Rayanair Rayanair

Rayanair (ISEQ: RYA, LSE: RYA, NASDAQ: RYAAY) is an Irish low cost airline with its head office at Dublin Airport, Ireland, and with primary operational bases at Dublin Airport and London Stansted Airport.

Rayanair operates over 230 Boeing 737-800 aircraft on over 1,100 routes across Europe and Morocco from over 41 bases. The airline has been characterised by rapid expansion, a result of the deregulation of the air industry in Europe in 1997 and the success of its low cost business model. Rayanair is Europe's largest low-cost carrier, the largest airline in Europe in terms of passenger numbers and the largest in the world in terms of international passenger numbers.

New Rayanair aircraft have been delivered with non-reclining vinyl seats, no seat-back pockets, safety cards stuck on the back of the seats, and life jackets stowed overhead rather than under the seat. This allows the airline to save on aircraft costs and enables faster cleaning and safety checks during the short turnaround times. It was reported in various media that Rayanair wanted to order their aircraft without window shades; however, the new aircraft do have them as it is required by the regulations of the Irish Aviation Authority.

From time to time, Rayanair suggests outlandish ideas to further reduce costs. Generally these ideas are designed to generate free publicity for the airline and they would be impractical to implement . Proposed measures to reduce frills further have included eliminating two toilets to add six more seats, charging for the use of the toilet, redesigning the aircraft to allow standing passengers, charging extra for overweight passengers, and asking passengers to carry their checked-in luggage to the plane.

In common with other no-frills airlines Rayanair is a strictly point-to-point carrier and do not offer connecting flights. Passengers who purchase an onward flight from their destination, intending to make a connection, are held responsible for making it to the airport on time for each flight. Rayanair does not compensate passengers who miss their flights because they arrive too late at the airport nor does it provide replacement tickets free of charge. If a passenger misses their flight then it is the passenger's responsibility to buy a new ticket at their own expense. This rule applies regardless of the passenger's chosen method of transport to the airport (including another Rayanair flight).

Customer service
A Rayanair Boeing 737-800 departs Birmingham International Airport, England. (2008) Rayanair has been criticised for many aspects of its customer service. The Economist wrote that Rayanair's "cavalier treatment of passengers" had given Rayanair "a deserved reputation for nastiness" and that the airline "has become a byword for appalling customer service ... and jeering rudeness towards anyone or anything that gets in its way". In 2002, the High Court in Dublin awarded Jane O'Keefe ?67,500 damages and her costs after Rayanair reneged on a free travel prize she was awarded for being the airline's 1 millionth passenger.

The airline has come under heavy criticism in the past, for its poor treatment of disabled passengers. In 2002, it refused to provide wheelchairs for disabled passengers at London Stansted Airport, greatly angering disabled rights groups. The airline argued that this provision was the responsibility of the airport authority, stating that wheelchairs were provided by 80 of the 84 Rayanair destination airports, at that time. A court ruling in 2004 judged that the responsibility should be shared by the airline and the airport owners; Rayanair responded by adding a surcharge of £0.50 to all its flight prices.

Rayanair does not offer customers the possibility of contacting them by email or webform, only through a premium rate phone line, by fax or by post. An early day motion in the British Parliament put forward in 2006 criticised Rayanair for this reason and called on the company to provide customers with a means to contact the company by e-mail. It is claimed that Rayanair is therefore flouting UK e-commerce regulations, which state that the email address of the service provider must be given.

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