Ryanair blues

I don’t know whether to feel schadenfreude for Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary at his loss of income ( he’s personally worth $400m), or admire him for chutzpah.. Here he is admitting he screwed up for failing to hedge on oil prices last year. and here again he spits defiance at the Republic’s National Consumer Agency which has asked him to honour sales of Ryanair seats made by rival websites. How much revenue was Ryanair losing on these transactions I wonder?
Quote

” Ryanair planned to clamp down on screenscraping websites that he says are ripping customers off by adding “hidden fees and mark-ups”.

“The National Consumer Agency is utterly useless,” he said.

Up to 1,000 bookings a day were being made by these “scam artists”.

He said Ryanair was now cancelling bookings made by screenscraping websites”.

1,000 bookings a day cancelled! Is no one objecting?

To O’Leary, the customer is only right if he says so – and he seems to be getting away with it. Legal action over these websites could take a long time. Meanwhile the poor customer seems to have no redress.

  • DaithíÓ

    £8 to use your debit card, £70 to take golf clubs on a return flight? He’s a feckin cheek talking of hiden charges. What do “taxes and charges” mean?

  • cynic

    Last week the Bel Tel ran this story and I posted a comment on their site – or tried to.

    It was a totally well mannered comment to the effect that people should shop around anyway as Ryanair were not always the cheapest and others were sometimes better value. My comment was never posted but a number of others were? I wonder why?

    Could it have anything to do with all those big Ryanair adverts? Surely not

  • David Cather

    ‘…screenscraping websites that he says are ripping customers off by adding “hidden fees and mark-ups” ‘

    Hidden fees and mark-ups! The man clearly has no sense of irony.

  • Paul McMahon

    I think that O’Leary deliberately goes out of his way to be the abrasive gabshite that he is.

  • Let’s say it here, and over and over again.

    Compare any other airline, including BA, with Ryanair on a “I need to fly” basis. Factor in the “extras”. Don’t forget the carriage to and from your airports (Frankfurt-Hahn, anyone? Treviso for Venice?).

    My most recent example was just last week. Booked a month in advance (so no excuse there), I made it from Turin to home for less by BA than I would have paid O’Leary’s operation.

    I didn’t use my full luggage allowance. I had an inch or two more leg-room. I was provided with a sandwich and a cup of tea, without charge. There were no insistent speakers blaring adverts for raffle tickets.. I didn’t find something nasty in the seat-back or under the seat-cushion. The upholstery looked and felt a few degrees better than a flop-house. I didn’t queue for an hour or so. I had a reasonably pleasant experience.

    Result!

  • Let’s say it here, and over and over again.

    Compare any other airline, including BA, with Ryanair on a “I need to fly” basis. Factor in the “extras”. Don’t forget the carriage to and from your airports (Frankfurt-Hahn, anyone? Treviso for Venice?).

    My most recent example was just last week. Booked a month in advance (so no excuse there), I made it from Turin to home for less by BA than I would have paid O’Leary’s operation.

    I didn’t use my full luggage allowance. I had an inch or two more leg-room. I was provided with a sandwich and a cup of tea, without charge. There were no insistent blaring adverts for raffle tickets. I didn’t find something nasty in the seat-back or under the seat-cushion. The upholstery looked and felt many degrees better than a flop-house. I didn’t queue for an hour or so. I had a reasonably pleasant experience.

    Result!

  • Oh, hell!

    Another double post. Sorry! Must keep my left elbow under control.

    Moderator, help!

  • sammaguire

    Everyone seems to be having a go at poor Micko so I’ll give the other side of the story.

    I’ve travelled Dublin Gatwick return about 40 times at less than half what Aer Lingus and BA were charging 20 years ago. I’ve always been treated well by their staff and found their planes to be as clean as any other airline.

    Apparently they rip you off for a warm can of beer on board but no one forces you to buy one.

    My parents got to Pisa for 39 Euro return each a few years ago. Beat that Aer Lingus and BA.

    I know they are unlikely to give you a cup of tea if your flight is delayed and the airport might be 50 miles away from your intended destination but ultimately the positives (bringing fares down throughout Europe) outweigh the negatives by a mile.

  • Harry Flashman

    Good for you Malcolm, you followed O’Leary’s doctrine of competition, a free market and choice, brilliant isn’t it?

    So why do so many Ryanair bashers seem to hanker after the good old days of state owned, strike bound, public run, over-subsidised, expensive national airline monopolies?

    You don’t like Ryanair folks, fine,

    DON”T FLY WITH THEM!

    It ain’t rocket science you know.

  • 2050

    he caught me some years ago going to Norway at the last minute with allot of luggage i didn’t need and slapped a £50 fine on me….silly me

    But i got him recently on a £15 return to liverpool with tax’s , hand luggage only and had a great weekend staying with friends in Wales/Cheshire

    Will use ryandontcare again

  • O’Leary did not invent the “no-frills” airline: that probably was Southwest, operating out of Las Vegas and Dallas, and succeeding as a result of the 1978 US Airline Deregulation Act. Even before that there had been attempts to break the oligopoly, notably World Airlines trying to enter the New York-Los Angeles route from as early as the late ’60s. Ryanair’s model only became possible when the EU deregulated European routes, which was then greatly aided by on-line sales and marketing. The Ryanair model is exploitative not innovative.

    Yes, O’Leary has been phenomenally successful in what he does. And, yes, a lot of good folk have found it easier and cheaper to fly as a result of his and Stelios’ efforts.

    Ryanair’s unique selling point is no longer cheap fares: it is frequently undercut by others. It is total contempt for and rabid exploitation of the self-loading freight. The greatest example is the “no-fuel surcharge” claim, while imposing surcharges for anything else, including (in the past) wheel-chairs. The current thread is about a Nuspeak definition: that cancelling fairly-bought tickets, thus affecting thousands of passengers, is a “consumer-friendly decision”.

  • darrmont

    I would walk before flying with Ryanair, they try very hard to annoy you at every turn and I don’t feel at all confident about being in their care.

    In my experience they are seldom cheapest anyway.

  • Harry Flashman

    @Malcolm

    “Ryanair’s unique selling point is no longer cheap fares: it is frequently undercut by others. It is total contempt for and rabid exploitation of the self-loading freight. The greatest example is the “no-fuel surcharge” claim, while imposing surcharges for anything else, including (in the past) wheel-chairs.”

    Wrong! O’Leary does not charge one penny for wheelchairs, the airports do, he merely passes on the bill. If you feel wheelchair access should be free then take it up with BAA, not Ryanair.

    O’Leary was on Hard Talk on BBC this morning, he explained his charges, if you don’t want to get a credit card surcharge use a debit card, if you don’t want a checked luggage charge take hand baggage, if you don’t want to pay 3 Euro for a coffee don’t buy it. That at least is honest, but the other airlines don’t give you this option, they simply slap a fuel surcharge on all passengers point blank, no option but to pay up.

    Once again I come down on O’Leary’s side while the die hard lefties line up with big monopolistic dinosaurs, no surprise there really.

  • 6countyprod

    I’m with Sam and Harry. Ryanair and easyJet have opened up Europe for all the people of The Island.

  • Harry Flashman @ 02:37 PM:

    Gosh, I bet you feel better now that’s out rather than in.

    Let’s compare and contrast:

    (1) The Guardian, 22 Dec 2004:

    Disabled travellers were celebrating a landmark victory yesterday after a high court judge ruled that both airlines and airports have a duty to provide free wheelchairs.

    The dispute began more than a year ago when a disabled passenger sued Ryanair for charging him £18 to use a wheelchair.

    That well-known “die-hard leftie” rag, the Daily Telegraph noted:

    BAA’s seven UK airports have signed a European-wide voluntary commitment not to charge extra to passengers with reduced mobility. Ryanair is the only airline operating in the UK which has refused to accept the agreement.

    (2) Malcolm Redfellow @ 09:16 AM:

    The greatest example [of the Ryanair gouging] is the “no-fuel surcharge” claim, while imposing surcharges for anything else, including (in the past) wheel-chairs.

    Note the two textual emphases.

    (3)Harry Flashman @ 02:37 PM:

    O’Leary does not charge one penny for wheelchairs, the airports do, he merely passes on the bill.

    And here’s another test of parallel-reality:

    (1)Harry Flashman @ 02:37 PM:

    O’Leary was on Hard Talk on BBC this morning, he explained his charges, if you don’t want to get a credit card surcharge use a debit card, if you don’t want a checked luggage charge take hand baggage, if you don’t want to pay 3 Euro for a coffee don’t buy it.

    (2) From Ryanair’s own site:

    Ryanair today (Friday 4th July) announced that with immediate effect the fee for debit card payment will be increased to €5 per person, per sector to bring it into line with the Ryanair’s credit card charges. This amendment is required by Ryanair’s credit card providers who will not permit any cost differential between debit card and credit card payments.

    A confusing pinko plot to undermine capitalism, isn’t it?

  • Harry Flashman

    No Malcolm my dimwitted friend it’s actually remarkably simple, so simple a three year old could work it out, I’m surprised someone as clever as you from Trinity College Dublin can’t seem to grasp it, but I will work you through it again nice and slowly and I won’t even use those nasty italics and bold lettering of which you are so fond.

    If you don’t like Ryanair, don’t fly with them.

    There now, was that so complicated?

  • Harry Flashman @ 06:37 PM:

    Fair enough. You make yourself abundantly clear.

    For the record I have flown repeatedly with Ryanair: on some routes I would have had no alternative. At best it was a tolerable experience. In this thread I have merely suggested Ryanair should be one’s carrier of informed choice.

    However, the original point of this thread is there are many people who want to fly Ryanair, and who have bought tickets “in good faith”. Ryanair now cancels those tickets, often at shortest notice, forcing the would-be customers to change arrangements, and so likely to be forced to re-book at a much higher price. O’Leary, it appears, is deliberately making life as difficult as possible for those would-be customers, as a revenge ploy against the “screen-scrapers” he despises. It also is a matter of record that Ryanair is niggardly with refunds.

    The National Consumer Agency believes Ryanair’s position is “grossly unfair”; and has suggested the outstanding tickets should be honoured; but received only abuse in return.

    Quite why sticking to the facts is “dimwitted” eludes me.

  • Dave

    There is a good reason why Ryanair carried 49 million last year: cheap fares. Fortunately, folks who pay £15 for a plane ticket from one country to another (less than a local taxi ride) have the good sense not to make an ass of themselves by complaining about the lack of frills. If you want frills, go to an airline that sells them and don’t worry if you have a nagging feeling that maybe spending an extra £200 on a ticket wasn’t just a smart investment for 2 inches of extra legroom for an hour or so sitting on your arse.

  • Dave @ 07:04 AM:

    Again, fair enough.

    You still miss my essential point: Ryanair should be one’s carrier of informed choice.

    Do the comparisons; and one frequently finds that other carriers are, in totality, at least no more expensive than Ryanair, operate at more convenient times, and provide a better service. To take one concrete example, I repeatedly find that London to Dublin (a spinal route for both airlines) via Aer Lingus out of Heathrow is as well-priced as via Ryanair out of Stansted. For the true masochist, there are running debates on precisely this topic on the net, notably on the Professional Pilots Rumour Network. Wait a few moments, and a rip-off will appear in the travel section of the newspaper of your choice. The cost differential becomes much greater for me when I factor in access to the airports.

    So, I repeat: do the math and compare. Unless one occupies the gold-plated seats up front (and most short-haul seems to be moving to one-class operations), talk of a three-figure price difference is moonshine. As for the argument about luggage: has O’Leary ever travelled with babies and managed it without hold-baggage? Many do not have the luxury of leaping a plane equipped only with a lap-top and a spare pair of knickers. Equally, since Ryanair book exclusively through a web-site, how does one avoid the surcharge for using a card (O’Leary’s claim that one can is based on using one particular card from one particular bank on one particular type of account)?

    What I fail to comprehend is why there are so many here in denial and prepared to wave banners for O’Leary, despite his repeated foul-mouthed and misleading rants: it’s just another airline, for heaven’s sake.

    Now, for a personal real grief, why do so many US travel and airline sites refuse to accept credit and debit cards other than from the US, Canada and Mexico?

  • Harry Flashman

    “What I fail to comprehend is why there are so many here in denial and prepared to wave banners for O’Leary”

    I don’t know of anybody who actively ‘waves the flag’ for Ryanair, I certainly don’t, I don’t particularly like it as an airline, but I’m sick to death of the constant whining begrudgery hurled at it by people who’ve never run so much as a whelk stall.

    Ryanair is just a business, nothing more, nothing less, it’s like Tesco or Barclays Bank or Peugeot or Coca-Cola or any other brand. If you don’t like their product well feckin’ well don’t buy it but for Chrissakes spare us the constant whinefest! By the way Malcolm, it might come as a shock to you but everyone I know is perfectly capable of making informed choices before they make purchases, why do you think they are all so incapable of doing so when it comes to buying an airline ticket?

    Of course the reason Ryanair gets such a bad press is because of two reasons a) it is unashamedly free market and proudly capitalistic and b) it challenges the big old fashioned “national” carriers with all their public sector, monopolistic, trade union baggage.

    That’s the real reason people like you hate Ryanair so much.