Ryanair's process issues.

The passenger cabin of a Boeing 737-7H4 (N495W...Image via Wikipedia

A couple of months ago over on the 'Flying Cafe' blog, I wrote a post about what I considered to be a misleading airline ticket pricing strategy. The airline - Ryanair - had advertised a 'free flight' which ultimately could have cost me as much as £105 including taxes and the 'additional charges' they levy.

This follows a discussion on the Linked-In Business Process Group where Steve Towers was positing that Ryanair's business model had improved as a result of a proposal to remove check-in desks at the airport. He called this the removal of a 'Moment of Truth' in the process. I argued against this saying that Ryanair may have a cost saving business model (although their profit percentage has decreased steadily over the last 3 years despite rapidly increasing revenue), but as a model for creating satisfied customers it leaves a lot to be desired.

Well this week I actually took the flight and I wanted to post a few thoughts on some of the process issues I picked up whilst flying with them.

I checked in at Bournemouth Airport for a flight to Southern Spain. I had one bag and a set of golf clubs. The bag had been paid for as part of the check in (an additional charge over and above the original ticket price), but the golf clubs had not. The process was as follows:

* Queue up
* Give details to check-in lady
* Show passport
* Check one bag in
* Take second bag (golf clubs) round to another desk
* Queue up
* Give details to second check-in lady
* Pay for second bag
* Receive confirmation slip/receipt
* Take second bag (golf clubs) back to first desk.
* Queue up
* Give confirmation slip/receipt to first check-in lady
* Receive boarding card
* Take clubs to a third check-in area
* Show boarding card to guard behind glass screen
* Drop clubs on conveyer belt - hope they get treated well and arrive at destination.

16 steps including three queue's to check in one bag, one set of clubs and receive a boarding card. Multiply this by 180 people on a plane (although not all of them will have additional charges to pay) and pretty soon you can see the issue with this particular process. Compare this with a similar flight I took to the US a couple of years ago:

  • Queue up
  • Hand passport to check-in lady
  • Put bags on belt
  • Select 'Aisle' or 'window'
  • Receive boarding pass
  • Drop clubs on an oversized baggage belt nearby

As you can see this was significantly less hassle and more efficient.

Of course looking at this from Ryanair's point of view there is no efficiency to be gained by changing the process. There is no financial gain to them, merely improvement in their customer service. However Ryanair have made it perfectly clear that their priority is extracting the maximum amount of revenue from each customer rather than providing a peaceful and efficient service to them. Therefore a change to the check in procedure would not benefit them at all.

If you would like to see my overall thoughts on 'The Ryanair Experience' then click here.

For those of you who know about these things, is this similar to the modus operandi of Southwest Airlines or do they tend to go more for customer service as well as cheap fares?

Related Posts by Categories

Widget by Hoctro | Jack Book
For blog comments policy see this post
blog comments powered by Disqus