The photography site for sore eyes. Featuring: Art, photography, performance and theatre. With extra writing because I'm also a writer.
Below are the edited highlights from Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary’s column in his in-flight Ryanair Magazine (16 February – 15 march 2011):
WELCOME ABOARD RYANAIR, The World’s Favourite Airline
…record breaking start… guaranteed lowest fares and no fuel surcharges… Europe’s lowest fares… 1,200 exciting routes… guaranteed lowest fares and no fuel charges… 1,200 routes…guaranteed… great fares… unbeatable prices… record breaking start… unbeatable fares… guarantee… guaranteed lowest fares and no fuel charges.
As you can tell O’Leary is big on boasts and repetition. While he could engage in a reasonable argument about his airline being cheap, his claim that Ryanair is the World’s Favourite Airline beggar’s belief.
I have flown with Jet2, Virgin Atlantic, British Airways, Sky Europe, Thomson Holidays, Continental Airlines, EgyptAir, MyTravel, Delta, Northwest Airlines, KLM, Thomas Cook, Turkish Airlines, Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines, airBaltic and possibly others. And I can honestly say that Ryanair is my least favourite airline.
Why? Because the airline offers a thoroughly miserable experience from flight booking, with surcharges and extra fees hitting you from all angles, to the unseemingly scrum to get on its flights.
You can even argue that Ryanair is not even the cheapest airline around. The £9 flights – or 99p as they used to be – are incredibly hard to pin down. The reality of Ryanair is that your getting a great deal if the total cost of your booking is under £100 per person.
Anybody who uses Ryanair does so not because they are the cheapest but because they are flying to the destination you want to visit. I can guarantee that if Ryanair and one of it’s competitors ran flights to the same airport from the same destination that most people would go with the other one. Though I wouldn’t put it past O’Leary to offer mega cheap deals on that route until the competitor went out of business before hiking the prices back up the afternoon of the oppositions demise.
What can Ryanair do to make it’s travel experience more bearable? This question requires the depth of a PhD but to start they could offer seat numbers to stop the on-board scramble.
They could also stop ripping off customers with extra charges for booking with credit cards, booking on-line, or linking to bus services to take you into your destination city from the airport that are up to four times the actual cost from the bus company.
Ryanair could make a huge effort in stop trying to mislead their customers over prices (they have been fined and disciplined several times by the Advertising Standards Authority) and generally make travelers feel like they are offering a service and a helping hand towards an enjoyable break, rather than exacerbating the feeling that they are attempting to catch out their clients with a series of penalty charges.
NOTE: Ryanair Magazine is actually one of the best in-flight magazines around. It’s published by Ink Publishing.