If you have not had the opportunity to fly on a Ryanair flight you are severely missing out. If airports out in the middle of fucking nowhere, no seat selection, and a baggage fee for anything bigger then a backpack sounds like a fun time to you, I would recommend taking a trip on Ryanair.
See, we in America are spoiled. Anybody with the idea that flying on Southwest is a bad experience needs to spend some time in Europe with their amazingly awful low-cost airlines. Let me quickly give novice to travelers planning their upcoming Euro trip: do not believe when they say the airport is in London or Rome that it is actually in those cities. They have a really general geographical definitions. Let me just put in perspective: how pissed would you be if you expected to land in Los Angeles and touched down in Ontario?
This is not the first time Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary has made news. He recently he stirred up some controversy suggesting they could save on costs by getting rid of co-pilots, and now he has a new idea: standing room only tickets.
O’Leary, CEO and all-around bad-ass, is the European equivalent of Ben Baldanza, the CEO of Spirit Airlines in America. While he could use a couple lessons in PR he does after all do what needs to be done. Despite being a media disaster, Ryanair stock has posted a 10 percent rise in first-half of 2012. Which begs the question: are all idiots for using his company, or is he actually a genius?
I have a theory on why people still fly his airline: they do not see the real cost in it. The lack of transparency is what gets consumers thinking they have such a great deal. Yes a $25 flight is a great idea, but is it going to cost you two hours and $70 each way to the airport? Is your really small bag going to cost you $60 round-trip?
A la carte amenities to pay for only for what you get sounds reasonable in theory. But standing-room only on a plane? Would you be willing to risk your safety to pay less? The man does have a point in the fact that we should pay for only what we want. The reason his company is doing so well in this economy is because in fact he is correct when saying that travel has been too long seen as an amazing experience and is in fact just a way of getting to from point a to point b. Or, as he’s put it before in some choice words:
“The problem with aviation is that for 50 years it’s been populated by people who think it’s this wondrous sexual experience; that it’s like James Bond and wonderful and we’ll all be flying first class when really it’s just a bullshit bus with wings.”
“You don’t need a seatbelt on the London Underground. You don’t need a seat-belt on trains which are traveling at 120mph and if they crash you’re all dead…”
“Passengers should all be able to hang on to the handle,” and will be,”fine” on landing.
“We don’t have heavy landings anymore “If you say to someone,’ look, hang onto the handle there, you’re coming in to land
“They are all a bunch of plonkers.” Referring to all the airline officials.
When asked why he chargers people for printing tickets, his response is,”We think [they] should pay 60 euros for being so stupid.”
We need to change how we think about airlines and what they actually do for us. Until then we are going to be dissatisfied and complaining about how good it once was. It is 2012—you need to decide if you want a cheap ticket or luxury.
Follow Kevin Camps @kpcamps.