Ryanair cuts 'luxury' fittings in its planes to save money

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The Independent Travel

The no-frills airline Ryanair has ordered a refit of its planes to more spartan standards.

Bosses at the cost-cutting carrier have ordered "luxury" fittings - including reclining seats, window blinds, seat pockets and head rests - to be stripped from the interiors of a newly ordered batch of Boeing planes. Passengers will also be encouraged to carry all of their luggage with them as hand luggage, cutting costly airport baggage-handling fees. Michael O'Leary, the chief executive for the airline, said: "People are happy to carry a bag on to buses so why not on to airlines? This could be revolutionary."

The airline hopes the changes will speed up turn-around times at airports, saving more than £1m. Seats will become non-adjustable to reduce the replacement parts needed for reclining models. Currently, the airline says it has to fix about 40 broken reclining seats every year in each of its planes.

The airline hopes it will be able to save about £1.3m with this change alone. Stripping window blinds is expected to save a further £130,000 per plane. There will also no longer be seat pockets, in an effort to reduce cleaning costs and speeds. Velcro headrests will be discarded, saving £100,000, and the airline is considering replacing them with paid-for advertising.

But a Ryanair spokeswoman said changes to its baggage rules could eventually deliver the biggest savings.

Although the precise nature of the changes has not been announced, the strategy is likely to centre on incentives for passengers who travel light.

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