Friday, February 27, 2009

Ryanair takes the Piss - Yet Again

You have to hand it to Michael O'Leary and Ryanair, they really know how to get themselves free press coverage. 

The latest stunt pulled by the bould Michéal is to tell everybody that Ryanair is considering putting coin slots on the doors of its toilets so that passengers have to pay to use the loo. 

You'll see further along in this piece that we feel this is merely a smokescreen for an IT blunder that has got Ryanair all the wrong sort of press coverage. Let's be honest though, O'Leary isn't that fussy, as long as he and his airline are written about for one reason or another he doesn't really care. It's all free advertising. Let's take the old 'toilet trick' at face value for the moment, just in case. We'll discuss the IT blunder underneath this piece. 

Irish carrier Ryanair, Europe's largest budget airline, might start charging passengers for using the toilet while flying, chief executive Michael O'Leary said on Friday.

According to today's International Herald Tribune O'Leary is purported to have said:

"One thing we have looked at in the past and are looking at again is the possibility of maybe putting a coin slot on the toilet door so that people might actually have to spend a pound to spend a penny in future," he told BBC television.

He said this would not inconvenience passengers travelling without cash. "I don't think there is anybody in history that has got on board a Ryanair aircraft with less than a pound."

O'Leary has a reputation as a cost cutter, expanding Ryanair by offering low headline fares and charging extra for items such as additional luggage.

"We're all about finding ways of raising discretionary revenue so we can keep lowering the cost of air travel," he said.

Last week, Ryanair announced it was to shut all check-in desks at airports and have passengers check in online instead. End IHT Piece.

All very tongue in cheek we at the OC imagine, but one has to wonder which cheek O'Leary has in mind. Boom, boom. 


Now we don't mean to be cynical about this latest O'Leary stunt. OK, so that's a lie, we are very cynical about it. Could it be that O'Leary is using this latest ruse as a means to divert attention away from the following Blogging incident which has backfired more than a little on the penny pinching airline.

According to blogger Jason Roe, he was offered the prospect of Ryanair flights for free, but unintentionally. This is a major 'egg on the face' incident for one of the largest airlines in Europe. 

According to Roe:

"While trying to avoid the dreaded Ryanair credit card charges, I jumped into the Ryanair Voucher section. There are no card changes (sic) on vouchers, so it can be a good way to avoid extra fees." 

The result, Jason was offered flights (albeit rather fleetingly), any flights pretty much, totally for free. No nasty taxes or charges even. 

Not even a mention of a 'piddling' charge, you could say.

Among a number of the wonderful 'Ryanairesque' responses to Jason's blog from, obviously pretty miffed, Ryanair IT staff were:

"You’re an idiot and a liar!! fact is! you’ve opened one session then another and requested a page meant for a different session, you are so stupid you dont even know how you did it!" 

"If you would work in your pathetic life on a such big project (sic) in a such busy environment with so little resources, you would know that the most important is to have usual user behavior scenarios working rather than spending time on improbable and harmless things."

Touch of class. Also good to see that Ryanair is hiring so many native English speaking programming staff. 

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