Ryanair has unveiled a new ploy for parting travellers with their cash – a game offering passengers the chance to win back the cost of their flights.
During the final part of the payment process, the low-cost airline's customers can now hand over an extra £3 ($A4.50), £4, or £5 – depending on the total cost of their booking – and take part in the "Play to Win" game.
Those who tick the box ("I want to play to win the value of my flights and fee's [sic]") are asked a general knowledge question ("ranging from geography, to history and science, right through to entertainment and sport") once their booking is complete. If they get it right, they are entered into a prize draw for the chance to get a refund.
Terms and conditions state that Ryanair guarantees at least three winners each week – and they will be informed "on the flight confirmation page". Winners' payments will be refunded within 10 weeks of the booking.
How many passengers will be willing to take part remains to be seen. Prior to being asked to play the "game", Ryanair passengers have to contend with offers for priority boarding, travel insurance (twice), reserved seating, a text message confirmation with flight details, an official Ryanair cabin bag, car hire, and a subscription for the Ryanair newsletter.
A spokesman was unable to confirm how many had taken part so far, or what the odds of being successful are, but he did supply details of the first winner: James McLaughlin from County Donegal, who he said won back his €676 ($A856) booking.
Mr McLaughlin said: "I'm a big fan of Ryanair's low fares and I'm a frequent flyer. Winning my fare back was the best news I got in ages and I'm over the moon!"
The airline - which carried 79.6 million people last year - is already renowned its ingenious methods of increasing profits. It already sells scratch cards on board its flights, it once instructed cabin crew to lose weight in an attempt to trim its fuel bill, and Michael O'Leary, the airline's chief executive, has previously mooted the idea of charging passengers £1 to use the toilet.
The Telegraph, London