Ryanair’s Frequent Flyer Scheme Is Still A Long Way Away

Last year, Ryanair touted the idea of a frequent flyer program. There was an initial wave of enthusiasm for such a product. However, Ryanair’s CEO, Michael O’Leary, told Simple Flying that such a program is quite a way off.

Ryanair, Ryanair Choice, Frequent Flyer Program
Passengers shouldn’t expect the arrival of Ryanair’s frequent flyer program any time soon. Photo: Getty Images

In Europe, a number of low-cost carriers offer ‘frequent flyer’ schemes. Unlike traditional schemes where travelers earn points and status, these schemes are paid for. They allow passengers to contribute a set amount to the airline in exchange for published benefits. Some examples include the Wizz Privilege Pass and easyJet Plus.

No firm date

Last week Simple Flying sat down with Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary on the sidelines of the Airlines For Europe conference in Brussels. Topics of conversation ranged from Coronavirus and the Boeing 737 MAX, all the way to the Chinese made COMAC C919. However, we also discussed Ryanair Choice.

According to an Independent article from the time the scheme was announced, Ryanair Choice was due to launch last summer (2019). The newspaper had spoken to outgoing CMO, Kenny Jacobs, regarding the scheme.

Ryanair, Michael O'Leary, Coronavirus
Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary said such a program still hadn’t been developed. Photo: Getty Images

However, O’Leary countered this claim. He told Simple Flying:

“Kenny launched [Ryanair Choice] as an idea, an idea to copy Amazon Prime. We have nothing to add to it at the moment as it hasn’t yet been developed.”

Micheal O’Leary went on to add:

“We’re looking at it, but it’s kind of a long way down on our list of development priorities.”

As such, it seems that travelers shouldn’t get their hopes up for any such scheme being launched any time soon.

What would the program offer?

According to the Ryanair website, the new program would have been incredibly similar to programs offered by rivals easyJet and Wizz Air.

Ryanair, Ryanair Choice, Frequent Flyer Program
Ryanair Choice had initially been touted to launch last summer. Photo: Ryanair

The program would have cost €199 or £199 to join, similar to other programs in the industry. For this cost, clients would get a set pool of ‘extras’ at no additional charge while booking a flight.

The Ryanair website states: “We’re introducing a new frequent flyer programme. For a €199 annual membership fee, Ryanair Choice offers members free seats, fast-track and priority boarding for frequent fliers.”

Looking at a flight between London and Frankfurt on the 18th of March, adding all of the above extras would cost £21, more than doubling the flight cost of £19.99. As these extras are charged in both directions, a passenger would need to make 10 individual flights or 5 round trips before the program would start saving them money.

Wizz Air, Ryanair, Easyjet
Wizz Air and easyJet currently offer similar schemes. Photo: Getty Images

Unfortunately, the program is currently a long way off. As such, passengers such as myself will need to keep paying for such optional extras for the foreseeable future.

Would you have used Ryanair Choice? Are you disappointed with the delay in the program? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.