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The Joy of Ryanair

February 16, 2011

This one goes out to all of you who, like me, have had the joy of flying Ryanair while studying abroad in Europe. They have become one of the most successful airlines in the world, it is the second largest in Europe and Ryanair flies the largest number of international passengers in the world. And what a joy it is to fly with them, from remote secondary airports to other remote secondary airports. Their business model is alternately brilliant and infuriating. They operate a large single-type fleet, fly from less expensive alternate airports, no longer employ ticket agents in their airport operations, they operate in the least expensive operating slots, and they don’t give anything away for free. Their website is straight out of 1994, and their fares are sometimes strikingly low. For that, you cannot fault them, and if you have taken a few flights with them you ‘learn’ to Ryanair, it truly is a skill. I’m pretty sure that their greatest trick of all is keeping their passengers on their toes so they are never sure exactly what is going on, so that that at any point Ryanair can ask for a few Euro/Pounds/Kroner/whatever local currency you may be using. But I’ve never been harmed in any way by Ryanair, and they have successfully delivered me everywhere from Ireland to Hungary and back.

But even still, there is something about traveling with Ryanair that isn’t altogether pleasant. And for that reason I was excited for the ‘mutiny‘ in the Canary Islands of nearly an entire planeload of passengers over their nickel-and-dime baggage fee policy. It’s not as flashy, or world-changing as the recent events in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, and elsewhere. But I do get behind this show of “the will of the people” did warm my heart for a minute. But in the interest of impartiality, I have to give credit where credit is due. Ryanair, known for its ostentatious style, led by CEO Michael O’Leary, countered the press with aplomb. Like the protesters in the Middle East, they turned to social media and posted a statement to their website which included an instructional video from YouTube, which shows a man packing 2 weeks’ worth of supplies into a typical carry-on sized bag.

So, ‘Vive, la Revolution!’ I say. Ryanair does what it does, and does it well. I can’t fault them, but it is great to see consumers standing up for themselves sometimes. Also, learn to pack a bag, it’ll get you far.

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