Ryanair to Make Seat Selection Fee Mandatory for Families

ryanairby Oliver Smith, The Daily Telegraph, July 28, 2016

Ryanair is planning to force all passengers travelling with children under 12 years of age to purchase a reserved seat – at a cost of between £8 and £30 per return flight.

The charge will not apply to those on the booking aged under 12 years, but all others - including adults and children aged 12 or over - will have no option but to pay.

The move, which the airline says is a response to “boarding issues as crews tried to re-seat customers with young children”, will significantly increase the cost of flying with the airline for many families.

A return flight for family of four with two children under 12, for example, will now cost between £16 and £60 more, depending on which seats they choose. The £16 figure applies to the 13 rows at the back of the plane; four seats in rows 11-15 would cost £24; seats in rows 6-10 or 31-33 would cost £32, while priority seats will add between £52 and £60 to the booking.

Large families or groups with a solitary passenger aged under 12 could be hit particularly hard. A family of six, for example, with just one young child, will have to pay the fee five times over – adding between £40 and £150 to the total cost of the booking.

One way to reduce the added costs would be to make two separate bookings, putting the under 12 and one adult on one booking, and paying the seat reservation fee once, and all others in the travelling party on another. Those who book with Ryanair but do not pay the seat reservation fee are assigned a seat free of charge. 

The changes will be rolled out on September 1 and will be applicable for all new bookings made on or after that date.

Despite increasing the cost of flying with the airline for many families, Kenny Jacobs, Ryanair’s chief marketing officer, preferred to highlight the savings that would be made for those who already choose to pay the fee when they book with the airline.

He said: “Ryanair is Europe’s number one airline for families and this summer all customers are enjoying fares that are 10 per cent lower than last year. That’s a €4 saving on every flight and these changes will allow parents to save another €4 for every one of their children travelling together.”

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This article was written by Oliver Smith from The Daily Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.