Ryanair’s "cluttered" website has left the airline performing badly in a study of the world’s most easy-to-use brands.
The budget airline came in 125th place on the UK Simplicity Index compiled by Siegel and Gale, which assesses the significance and impact of simplicity within travel brand communications.
Siegel and Gale said that while most no-frills brands are usually synonymous with simplicity, the same could not be said of Ryanair, with customers complaining about hidden charges they are “not aware of until further down the booking line, making it hard to compare prices”.
In the minds of many respondents taking part in the Simplicity Index, Ryanair has become a master of complexity with a cluttered website they say is “designed to deceive”, concealing the true cost of tickets and drawing people to a stage in the booking process where it’s easier to go on than turn back.
By contrast, Virgin Atlantic has risen significantly in this year’s UK Simplicity Index, getting the number two spot, up from 16th place last year, which the study said “reflects the power of the Virgin brand and its ‘customer-centric’ associations”.
“It’s a message that flies with customers and is reinforced clearly and consistently in advertising, on the Virgin Atlantic website and in communications that promote the Virgin brand rather than the product,” said the study.
Other travel brands that scored highly were Premier Inn in 7th place, while the study revealed that Hilton improved its position by rising to number 18 on this year’s UK Simplicity Index.
Philip Davies, Siegel and Gale’s president of EMEA said: “Simplicity isn’t easy. Overcoming complexity is the new brand challenge and the brands that get it right, win.
“They win passion from their employees, loyalty from their customers and gain insights into their business that set the foundation for the future.”
A spokesman for Ryanair said: "Over 1.2 million users log on to Ryanair.com every day, without issue – which is why Ryanair continues to enjoy record bookings and will carry over 79 million passengers this year."