead on this, though personally I’d be surprised if they sell all that many memberships.

What do you make of the new Ryanair Choice program?

  1. Wouldn’t “they’ll process EU261 claims within 10 days” be a huge change for them? All I read is about them denying those claims or stating that the situation isn’t applicable to EU261 compensation.

  2. easyjet already has this offer (I believe they call it Club or Plus), and it seems to work for them.

    I also think it is clever. A bit like COSTCO.

    It also, once people have bought into it, has the effect of a loyalty program without the associated cost to the airline.

  3. They’ve always had £/€ the same.

    If you booking DUB to LGW return it may be €50, if you book the same return but starting in LGW it’ll be £50, they do it to make money with GBP, for now, being stronger than the euro.

    Interesting concept but I’ll give it a miss as prefer to sit in the front row, which isn’t included.

    Their advertising slogan here is ‘Low fares, made simple’, which is taking the piss these days given how complicated they’ve become!

  4. I think it’s a pretty good deal for someone who flies with them all the time, lets say weekly. Like Chris K said, EasyJet already has something similar.

  5. The Brits will be getting a bargain as of 30th March, especially the ones who managed to get a european passport.

  6. This is what I’d recommend for my college friends studying abroad. They waste so much money on some of that stuff.

  7. @rich, they didn’t say they’ll solve claims within 10 days just that they’d process them i.e. send out a holding letter saying they’ve received it.

  8. I would not apply for this. I have to use fr more Than i would, but the cost/benefit just not worth it. Fast track security: most AirPorts fr use, has efficient security points, you can get through any of it within 20 min(unless you forgot to unpack Your lightsaber 😉 ).
    Seat selection: if travelling Alone who cares which seat you take if you can’t choose premium seats.
    prioriTy boarding: maybe this is the most important selling point, but fr tends to change its baggage policy quite frequently so I would not be surprised to see changes soon, again. So it’s not really worth the money.

  9. Free STANDARD seat? What a joke.
    The only seats that matters are the extra legroom ones. All the others seats are the same.

  10. RyanAir customer service is the worst! I had a very bad experience with them in getting my tickets refunded. Once they get a hold off your $$, it takes Herculean effort to get it back even within the refundable period.

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