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Ah, Ryan Air Again

I spotted this article online this AM which quotes Ryan Air CEO Michael O'Leary as calling his customer idiots and stupid. What do you think? Is a "stupidity tax" fair? Or is it one-sided and you agree with the author's contention that "When someone makes a mistake, they don't automatically surrender their right to fairness and justice under the law." Pam

Posted by
8506 posts

Thank you for sharing this article. Interesting take on the "gotcha" economy. The disdain and hostility expressed by so-called "winners" toward so-called "losers" has been headline news recently.

Posted by
4684 posts

Michael O'Leary is a troll pure and simple. But we're talking about a company that hid its "no I don't want to buy your insurance" option in the "home country" pull-down menu, sold Norwegians tickets to "London Prestwick" airport, and generally bases its business model on ripping people off if they assume that they won't have to pay inflated fines for not doing things that no airline has traditionally expected its passengers to do, or that airports advertised as serving cities will have scheduled public transport services linking them to the cities in question in a time shorter than the flight took. I've no doubt some people will post sympathising with O'Leary, boasting about how little they paid for Ryanair flights and telling people to "read the f---ing website". But as far as I'm concerned those people are profiting off fraud, and I will never fly with Ryanair ever.

Posted by
11292 posts

Pamela: thanks for that link. Hmmm...the songs sound suspiciously similar. I wonder who did it first?

Posted by
11292 posts

As always when the subject of Ryanair comes up, I must post Fascinating Aida's wonderful musical warning about the perils of Cheap Flights (warning: not safe for work - contains profanity). "There must be extra charges when the flights are 50p"

Posted by
5669 posts

If Cheap Flights got you laughing, check out these on Ryanair Cam for some musical Irish views on Ryan Air. Pam

Posted by
5669 posts

If Cheap Flights got you laughing, check out these on Ryanair Cam for some musical Irish views on Ryan Air. You have to click on the Songs Page. Pam

Posted by
5669 posts

They do don't they? Although, I liked the reference to the Highland Coo in one with a bit of a Rawhide(?) theme behind it. One was clearly composed and sung at a family gathering. Pam

Posted by
425 posts

My local airport - PAU - told Ryanair to "take a funny run" when he demanded more cash for the privilege of having his planes land here. There are alternatives. Roger

Posted by
284 posts

His language and tone is way off the scales, but when you buy a ticket on RyanAir you agree to a contract that explicitly and repeatedly tells you that you have to print your boarding pass at home or else pay 60 euros at the airport. If this family didn't print the boarding pass, then.. well.. they pay the 60 euros. To me, it's no more shocking than an airline demanding that a family pay the checked bag fees at the airport after they agreed to pay those fees and brought luggage to the airport. The sames goes for passengers who are shocked to learn that they have to pay fees on overweight baggage, as they agreed to do (and that is a hefty, unhappy fee. Always weigh your bags before going to the airport!). O'Leary is known for shock advertising and blunt statements, but RyanAir is VERY up front with all the "gotcha" fees. This one is one of the most obvious and one that is told to the customer over and over again. This family should have known better and shouldn't have been surprised when RyanAir did what they did.

Posted by
2490 posts

Re printing boarding passes.
I've not flown Ryanair, but I've used EasyJet - and they let you print your pass beginning 60 days beforehand. How far ahead does Ryanair let you print the passes? The problem is that they make it really easy for you to wind up having to pay their extra fees. Same thing with overweight - at EasyJet no one checked our carry-ons, which we knew easily fit the sizers, and there was no quibble over possibly a couple extra grams. Now here's an idea - why not set a total weight limit for the passenger plus luggage? Then the 165 pound person with the 15 pound bag won't pay more than the 225 pound passenger with his laptop.

Posted by
964 posts

I completely understand why Ryanair gets the press it gets. And I agree Mr. Leary is a complete prat. But- I've benefitted from flying very cheaply to places I probably wouldn't have gone to otherwise, using Ryanair. Do I enjoy the experience of flying with Ryanair? No.
But it's a short part of the travel experience. I got 3 lovely days in Florence earler this year and the airfare cost less than £60 (about $100) for both of us, flying from a local airport.

Posted by
6017 posts

I think the article is little more than a rant, not even sticking to the subject at hand. Sort of "nothing new here" What it misses is some statement of the "moms" position on whether she knew, or just failed to know what was required for Ryanair. As I recall, the fee for having to print at the airport is pretty well explained, as are fee's imposed for overweight or oversize luggage (not an issue here), including in a fairly well organized table. So maybe "Mistake", maybe trying to skirt the rules. The problem is, many people think policies and rules do not really apply to them, or they can "get away with it". The luggage charge probably encounters this more, People thinking that a few (well, 10 or 20 lbs) more is not an issue, and even though they say one carry on, my day bag and bag of souvenirs doesn't count. Well, it does. Cheap flying comes with all the problems attributed it. If you choose not to deal with the ins and outs, or just following the rules, then fly at 2 or 3 times the price where it is tolerated, really that simple. Keep in mind the reason the total price paid for Ryan-Air tickets is so low is that they do not staff check in counters at the airport to handle long lines of people just checking in. They do not staff to do the level of baggage handling that other carriers do and count on lighter loads to hold fuel costs or have those costs offset by fees. As long as the costs and "fines" are clearly indicated, I have no issue with them, and if I go to the trouble to follow the rules, I hope they do get those that choose not to.

Posted by
5669 posts

But are all the rules clear and up front? Listen to one of the songs and you can see how you can sucked in and find yourself paying close to what you would have paid on another airline. I just was reading the first chapter of a business ethics book. We live in a Milton Friedman world today where if it's good for the shareholder nothing else matters. But is that true or perhaps the question is, is that right or ethical? In other words all that matters is Michael O'Leary's right to profit the only thing that matters? Friedman, it seems would say yes. Other theories say that their are other stakeholders in transactions--customers, employees to name two. I think that if Ryan Air literally listed their fares and ALL the fees up front on the first page, he would be offering a true choice that some people clearly want. Instead, it seems to me that he lures people in and says, "Nayh, Nahy, Ne Nayh, you didn't read the small print! I WIN!" Pam

Posted by
4740 posts

Pamela, that is exactly the reason why I avoid Ryanair. While I can accept a model where companies charge a la carte for services, I don't like the way Ryanair does it. Michael O'Leary seems to take pride in charging for anything he can get away with and calling his customers "stupid" when they don't read the fine print. I do think charging 60 EUR to print a boarding pass at the airport is taking advantage of your less educated customers. Ryanair charges you for a boarding pass regardless ... whether you check-in online (6 EUR) or print at the airport (60 EUR). As far as I know, no other airline does this. People who travel all the time know all about Ryanair. O'Leary is counting on those naive travelers who are going to make a mistake. Then, to make matters worse, he is bragging about how stupid they are and how "clever" he is. I'm not saying that I will never fly Ryanair ... but so far, I've been able to find reasonable options to my destinations with mainstream airlines or budgets (like Easyjet) that don't seem to hate their customers. I'll pay a bit more to travel with an airline with some ethics.

Posted by
6017 posts

Well, the Aida video is certainly funny, but again nothing new. (Well, paying to use the stairs...but that and other things are comedic license rather than reality if any one is wondering) But really, once again, most people, who heed stated rules, can book a ticket and know the costs. Those that see a "50p" cost and think that is all they pay, probably do need more help than we can offer here. Even in the US I get emails from multiple airlines offering round trip fares to Europe for $600** (**Does not include Airport Fees, Taxes, Fuel Surcharges, Fees charged by other carriers, etc., etc.) not to mention fees for a checked bag, fee for a "premium" coach seat, fee for a drink, fee for a snack, headphones.......meaning that $600 turns easily into $1200 or more. In the end, carefully consider all costs associated with a ticket, then if comparing, figure in the costs to get to and from the airport (since many Ryanair airports are well out of a city) and if they are the cheapest and fit your plans...great. If not....move on. I can still say, in multiple trips on Ryanair, the cost was always what it said before I clicked "PAY", service was what I expected and what was advertised, and I always arrived on time, usually early, with no lost luggage.

Posted by
5669 posts

Okay, I just heard from a UK colleague that Michael O'Leary is trying to buy Aer Lingus. My Uncle Norman from Dublin must be livid. He has always been so proud of Aer Lingus and their service. Pam

Posted by
2916 posts

O'Leary buying Aer Lingus? I just flew AL for the first time, and it was quite pleasant and on-time. Looks like it might be the last time. I'm very good at understanding what the catch is in cheap tickets (being a lawyer i'm used to reading small print crap), but I hate business models like Ryanair: 1 Euro for the flight, but 25 more a seat, plus a fee for the use of the ramp, pay toilets, etc. I have no idea what fees Ryainair actually charges, but I like the person's comment about the Milton Friedman approach.

Posted by
28110 posts

Pamela He is already a large stockholder in Aer Lingus. Its off the top of my head but I think he has something like 14%. The takeover attempt is actually quite old news now. In fact he was in the papers last week considering selling some of that stock.

Posted by
638 posts

I thought about looking at the links and videos but I'm worried I'll be assessed a fee for doing so, I haven't read all the fine print yet.

Posted by
9363 posts

"I have no idea what fees Ryainair actually charges..." Perhaps people who don't know what they charge should refrain from listing those supposed fees, or commenting on their existence. As for me, I'm happy following their rules if it will get me a $20 US flight (including all fees). And yes, the story about O'Leary and Aer Lingus is old news.

Posted by
5669 posts

The New York Times says that he owns nearly 30% share and he a very recent take over bid last month. See this article. No one is saying that he can't have his own rules, just that when the rules are so different from industry standard and when he hides the in "fine Print" he is not an ethical businessman.

Posted by
2995 posts

O'Leary sounds like a jerk, but that said, he does have a point. With all the hate blogs and parody songs and the information on the horrible RyanAir website itself, it's hard to believe that there are people who just don't bother to understand the tradeoffs they're making flying RyanAir. I haven't flown with them yet, but I am taking a flight back from Zadar, Croatia to Karlsruhe in October. The advertised price was 16 Euro - ridiculous - but even with all the fees, including checking bags and everything, I still have a one way ticket for 36 Euro. That's amazingly cheap, the next cheapest flight I could find was 50 Euro more, and that wasn't including checked bag fees, or airport fees, or anything else. I'm not looking forward to the flight, but holy crap, I'm flying for slightly more than $40! I'll take it - and make sure I print my boarding passes, check in online, etc.

Posted by
3580 posts

Then figure in the cost of transportation to/from airports Ryanair uses. And allow for the extra time involved. It may still be a deal, but not a great deal if time and making connections are factors. I flew Ryanair once from Paris to Venice. It was four hours from the time I left my Paris hotel until the flight time; at the other end it took a couple of hours to get to my Venice hotel. I forget the costs involved but in the neighborhood of 20euros for shuttles. I was ok with the arrangement, because I was able to arrive in Venice several hours earlier than if I had taken the train Paris-Venice. I think you can see your total cost on the airline before paying. Just be alert to what is on the screen and pay in advance for anything necessary.

Posted by
8506 posts

How are the employees treated? That's the most important for all of us because it concerns our safety. On a French TV documentary I saw, the employees interviewed talked about their stress, the push to sell merchandise while in the air, the very short turn-around time at terminals and how everyone had to clean the cabin and toilets between flights, cabin crew and pilots alike picking up our messes. Heaven forbid that they should have some down time.

Posted by
9363 posts

"Then figure in the cost of transportation to/from airports Ryanair uses. And allow for the extra time involved" In some cases, RyanAir uses the main airport (ie Dublin), and in some cases, like those I have flown to, the smaller town where they landed was exactly where I wanted to be (Santander, Spain). It would have cost me extra time and money to fly another airline to, say, Madrid, and then train to Santander. So the fact that they don't always use the main airport isn't always important or more costly. You just have to consider everything involved. Unlike Sarah, I don't have trouble believing that there are people who just don't bother to read the rules. In my experience, it has never been hidden in "fine print", though it isn't on the landing page. The last time I shopped their prices, during a sale, the extra fees WERE on the first page, though. You saw the price of everything as you went through the process. There are a fair number of people who just don't think certain rules should apply to them, or who think that what is true of a US airline should also be true of a European one, and they don't bother to see if something is different.

Posted by
8172 posts

Have flown Ryan Air on two different trips, once to Rome and then to Edinburgh. At no time did I feel like someone was pulling the wool over my eyes. The website is up front about all of the charges, the map shows you where the airport is, and if you have to take a bus, there is a schedule that tells you cost, and times. So, no surprises at all. The planes were new, and no more uncomfortable than any other plane I have been on. Do they sell stuff? Yeah, but we didn't find it annoying or disturbing. I just find it funny when people moan and complain about Ryan Air and they have never even flown with them. Or they moan about how far away the airport is and you have to pay for a bus to take you there. How much does the train from the Munich airport cost and how long does it take? Compare this to traveling to Memmingen. Add in the discount fare. The airports used in Rome and in Edinburgh were the same as all the other airlines, and these aren't the only 2 that use the same ones. Just that Frankfurt, Dusseldorf and Paris get all the attention for being so far away from their respective cities they are named after.