LONDON Nov 21 Ryanair plans to
introduce flexible tickets for business travellers next year in
the latest change to its low-cost business model as CEO Michael
O'Leary admitted he is trying to learn from the success of rival
The move is the latest in a series of efforts by the airline
to attract premium passengers in a big strategy shift announced
after the company's first profit warning in a decade.
While Ryanair has used its lower cost base to undercut
rivals on price, high charges for the likes of extra baggage and
changing tickets, in addition to a reputation for poor customer
service, has deterred some business travellers from using the
"We will be rolling out a product specifically tailored for
business travellers in the first quarter of next year," O'Leary
told journalists in London.
Business travellers who register on the website will be
allowed to change flights up to the day of travel, though the
pricing structure has not been finalised. A special package for
families will also be introduced, O'Leary said.
Currently passengers have to buy a new ticket if they need
to switch to an earlier or later flight.
Since September O'Leary has announced sharp cuts to fees for
excess baggage and reprinting boarding cards. Ryanair will also
introduce assigned seating on all planes from February, ending
the often frenzied boarding scramble.
O'Leary said the introduction of allocated seating was in
direct response to easyJet, which boosted sales in recent years
by adding the kind of extras that Ryanair eliminated in its rush
to cut costs.
"We can learn from the bits they've done well," O'Leary
said. "They were doing something right and we were missing a