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Ryanair elevates app with one-touch mobile payments, flight-rating tools

Budget brand Ryanair is the latest airline to employ customer-first mobile features within its application, enabling travelers to take advantage of one-click options for reserving seats and upgrading, as well as rate their flights and boarding processes.

Ryanair made the mobile-related announcements during an event kicking off the third year of its Always Getting Better program, which seeks to improve customer service experiences via a slew of digital and on-board initiatives. The airline’s decision to incorporate one-touch payment options into its app this May will likely resonate well with plenty of time-strapped travelers, especially those who prefer booking last-minute flights.

“Ryanair’s one-flick options are certainly items travelers want and will likely be willing to pay extra for,” said Ryan Williams, vice president of travel at Millward Brown Digital. “The success of such a program, however, may depend on whether or not its competition already includes these amenities in their fares.

“Assuming Ryanair’s prices are already below average, this program truly gives travelers more control over their own experience – including how much they’re willing to pay. And, as customers opt in to the different upgrade options, Ryanair will gain a better understanding of what travelers want most and what they’re willing to pay for their experiences.”

Flying up convenient features
Beginning May 2016, Ryanair app users will have access to a one-flick payment system that will enable customers to instantly purchase reserved seats, parking, priority boarding and fast-track security, as well as upgrade existing seats to business plus or leisure class.

The leisure plus feature, set to be rolled out this July, will allow travelers to purchase a package deal including priority boarding, a reserved seat and complimentary check-in of a 20-kilogram bag. The deal’s pricing will begin at €43.99.

Other soon-to-be-released features include auto check-in, which will let My Ryanair members save passport details, have boarding passes emailed to them and check-in automatically starting October 2016, and an upgraded business plus option with additional flexibility regarding flight changes and ticketing, available July 2016.

The My Ryanair loyalty club will offer consumers priority access to sales, discount vouchers and a complimentary return flight for every 12 flights booked within a single year. This program will be available come October.

The budget airline, which currently operates out of 84 bases in Europe, will also release new travel destination guides to complement its blog, social media and user-generated content, a strategy that will likely help raise the brand’s esteem in millennials’ eyes.

While many of its imminent mobile features will undoubtedly enhance customers’ experiences with the company, placing a bigger focus on streamlined digital payments is a smart move for Ryanair.

As the aviation industry continues brainstorming new ways to reach travelers and keep up with demand for mobile-first services, investing more heavily in digital payment options could help cement a win in the battle against online travel agencies (see story).

Southwest Airlines is also rewarding members of its frequent flyers program with an easier way to book a flight on mobile, showcasing how integrating loyalty with mobile convenience is an increasingly important strategy for brands (see story).

Customer-first tools
Additionally, Ryanair is giving its app users an easier way to submit feedback via a new “Rate My Flight” tool, which will enable travelers to rate their boarding processes and overall flights, as well as the on-board crew and service.

The real-time feedback option will be available next month.

“I’m surprised more brands haven’t engaged in this concept,” Mr. Williams said. “My preferred airline is heavily focused on customer satisfaction and encourages me to comment on my experience with its in-flight staff – but leaving feedback is a fairly arduous process.

“Presenting Ryanair customers the option of rating various aspects of their flight via the app makes it a seamless process and should drive increased engagement with the app overall.”