Europe’s largest budget carrier Ryanair is going after business travellers with the launch of a “Business Plus” service.
The more costly tickets include free flight changes, fast-track through airport security, premium seats near the exits and no charge for checked-in bags.
The move means more misery for traditional full-service airlines, which have been unable to fully replicate the low-costs’ business model and still turn a profit.
Business users have been among the few willing to pay more for the travel perks they offer.
The changes are part of an effort by Ryanair to improve its poor image; last year it was voted the worst of the 100 biggest brands serving the British market in a leading consumer magazine survey.
Ryanair says there are limits to its transformation and it has no plans to extend free luggage to other fares or to introduce free food or lounge access to business passengers.
By chasing business travellers, Ryanair is following low-cost rival easyJet.
It introduced a more expensive “flexible fare” that also includes 20 kg of checked-in baggage, free date changes and fast-track security screening.