LONDON: Ryanair’s fluffy new image and desire to attract more business travelers could see it toning down the somewhat garish ‘assault on the senses’ interior on its current aircraft in favor of a more relaxing color scheme.
“We’re looking at how to make the ambience a bit more pleasing on board,” Ryanair’s new marketing chief Kenny Jacobs said today at the World Low Cost Airlines Congress in London.
“We’re looking at the inflight experience and we’re looking at décor, but we’re not looking at a blue curtain that we’ll pull back” to separate business travelers from the rest of the cabin, says Jacobs. He notes that the Boeing 737 Max 200 aircraft recently ordered by Ryanair will offer a “better inflight experience” when they start entering the carrier’s fleet in 2019.
“The aircraft interior as part of the customer experience is essential,” says Jacobs, although it remains unclear whether this means future passengers will be spared the onslaught of bright yellow plastic for which Ryanair’s existing cabins are famed.
Jacobs also highlights the importance Ryanair is placing on providing some form of portable inflight connectivity solution to passengers in the future. He describes seat-back inflight entertainment systems as being “from the dark ages”, pointing out that “everyone” now expects to be able to access the Internet on their own personal electronic devices.
“If you can keep the kids engaged on a flight from London to Malaga, those parents will love you,” says Jacobs.
Coming to the airline industry from a retail background, Jacobs is keen to bring some of what retailers do well to Ryanair. Pointing to examples such as German discount supermarket chain Aldi – which he says has shaken off its bargain-basement image to appeal to “middle class” shoppers, while maintaining low costs at its core – Jacobs believes lessons can be learned from the retail sector on “evolving” the Ryanair brand.
However, business travelers on Ryanair should look forward to the time savings created by its fast turnaround times, rather than some of the other perks they may have become accustomed to in the business class cabins on legacy airlines. There will be “no free Prosecco”, assures Jacobs.
(Photo credit: Ruthann from Western Ireland)