Ryanair – a bus with wings


Posted by in December's Magazine

Have you ever travelled with Ryanair? It’s a fair bet that you probably have, or at least tried to, at some point. Ryanair is a market leader in cheap – this word will come up once or twice in this article – air travel, providing what they claim are low cost flights to various destinations in Europe. Now it all depends what you mean by ‘low cost’. If you’re talking about the amount of cash you have to shell out to enjoy – this word won’t appear very often – one of their flights, then the actual cost appears fairly minimal. If you’re talking about the cost to your health, your enjoyment of a well-earned holiday, or your faith in modern day air travel, forget it.

Ryanair is a toilet, the company’s owner, Michael O’Leary, is proud of the fact he manages to cram so many willing punters onto his planes, which hang heavy with the odour of tear-sodden hen parties and the flaccid, sweaty remnants of hung-over stags. Put bluntly, Michael O’Leary couldn’t give a toss what people think of his airline as long as it’s bringing cash through the tills and herding bedraggled travellers to airports in Europe which no-one has heard of and which necessitate a lengthy (and often expensive) train journey to your actual destination. O’Leary has been quoted as saying, “An aeroplane is nothing more than a bus with wings on. Are we trying to blow up the notion that flying is some kind of orgasmic experience rather than a glorified bus service? Yes, we are.”

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He has managed to build up a company that doesn’t give a shit about its staff or its customers yet still manages to rake in profits year on year. It’s a phenomenon which almost beggars belief until you realise some people are more than willing to be exploited, as long as they think they’re getting something out of it. So, what’s the deal with Ryanair?

Some basic rules to remember if you find yourself about to hit the send button while booking a flight with the ‘flying toilet’. If your flight is delayed, and some have been delayed for up to two days, Ryanair will not put you up in a hotel or give you vouchers to buy a cup of tea. (When you eventually get on board you can always buy a cuppa for £2.50). Wait a minute, I hear you cry, we can’t afford to pay for a hotel. Tough. Curl up on the airport floor and dry your eyes because they don’t give a toss. Are you taking your baby to visit family and friends abroad? Right, you’ll have to pay extra for a baby cot on board. Oh, and if you require a wheelchair to get on board that’ll be extra as well. You’re also only allowed to put 15 kilos of luggage in the hold. On a recent flight my daughter’s suitcase weighed 15.1 kilos, Ryanair check-in made her transfer a couple of pairs of socks to her hand luggage! Now I’m no physicist but what difference did that sock transfer make to the plane’s ability to get off the ground?

That £1 flight that you just booked is beginning to look a little too cheap to be true isn’t it? And when you book your flight you’ll have to perform your own check-in administration and print out your check-in details as the company plans to close all its check-in desks by the end of this year. Ryanair say this will allow them to pass on savings to passengers – hang on, aren’t the passengers using their own computers and printers to avoid paying a £40 charge at the airport? At every turn, when you think that you’re getting a great deal, you’re actually more or less employed by the company – you think that you’re making a huge saving but what you’re actually doing is allowing the company to employ less staff and boost its profits. You’re being exploited by a very clever machine, which is only interested in cold, hard cash. So what, you say? And that’s the point.

When people are willing to be treated like shit because they think they’re getting a cheap deal, or when gormless and untalented people are being paraded on television in the guise of entertainment because they think that the exposure may make them famous, the reality is that pitiless sharks like O’Leary and Simon Cowell are laughing all the way to the bank. Cynical? You bet I am.

Do yourself a favour. Next time you fancy a flight to Europe, save up for however long it takes, and book yourself a seat on an airline that values your custom and it’s own staff. Dress up for the flight and while you’re sipping your well-earned drink, spare a thought for the deluded bargain hunters as they head to a barn in the middle of nowhere on a bus with wings, that smells of piss.

5 responses to “Ryanair – a bus with wings”

  1. […] what you like about Ryanair – and Protempore has said what he dislikes on the subject – but they are ever broadening their flying horizons, and that’s a good […]

  2. CCbuscompany says:

    Nothing can be compared to the new life that the discovery of another country provides for a thoughtful person. Although I am still the same I believe to have changed to the bones.

  3. Personally I like going places where I don't speak the language, don't know anybody, don't know my way around and don't have any delusions that I'm in control. Disoriented, even frightened, I feel alive, awake in ways I never am at home.

  4. Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends.

  5. It has been often times that I have been traveling with Ryanair and they are pretty good to provide the quality services. This is the only reason the list of clients has been increasing.

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