You get what you pay for, as the saying goes. For years Ryanair has done exactly what it “says on the tin.” A true low cost airline. Are things really as bad as people think at one of the world’s largest low cost carriers?
After coming bottom of a Which? survey of 100 popular British brands for the sixth year straight, commentators were quick to focus on the current Ryanair pilots strike and poor customer service compounding the woes for the budget airline.
Customers surveyed on a list of 100 British companies used the words “greedy” and “arrogant” to describe Ryanair and its business practises. This survey however, doesn’t necessarily reflect fairly on Ryanair or the product they offer.
Low-cost airlines like Ryanair made traveling cheaper
Let’s not forget that before Ryanair and EasyJet, air travel in Europe was much more expensive, not to mention infrequent and less expansive. More people can travel across Europe now thanks to these budget airlines opening new routes, and importantly at a competitive cost.
Everything—and I mean everything—costs passengers an additional fee at Ryanair. Seat selection, food and drinks and even now a cabin baggage allowance. What more would you expect when you pay €20 ($22) for a ticket? I certainly wouldn’t expect state of the art customer service.
Ryanair operates on a well-run business model, and that is why it is one of the world’s most profitable, yet cheapest airlines for passengers.
If I want to book the cheapest ticket possible in Europe, my starting point is to look at Ryanair. They are undoubtedly the cheapest and because of that I would fund it unreasonable to demand premium customer service support. If I have paid three times the price for a “premium” and supposedly “full service” carrier such as British Airways then I could perhaps expect more. However, almost every airline in Europe now works on a low-cost model, where passengers have to pay for almost everything.
Ryanair’s CEO Michael O’Leary has regularly and repetitively doubled down on the low quality product that Ryanair offers. Previously toying with the ideas of making passengers pay to use the onboard toilets and much to the anger of pilots unions, attempting to apply for permission to have just one pilot per flight back in 2010.
O’Leary can be termed as greedy by many, but a marketing genius by others. He wants to grab attentions and be controversial, but the overriding message is that the airline is the cheapest airline to fly with, and importantly, Ryanair will get you there on time.
Ryanair has to be punctual to keep costs low
In 2018 Ryanair was the world’s most punctual airline with just 14% of their flights arriving more than 15 minutes late. Unlike many other airlines that are regularly delayed such as Easyjet in Europe, Ryanair have to run on a tight schedule to keep their costs as low as they can.
This is just one of the reasons why the airline currently has a pilots strike. They are run efficiently and at times ruthlessly, and that translates into the airline being one of the cheapest to fly. A Ryanair flight takes off every 45 seconds, and with a staggering 350,000 passengers using the carrier every day.
Ryanair works well delivering passengers from A to B, on time. Just don’t expect much assistance when things do go wrong. Again, you get what you pay for and everyone is drinking the same cool aid, saving money, until there are issues. It seems unfair to berate a product that clearly offers a frugal product when after the point of sale, passengers then expect more. You wouldn’t purchase a bike and expect to have a car delivered, and the same should hold true with transportation tickets.
For me, I believe they get the job done. Their business practices and staff compensation though is an entirely different topic. Stay tuned.