Ryanair charging £2.49 for booking app
While other airlines offer free booking apps, Ryanair has decided to charge £2.49. Why?
Ryanair is famous for its policy of low fares and high, but hidden, extra charges. So it comes as no surprise that its new booking app ('Ryanair Cheap Flights') is not free. In fact, it costs €2.99 in the eurozone and £2.49 here in the UK.
This 'Ryanapp' for smartphones and tablet PCs is available in Apple's App Store, so is currently restricted to Apple's iPhones and iPads. However, as it climbs the App Store charts, the Ryanapp is being readied for porting over for use on Android smartphones and other handheld devices.
What's seems remarkable is that people are happy and willing to pay for this app. After all, rival airlines Aer Lingus, British Airways and easyJet all provide free booking apps. Almost all other leading travel, hotel and flight apps come free of charge, too.
So, what makes Ryanair think it can get away with charging for what is a free service elsewhere?
Frankly, Michael O'Leary never gives anything away for free when he can charge for it. Last year, he warned that his airline had even looked into installing coin slots on the toilet doors of its fleet of aircraft!
What do you get for £2.49?
With this app, customers can search for Ryanair flights and special promotions, book flights, manage and update recent bookings, view flight schedules and get the latest news from Ryanair. The app also allows users to add priority boarding (incurring another fee) and check-in bags for their bookings. You can even book car rentals with Ryanair partner Hertz.
For the record, this Ryanapp is nothing new. In fact, it first appeared in the App Store on 13th March 2012, so it's almost six months old. Ryanair's claim that this is a 'new' app is another marketing trick designed to con consumers.
For me, the Ryanapp isn't worth anything near its £2.49 price tag, despite O'Leary's argument that, "Passengers can now book Ryanair flights anywhere they take their phone, day or night, ensuring that they never miss out on our lowest fares."
Find cheap flights for free
Personally, I don't know of another mainstream airline, travel agent or tour operator that charges users to download its bookings/sales app. Why pay to buy from a company, when you can do so for free elsewhere?
I suspect Ryanair's £2.49 charge is simply a way to annoy its critics while gaining yet more media coverage. In other words, the wily O'Leary has successfully orchestrated another PR coup for Ryanair.
Unless you're in a desperate hurry to book with Ryanair and pay for the privilege, I'd urge you not to waste money on its app. Instead, use Mobile Ryanair, which offers identical functionality for free. Even better, get online to search leading travel websites for cheap flights, or use one of the many free apps available for Apple and/or Android devices.
Finally, remember that a 'budget' airline may not be a 'low cost' carrier after adding in all the extra charges lurking in the small print. That's why you should always search the entire market for cheap flights, rather than being lured in by headline-grabbing 'cheap' seats that are anything but!
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