Photo: Dr. Jean-Paul Rodrigue, 2011; Larnaca, Cyprus.
Ryanair is a salient example of a low-cost airline business strategy relying on the usage of one type of aircraft (B737-800) and of secondary airports for hubs (e.g. Charleroi, Dublin) for lower gate fees. The booking is done online with the pricing system based on yield management, implying that price varies constantly based on the availability of seats. Carryon luggage is limited to one piece weighing up to 9 kilos and any additional luggage is on a fee basis. Baggage policy is strictly enforced to ensure revenue generation as the pricing system is much higher if booking options are changed at the airport (e.g. boarding pass, additional luggage).
Ryanair does not use sky-bridges, accelerating the boarding sequence which is done by using both the front and the back doors of the plane (see above photo). A 737 can thus be boarded in less than 15 minutes, which can take twice a much time if a sky-bridge is used. This ensures fast turn-around times and a higher level of asset utilization. Passengers seat themselves with no pre-assigned seat, underlining the importance of priority boarding for customers wishing better seats and thus a source of revenue that comes at no cost for the airline. The 737s have a high-density seat configuration with no reclining and seat pockets (no documentation or magazines). All inboard services are fee-based with merchandising common (e.g. duty-free, phone cards, advertising on the overhead bins).