Budget airline Ryanair has generated £18 billion in revenue from additional fees chared to passengers over the last decade, as passengers face increasingly unaffordable charges for extra services.
Analysis from the Telegraph found charges for services such as booking seats and stowing luggage resulted in a surge in “ancillary revenues,” which have risen from £910 million in 2013 to £3.84 billion this year.
Ryanair’s strategy of charging for “optional” services, including priority boarding, in-flight food and drinks, and adjacent seats, has been a fundamental part of their business model.
However, these supplementary fees have significantly escalated in recent years, with the average ancillary revenue per booked passenger rising by 70 percent since 2013.
During the same period, flight ticket prices have also risen, as airlines aim to recover from the pandemic’s impact and mitigate increased fuel costs.
These additional fees now constitute nearly a third of Ryanair’s total revenue, marking an increase from one-fifth in 2017.
The findings come as Ryanair’s low-cost business model faces increased scrutiny after an elderly couple was recently charged £110 for checking in for the wrong flight.
The couple complained after being required to pay airport check-in fees due to mistakenly downloading return tickets instead of the outbound ones.
Despite the recent controversy, Ryanair has defended its policy of charging the couple, stating: “We regret that these passengers ignored their email reminder and failed to check in online.”
Ryanair’s firm stance aligns with prior remarks made by its CEO, Michael O’Leary, who once said: “You’re not getting a refund so f*** off. We don’t want to hear your sob stories. What part of ‘no refund’ don’t you understand?”
Rory Boland, editor of Which? Travel, commented on Ryanair’s approach: “Like many budget carriers, over the years Ryanair has mastered the art of extracting as much money as possible from passengers.”
A spokesperson for Ryanair said: “Ryanair has the lowest fares of any airline in Europe, delivering unbeatable choice for our customers. Our average fare is €49, demonstrating the exceptional value that Ryanair delivers to our customers. Additional products such as priority boarding, insurance etc. are all optional, and passengers can mix and match ancillary products.”
Other budget airlines, such as easyJet and WizzAir, have embraces a similar strategy of charging passengers extra for add-ons in recent years. Over the past six years, easyJet’s ancillary revenue per passenger has surged by 78 percent, from £11.38 to £20.22.