Ryanair the Irish based LCC has grown 323.4% in the last 10 years which is brilliant stuff in any business never mind the airline business, but I want to believe I really do but something really nags me about the Irish Airline, the sheer gall of its CEO elf Michael O’Leary even makes (look at it!..) Richard Branson look amateurish in his stunts and no doubt it works in getting bums on seats.
His latest “crock o crap” is that if passenger would stand up (IATA would have a heart attack) they can fly free?..brilliant PR stuff and an amazing 66% of passengers said they would?…..for 2 hours on a bumpy plane would you stand in the aisle to get to Romania?
Mr O’Leary already has standing passengers anyway in the fact that (one) you have to pay to use his toilet, (two) he has pulled them all out for more seats and left only one to use!, so his standing passengers is really a queue to go to the loo, plus the fact that if you have a aisle seat there is a good chance that standing by your face waiting to use such facility is some older male person with a personal bladder problem is holding his crotch to stop the dribble going down his legs…I would want to fly free for that view and in a seat please!
besides this ludicrous situation Michael O’Leary charges you for everything except smiling (including the cabin crew) and crying which you do once all the charges are laid out, another latest idea is for you to take all your hand luggage (no checked luggage, so what does he carry in the hold?) and put it in a holding area when you board or collect when you deplane, can you picture a large Indian Family with all their excess baggage carrying it up stairs and carrying it off again including sacks and trunks and “god knows what”, god help us.
Still we haven’t mentioned that you are treated like herded cattle, abused, hustled around and mostly bumped to another flight and for all of this we smile gracefully and pay up and grit our teeth, so why do we put up with it all…because it is a cheap fare……..compared to what…walking, and worse is that other carriers see this as a trendsetter and want to use this despicable model for their own uses.
So for me it just doesn’t add up, I don’t get it, and there are two reasons (one) Michael O’Leary can get away with murder, because (two) his passengers are bloody idiots for putting up with so much for so long and let him get away with murder, yes we complain and get angry at airports because our wallets have been stripped and there is nowhere to sit (except on the cold floor), we are hungry (no food now, remember that), we are late, and tired…and what do we do, “we’ll fly Ryanair again because it won’t be as bad next time”..doh!
But is the penny about to drop as Ryanair’s latest three month net income is 20 million euros lower, you could say that the economic crisis is the cause, however the airline’s strategy is to find niche airports all over Europe and fill them with a service, and to do so at such an alarming rate that passengers take up the service just because it is there and pay such a low price for doing so, the mayors of such destinations will of course welcome the tourists with open arms and give Mr O’Leary a lot of freedom in costs and infrastructure just to put his wheels on their tarmac that even their own established airlines would benefit from more, but the reason other LCC carriers don’t land here is these destinations are a bit obscure and in time a flood becomes a trickle once the gloss wears off, for Mr O’Leary he just does a better special (lower fares) and fills the planes (goats in the hold?), but you can only go down so far and has Ryanair gone to far in its quest for European domination in having too many slight routes going to too many destinations with not having too many load filling routes with good yield, or the opposite were as on any route that is popular to even take out toilets for seats means that the margins are so slight that every seat counts, even the toilet seat.. it has to be a model for problems if the load factors even drop a smidgen.
And to my unease, it feels like a very on the line, week to week survival stuff, but like an Irish magician Micheal O’Leary just creates an illusion of perfection while frantically cutting or finding another way of getting more cash from his customers, its a bit like a Madoff Ponzi scheme for airlines.
But why do people put up with this?
with the economic crisis I am hoping that some reasoning will come back and people will stop thinking that the cheapest fare is the only benchmark for travelling on an airline because it getting ridiculous to the point of stupidity, passengers should reward airlines that give good service, don’t over book them, allow a fair amount of baggage, have fair airport space and seating, are on time and have good equipment (planes), pay a little more and get a better travelling experience, good airlines will breath a sigh of relief too as their margins will be better to give you a better deal and employ a few more staff, that would be a better service, certainly better than Ryanair but until then if the option is there… then take the train, at least you can use the toilet….for free.