A new customer care initiative is being introduced by Ryanair alongside an expanded 2019 winter schedule from London area airports.

A new Ryanair Choice scheme aimed at frequent travellers for an annual fee of €199 includes seat assignment, fast track and priority boarding.

Also new is a 48 hour grace period for bookings to be changed free of charge.

A ‘customer care charter’ pledges to process flight delay claims within ten days with new support available 24/7 and two minute connection times.

A carbon offset programme is planned with an ambition for the no-frills carrier to become plastic free in five years.

The airline starts deploying new Boeing 737 MAX aircraft from April with new interiors and more seats with Ryanair claiming passengers will also have more legroom.

Five of the aircraft will be deployed at Stansted from this summer.

The carrier also plans digital improvements including a new fare finder, the avialability of sports tickets, bespoke travel guides and a faster mobile application.

Chief marketing officer Kenny Jacobs said: “Ryanair is pleased to launch our 2019 customer care improvements, while continuing to deliver ‘more choice, lower fares and great care’.

“Ryanair will carry 152 million customers this year who will enjoy these latest improvements including lowest price and punctuality promises, our customer care charter, new Ryanair Choice membership, and this summer many will enjoy our new Boeing MAX ‘gamechanger’ aircraft with more legroom and bright new interiors.

“While we continue to improve our customer care, one thing that won’t change is our lower fares – which we promise will not be beaten – and our customers will still enjoy the biggest choice of destinations, with the most on-time flights and a fantastic onboard experience, as we grow our fleet, traffic and routes.”

However, Martin Lewis, founder of MoneySavingExpert. com, said: “While this tweak by Ryanair is welcome, it is a very, very tiny tweak.

“Extending the grace period – in which people can change their name if there’s an error – to two days from one may help a few people. Yet why would you spot it on the second day if not the first?

“Whether the problem is due to a glitch, an unspotted auto-correct error or a good old human mistake – to charge someone more than £100 to correct their name simply isn’t on.

“If Ryanair really wants to ‘care’ for its customers, it should ensure that, where someone is obviously just fixing an error, there is no charge whenever it is done.”

The airline plans to grow traffic from the four London airports it serves by 5% next winter to 26 million passengers across 154 routes.

New flights from Luton to Krakow and Southend to Venice Treviso are part of the schedule.

A total of 118 routes will operate from Stansted with projected carryings of 21.5 million passengers, up one per cent on this winter.

Twenty one routes will be served from Luton including four new flights a week to Krakow as the airline aims for a 24% rise in carryings to 24 million passengers.

Southend will have 11 routes, including four new flights a week to Venice Treviso.

Four routes will run from Gatwick.

Jacobs said: “London customers and visitors can now book seats as far as March 2020 and enjoy our latest customer care improvements.

“To celebrate the launch of our London winter 2019 schedule, we are releasing seats for sale from London from just £19.99 for travel in September and October, which are available for booking until midnight Saturday.”