Ryanair has unveiled its new product aimed at boosting its family friendliness, and is planning to follow it up with a tailored offering for business passengers in September.

Available via the Irish budget carrier’s website from today, “Ryanair Family Extra” is a package of discounts and service enhancements.

A “Fly’n’Save” bonus gives families 20% off their third family flight after they have twice flown with the carrier, with the restrictions that the discounted flight is not at Christmas or Easter, and is booked within four weeks of the second flight, for travel within six months.

Bottle-warming and baby changing facilities are being made available on board. Charges applied to children’s allocated seats, baggage and travel insurance have meanwhile been cut in half, and priority boarding discounted. Infant fees – that is the charge applied for children too young to require their own seats – have dropped a third, and for infants there is a free 5kg bag allowance. Two free pieces of “infant equipment” can be checked in for free – a buggy, booster seat, car seat or travel cot – and passengers can arrange at booking to bring an approved car seat on board.

The new offering is part of Ryanair’s “Always getting better” programme, aimed at improving its customer-service reputation. The airline’s marketing chief Kenny Jacobs foresees the share of bookings accounted for by families to 18-22%, from 15-20% today. He says Ryanair Family Extra will “help top-lines” and boost “retention” as the airline focuses on a metric he terms “share of travel wallet”. Additionally, reduced stress for families has the benefit of reducing stress for other passengers around them and for staff, notes Jacobs.

Speaking during a launch events at the London Eye, Jacobs estimated that a UK family comprising two adults and two children could save around £400 ($680) via Ryanair Family Extra were they to book three flights and avail of the Fly’n’Save discount. Jacobs makes clear that Ryanair’s definition of a “family” is “not the Irish catholic definition” but can apply to any adult or adults with children in their care.

The family-friendly policies are the product of market research in which Ryanair sought to learn what families did not like about the airline’s service. The new initiative joins a host of other enhancements pursued by Ryanair, among them allocated seating, a new website, a 24h grace period for corrections to booking details, reductions in airport bag fees and boarding-card reissue fees, an increased baggage allowance, and “quiet flights”.

Jacobs foresees the airline adding new features to its family offering as it bids to team with ancillary partners to “do interesting things with data”. He offers the notional example of the airline linking up with UK retailer Tesco – his former employer – to offer a family the opportunity to place an online grocery order for delivery on return from their holiday. Car rental companies, hotels and theme parks could also be potential partners in new promotions, Jacobs indicates.

Ryanair is to continue efforts with the launch next month of an app via which passengers can be issued with mobile boarding passes. In September, it will roll out a product aimed at business passengers, enabling them to book flexible tickets, and to avail of priority allocated seating and fast-track security at select airports.

Source: Cirium Dashboard