TIME Aviation

Here’s What ‘Business Class’ Is Like on Europe’s Ultra-Cheap Budget Airline

Ryanair Launches Business Plus Business Class Service
Bloomberg via Getty Images A passenger passes self-service check-in machines Ryanair Holdings Plc at Stansted Airport in London, U.K., on Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2013.

The low-cost carrier is launching its "Business Plus" service to break into the corporate travel market

Ryanair unveiled its new Business Plus class on Wednesday, a new service providing seating, check-in and luggage benefits as the traditionally no-frills, low-cost carrier attempts to expand its offerings in the business travel market.

Starting at £59.99 ($99.59), Business Plus tickets afford customers a free carry-on bag under 20kg, flexibility on ticket changes, expedited security check-ins and premium seating, according to RyanAir.

With premium seating, customers will be able to select seats from rows 1-5 (for fast de-boarding), rows 16-17 (for extra leg room) and rows 32-33 (for fast boarding), a Ryanair spokesperson told TIME. Other than their location on the plane, premium seats won’t be any different than standard seats, according to Financial Times: no new seats will be installed, no curtains will be drawn, and passengers will still pay for their food and drinks.

“What business travelers want has changed,” Ryanair’s chief marketing officer told FT. “It used to be about the lounge, free snacks and free drinks, but now customers want a reliable value-for-money service that gets you to your destination quicker, and to spend less time at the airport and more in meetings.”

With more than one-fourth of its customers traveling on business, Ryanair is the latest low-cost carrier attempting to demonstrate that low fares and comfort aren’t mutually exclusive. Ryanair unveiled its first TV ad in decades and an “Always Getting Better” PR campaign earlier this year in a move to shed its title as “worst” overall brand for customer service, while Spirit Airlines—known as the “Ryanair of the U.S.”—has taken a more radical approach to winning back customers.


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