Ryanair has unveiled a number of new customer care initiatives for 2019, including a new grace period for changes to bookings and an annual pass aimed at frequent travellers.

Customers will now be able to make changes to their booking for free during a 48-hour grace period, and if they find a cheaper fare elsewhere within three hours of making a booking, they will receive the difference plus a €5 My Ryanair credit.

The carrier is also launching a new Ryanair Choice pass, aimed at frequent travellers. Similar to the Easyjet Plus programme, the scheme will offer free seat allocation, fast-track security and priority boarding, for an annual cost of €199.

Other initiatives include a promise to deliver 90 per cent punctuality (excluding delays caused by air traffic control), or 5 per cent off the following month’s air fares should it fall short.

Ryanair also says it will process EU261 claims within ten days, with a new 24/7 support service, which customers will be connected to within two minutes.

A new carbon offset programme is to be introduced, and the airline aims to be plastic free in five years time.

The carrier’s website and app are also being improved, with a new fare finder, faster mobile services, and access to sports tickets and bespoke travel guides.

This April Ryanair will take delivery of the first of its new B737 Max aircraft – a total of five of the new aircraft will be based at Stansted airport this summer.

The carrier says there will be more flights on 24 existing routes from Stansted this winter, and new routes to Krakow from Luton, and to Venice Treviso from Southend.

Earlier this month Ryanair announced plans to move to a group structure similar to that of British Airways’ parent company International Airlines Group, with Michael O’Leary moving to become Group CEO, and a senior team overseeing the development of four airline subsidiaries – Ryanair DAC, Ryanair Sun, Ryanair UK and Laudamotion, each with their own CEOs and management.