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Published on Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Agents shocked by Costa/Ryanair deal


Shocked travel agents have expressed concerns about the tie-up between Costa Cruises and Ryanair.

The three-year deal, announced yesterday, will see the Italian cruise line featured exclusively on the airline’s website and more than 5O Ryanair routes connecting to Costa departure points.

Despite assurances from Costa UK managing director Marco Rosa that the deal would not undercut existing agency partners or take bookings from the trade, agents have questioned how the deal will impact Costa’s reputation.

“Why would anybody want to be associated with Ryanair?” asked Jeremy Scott at Leisure Fare. “What does it tell first time cruisers and repeats about the quality of Costa?”

Steve Wade at Capita said he was worried about the effect of Ryanair flights being cancelled or delayed.

“I think Ryanair's attitude to customer service is well documented,” he said. “It’s not too much of an issue if you end up getting to your hotel a couple of hours late, but its no use getting to the port a couple of hours late is it?”

Other agents expressed their concerns about Ryanair’s strict baggage allowance and excess luggage charges.

“This will be interesting to see, as how long will it be before passengers realise that it is difficult to pack light for a cruise,” said Martin Owens of Instant Holidays/World Pride Travel.

But Costa is confident the deal will enhance recognition of the cruise line in the UK.

“There are a number of passengers we are missing because we are not so strong,” said Rosa.

“Our growth until 2O12 is huge and everyone is growing capacity so the whole point is finding new passengers.”

The line, which carried 1.2 million passengers last year, has a target to carry 1.5 million by 2O1O - the equivalent to the total number of people from the UK taking cruise holidays.

What do you think of the tie-up? Send us your views by clicking on ADD A COMMENT below.

For more details of the tie-up, see earlier story 'Costa signs deal with Ryanair'.

By Bev Fearis

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  • Terminal moves Heathrow

    Can the airlines involved in these moves keep us, the travel agent, up dated BEFORE the moves take place as we have to let our clients know well in advance. Have not seen any press reports except this one.I can see the chaos as passengers on the last minute turning up at the wrong terminal and blaming us for missing their flights. Also when do the QANTAS flights move out of T4. Does anyone know ?

    By Mick Coleby, Thursday, February 19, 2009

  • We all make mistakes and this is a big one!

    Well what a recipe for disaster! The match is OK though as Costa is a very high volume cruise operator of very average quality aimed at the lower/middle market as is Ryanair - great ships, lousy food and service - hey sounds like Ryanair - lousy service. Who wants to be on ships with thousands of other passengers and treated like cattle - hey sounds like Ryanair. So, a segment match made in heaven, and a great reason never to travel with either! Travel agents - vote with your feet - this is another example of you being squeezed out and I suppose it is only to be expected as both Costa and Ryanair only care about the bottom line and nothing else. I reckon as travel agents you should never offer Costa again to your clients! There are plenty of other, better operators to cruise with that support and see the value of travel agents, so go with them. J

    By John Alwyn-Jones, Wednesday, February 18, 2009

  • more harm than good

    Every company needs to gain more customers, and to that end Costa's growth plans make them no different. I am sure, however, that they will soon realise this is no match made in heaven, but one hell of a big mistake. Ryanair is what it is; a cheap, no frills, no luggage, bus service in the air where profits come first and customer care is way down the bottom of the list. The exact opposite of the average cruise customer's perception and expectation of their holiday. Good luck Costa, you really are going to need it with this one because Mr O'Leary and his gang will not be changing their ways to meet the aspirations of your customers!

    By Brian Hawe, Tuesday, February 17, 2009

  • Getting to The Ship

    Ryanairs flight arrives at 1255 into Genoa assuming passneger gets luggage and clears customs within 1 hour (quite possible)1355hrs passenegers need to be at the dock by 1600 leaves a 2hrs 5 mins to do a journey of 30 miles approx, will ryanair be offering transfers to the port advising passengers of the journey time even a slight delay in baggage collection or passport control could cause missed departures.. also if passengers are paying to have the additional 15kg then they will also be paying to use the check in just looked at a Ryanair flight to Genoa from £2.79 to £61 with taxes that is without bags and paying to check in so "The Low Cost Airline" is not so low cost when you can fly with other airlines for a similiar price and get Extras Luggage Allowance 20kg Checked Luggage + 5kg (easyjet)handbaggage and do not get charged to use the check in facilities. It begs to wonder how Mr O'leary explains that he wanted more than 50% of passnegers tio use on-line check in but now wants to have cruise passengers using the airline increasing the amounts of baggae being checked 2+2 = 5 Ihink... they need to make their mind up as to what they want... offer a Free Checkin, proper luggage allowances & the complete service allowing if cruise passengers miss their departure due to Ryanairs failings they will get them, to the next ship at no additional cost, at the earliest oppurtunity and without causing distress to the passengers.....

    By Martin Owens, Tuesday, February 17, 2009

  • Baggage issues

    Mmmmm. Excess baggage charges could go thru the roof. I've just checked online and can get a 20kg bag delivered door to door from £79 as opposed to it costing up to £89 (5kgs xs @ £14/kg + the max checked fee). Entered UK to Italy with carrymyluggage.com

    By Simon Huxford, Tuesday, February 17, 2009

  • Guaranteed connection?

    Since Ryanair don't or won't guarantee a flight connection, what assurances are they giving their Costa customers that they will actually make their cruise?

    By tim ricketts, Tuesday, February 17, 2009

  • Costa and Ryanair

    The agents concern is fear that Costa pass over them agents and, as Ryanair, sells directly to the consumer...Arrive late to the cruise departure time? I arrive 51 hors late to Las Vegas on Continental, 18 hours late on Iberia to Madrid, Six hours late to Boston on Iberia...three hours on Air France. On the other hand, haven~´t you heard of luggage restrictions on USA carriers in North America? The fact is that Costa possibly will sell its fly and cruise cheaper.

    By ramon alvarez, Tuesday, February 17, 2009

  • BAD MOVE COSTA

    DOES TIS MEAN RYANAIR WILL BE OPENING NEW ROUTES TO GENOA?,AS IT STANDS ONLY STANSTED PASSENGERS ARE SERVED.BARCELONA PASSENGER HAVE MORE OF A CHOICE BUT HAVE TO ENDEAR OVER AN HOUR FROM GIRONA TO BARCELONA PORT WITH A TAXI FROM THE BUS STATION,UNLESS OF COURSE COSTA ARE SUPPLYING TRANSFERS FOR THEIR CLIENTS.BAD MOVE COSTA.ON A PERSONAL NOTE IVE NEVER FLOWN WITH RYANAIR WITHOUT HAVING TO ENDURE AT LEAST ONE PROBLEM,GENERALLY THERE ARE MORE PEOPLE PAYING FINES THAN ACTUALLY CHECKING IN

    By KELVIN SEXTON, Tuesday, February 17, 2009

  • Public perception of Costa

    Unfortunately, this association will pitch Costa at the wrong end of the market place as far as I can see. Becoming bed mates with a company which appears to be so lacking in the basic niceties of reasonable customer care levels will tar Costa with the same brush, which unfortunately is not the case, as I find them a good company to work with

    By Gary Aizen, Tuesday, February 17, 2009

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