Ryanair’s cheap shots will leave O’Leary on a loo-ser

15 Feb

I’ve only once flown Ryanair and had no real complaints. But when, loo and behold, company boss Michael O’Leary began spouting about charging passengers for using his aircraft toilets in-flight, that was bladder-well not on.

As far as I was concerned, the Irish cheapo fly-boys were just cheapskate penny pinchers, at the same time screaming hypocritically that they are the cheapest and best airline around.

The problem is that O’Leary has got himself stuck uncomfortably between two stools (more Donna toilet humour). He’ll do anything for publicity – but in the process tends to ostracise a huge number of people, including passengers and staff.

Some travellers will no doubt be happy to save a few more quid by utilising the ‘‘standing seats’’ he plans to introduce in order to shoe-horn as many passengers as possible into short-haul flights.

Not me – I get backache after ten minutes shopping, so what price surviving a trip from Manchester to Murcia or Alicante on my feet?

Last summer O’Leary riled his own pilots with his ridiculous questioning of whether commercial airliners actually need two pilots on the flight deck.

“Really, you only need one pilot,’’ he ranted. ‘‘Let’s take out the second pilot. Let the bloody computer fly it.”

O’Leary’s logic is that flight attendants could do the job of the co-pilot, who he claimed was only there ‘‘to make sure the first fella doesn’t fall asleep and knock over one of the computer controls.”

He wants one of the cabin crew on all Ryanair flights taught to land a plane, with the pilot ringing the bell in an emergency and calling her in to take over. Following those comments, O’Leary quickly found himself on the receiving end from his own pilots, with Marseille-based Captain Morgan Fischer proposing that Ryanair ‘‘replace the chief executive with a probationary cabin-crew member currently earning about 13,200 euros net a year. “Ryanair would benefit by saving millions of euros in salary, benefits and stock options,” quipped Fischer

saw the funny side and joined in the banter, as did Ryanair spokesman Stephen McNamara, who said: “Michael thinks that cabin crew would make a far more attractive CEO than him so we are going to seriously look at the suggestion. “After all, if we can train cabin crew to land the plane, it should be no problem training them to do Michael’s job as well.”

They say that any publicity is good publicity – and that certainly seems to be Ryanair’s policy. But if they don’t soften their attitude towards their customers, I reckon they will pay heavily for it in due course.

A Cork-based friend of mine often travels from Cork to the UK with Ryanair because has no other option. And he reckons their attitude is not one of gratitude for his business but that THEY are doing HIM a favour in providing a service.

Another friend’s recent experience suggests that Ryanair should consider adopting the expression ‘The Customer is Always Wrong’ as their official slogan. My pal Andres Ballesteros, whose English is adequate but not perfect, paid on line for a return ticket from Liverpool to Alicante for his UK-based son – only to realise almost immediately that he had booked the flights back to front.

It was clearly a genuine mistake but Andres accepted he’d have to fork out another 20 euros or so to have the dates reversed. But when he phoned Ryanair’s call centre, a dismissive female operator told him haughtily: ‘‘It’s your mistake. You’ll just have to pay again’’.

Poor Andres was forced to rebook both flights, more than doubling the cost and adding a tasty bonus to O’Leary’s greed machine. World’s Most Popular Airline? World’s Least Caring Airline more likely.

As for all those O’Leary cost-cutting ideas, I’m not sure how serious he is – and whether any of them will actually be introduced rather than merely touted for publicity reasons. But don’t you find Ryanair’s endless purse-squeezing in order to increase profits a little worrying?

We have to believe that safety is as much a priority with O’Leary as it is with every other airline – and that he is not cutting corners in crucial areas like aircraft servicing.

However, I bet his constant stream of penny-pinching ideas has sewn just a tiny seed of doubt in the minds of some people. Me for one.

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3 Responses to “Ryanair’s cheap shots will leave O’Leary on a loo-ser”

  1. Padraig February 16, 2011 at 12:11 am #

    Everyone knows a friend or a friend of a friend who had a bad experience with Ryanair. 78 million passengers will fly with them this year (why, if they are such a bad company ?) so if only 99.95% are happy, it does leave a few to grumble. Does anyone out there know of any companies with 100% satisfacion rate? Maybe your bank, gas supplier Insurance company? I doubt it.

    • donna773 February 16, 2011 at 12:44 pm #

      Padraig, if 99.95 per cent of Ryanair passengers are happy, I’m a cabin-crew co-pilot! OK, they provide what seems to be cheap travel but beware the cynical way they claw back every penny you save, and more, if you don’t play it strictly by their rules.

  2. foxbat February 16, 2011 at 12:16 am #

    M.O’L is a firm believer in the old adage that any publicity is good publicity.
    I just wish he do the good cowboy thing and ride off into the sunset.
    fb

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