Ryanair: Taking Customer Hate To A New Level

Tuesday, March 3, 2009 9:22 | Filed in Technology, Travel

Now I hadn’t planned to mention Ryanair, because as far as I can tell, the whole Ryanair/blogger thing has already been covered in a great deal of detail and everyone already knows about it.

If for some reason you’d missed this, you may want to read this next section. But there was also another thing I noticed today which tipped me over the line to “oh, I gotta talk about Ryanair…”

Ryanair vs Blog

Right, well I’m just going to cover this briefly, as it’s been done in more detail elsewhere. A blogger, Jason Roe, blogged about a Ryanair bug online which he claimed could be used to book free flights. It appears this was incorrect — the process would fail further on down the line, but from what I understand, it did show up the flights as costing nothing at one stage at least, which to my mind is certainly a bug.

Ryanair employees — traced by means of the IP address of the computers they used to leave their comments — made some rather abusive comments on this guy’s blog:

[...] what self respecting developer uses a crappy CMS such as word press anyway AND puts they’re mobile ph number online, i suppose even a prank call is better than nothing on a lonely sat evening!! “Ryanair Staff #1″

Now disputing the bug would be fair enough: saying that while it may appear as zero-cost, you can’t actually book said flight, this is fine. This would show that Ryanair had considered it, determined that it was not a risk (maybe even saying politely that Jason had made a mistake) , and were professional enough to acknowledge it. Possibly even generating positive PR. But instead they chose to show their attitude and customer service standards by launching into a series of personal attacks…

[...] If you would work in your pathetic life on a such big project in a such busy environment with so little resources, you would know that the most important is to have usual user behavior scenarios [...] If I would be you I would think of consequences this can have.“Ryanair Staff #3″

As Jason Roe points out, this last comment sounds remarkably like a threat. Of course, by this point in time, many other bloggers had noticed how rude and unpleasant Ryanair staff were being and it was starting to be repeatedly commented upon, and mentioned in numerous other blog posts. You’ll find a lot of comments in the original, if you’re interested.

When Ryanair were contacted for confirmation that the quotes came from their staff…

“Ryanair can confirm that a Ryanair staff member did engage in a blog discussion. It is Ryanair policy not to waste time and energy in corresponding with idiot bloggers and Ryanair can confirm that it won’t be happening again,” it told The Times.

“Lunatic bloggers can have the blog sphere all to themselves as our people are far too busy driving down the cost of air travel”.

The Telegraph: Ryanair Calls Blogger Lunatic

It would therefore appear that Ryanair’s official policy over being held to account or criticised is no less offensive and vitriolic than that shown by individual employees.

Not surprisingly, this left a lot of people wondering whether the levels of customer disservice Ryanair actually offered were worth putting up with in order to save a few quid…

Ryanair Taking The Piss

And then they really started taking the piss…

Irish budget airline Ryanair has said it is considering charging passengers for using the toilet while flyingBBC News: Ryanair mulls charge for toilets

Someone from Which? Holiday suggests that this might reduce the number of people spending money on overpriced in-flight drinks, and says that this would serve Ryanair right.

This shows a complete lack of imagination. If you really want to “serve Ryanair right”, there’s a much simpler solution. Tell the staff you want to use the toilet. If they open the toilet for you, all well and good. If not, simply take a child’s potty that was previously in your luggage, and have a crap in there. And then just tuck it under the seats and allow the aroma to waft gently through the cabin — you would wash it out obviously, only you don’t have access to a sink…

I would dread to think how Ryanair would treat someone with an incontinence problem…

“Look mate, it’s your call. I’m not paying to use the toilet, but I will be, ahem, going through the motions in about three minutes. Where I do that is entirely your decision. I can do it in the toilet, or I can do it on the airline seat. If you’d rather have to get a specialist cleaning company in than let me use the toilet, that’s fine…”

It’s not that I would never fly Ryanair, but I’d certainly have a reluctance to do so, judging by the way that they treat customers, potential customers, their attitude towards bloggers, and the fact that rudeness seems to be a company policy.

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2 Comments to Ryanair: Taking Customer Hate To A New Level

  1. rimone says:

    March 4th, 2009 at 5:51 pm

    after the one time i flew Ryan, i vowed i’d never again and this clinches it. last Summer i used them from Bristol to Dublin then a few days later, tried to come home. not only did they shut the check-in desk five minutes early (before the stated time), but they PO’d a lot of others apart from me.

    we were all forced to pay an extra one-way fare back to Bristol or else stay over in Dublin to use our returns the next AM. now if i hadn’t cats at home or a job, i wouldn’t have minded that much. but i do and i did.

    at the time i assumed it was a really cheap shot; a way to squeeze extra money from us. there were ten, fifteen others who were turned away due to them shutting their check-in early and we were all waiting to book on the next flight (hoping there’d be room for us) so judging by what i was forced to pay, i assume Ryanair scammed an extra 800 Euros (at least).

    never again.

  2. Deborah Fink says:

    September 14th, 2009 at 11:04 pm

    Having recently had a bad experience with them, I googled ‘I hate Ryanair’ and this came up…..

    I booked a return flight online to Alghero, Sardinia because it was fairly cheap, (I had been there before in 2002 so it was not my first choice): £159.30, including checked in bag, web check-in and insurance. A page came up saying my booking was complete and there was a link to print this. I thought this was sufficient- it always had been in the past.

    I arrived at Stanstead airport 2 hours before my flight – unusual for me, and queued to put my luggage on. But on reaching the front of the queue I was told that I needed a boarding pass and ‘Can’t you read?’ the info to Ryanair passengers on the screen? My print-out was not enough and I needed to check in with the machines that had been installed there, (one wonders at what expense) and get a boarding pass. ‘I’ll have to queue again then’, I said. ‘That’s right’ she said, unsympathetically.

    So I typed in my details and discovered that I’d have to pay another £40. I refused to do this and queued up at the ticket desk to enquire. There I was asked, ‘Didn’t you read the ‘Very Important Information?’ ‘on my print-out. It said you needed a boarding pass, but I said, I thought this WAS a boarding pass. She said,’No, it’s confirmation’. I said it always used to be sufficient. ‘Well, things have changed’ she replied. I said that it didn’t tell me to do anything else and there was no link on the page to print out the pass, so she said, ‘You should have gone on the website’. ‘But I didn’t know’, I said. ‘It’s in the terms and conditions’ she said. I asked, couldn’t she print one out for me as I had already paid to check-in.’ No, we don’t have the facilities here’. Well, it’s funny that they have the facilities to change your flight and print other information. I asked, couldn’t they give me £40 so I could do this on the machine? ‘No’.

    Of course, I got angry and upset, to which the woman at the desk said, ‘Have you considered having anger management’. I said that she was sitting there smugly and no doubt enjoyed this sense of power. Meanwhile, another passenger was getting upset for similar reasons and had the added disadvantage of struggling with English.
    It seems that the philosophy of Ryanair is, the customer is always wrong – it’s always the customers fault but staff are allowed, maybe even encouraged, to give misleading and incomplete information.

    I then reluctantly went back to the machine and paid my extra £40. It seems that this boarding pass issue is a scam designed to catch customers out as it does not save any time other than to those who don’t put their luggage in the hold.

    I then queued again. I rely on my mobile phone for the time but it was in my bag, and I was exhausted, distressed and not thinking straight. By the time I got to the front of the queue I was told that it was too late to put my luggage on, but that as I didn’t have much, I might be able to take it on with me. So I went through to security and tried to decide what liquids to throw out, (you’re only allowed a small amount) and they then threw away my new bottle of suncream.

    I managed to get through security but had a long walk to the gates. There were no announcements or calls but on the screen it indicated that they were boarding. Alas, by the time I got there, the gates were closed but the aeroplane was still there. I told the man at the gates what had happened and asked him to talk to the airline staff but he stood there helplessly saying there was nothing he could do. This is ridiculous. Other airlines call their passengers. I remember when I flew to Israel (to go to Palestine), we had to change planes at Zurich (?) and my friend and I couldn’t find the gates so we were late, but they waited for us. Someone said that had they got my luggage on, they may have waited….I’m not so sure…..

    So I’d got rid of my suncream for nothing!

    Meanwhile, a Sardinian couple had also missed their flight. They told me that they were called but this didn’t make any difference.

    My options were to forget my holiday and loose the £216 I’d now paid, (including taxi to Stratford and National Express coach), or pay more to get another flight. Ryan air charges £100 to change flights and the next one to Sardinia was the next morning. I did not want to pay for another return coach fare and even less, wanted to loose another night’s sleep as it’s unhealthy, so I asked if I could go somewhere else, now. I was told it had to be Italy – Rome or Pescara. I chose the latter as I’ve been to Rome.

    Just as I was getting to the gates I suddenly realised that I’d not asked about my return, (of course, the man who sold me the ticket didn’t mention it). The lady at the gates told me to look on the website where it says, ‘Manage my account’ and it should be on there…..

    When I eventually got internet access, I saw that my return flight was still from Sardinia. Did they really expect me to get a train to the West coast of Italy (to Rome, I think- I was on the Adriatic side), a ferry to the East coast of Sardinia, and then a bus or two or three to Alghero, (North West coast)? Of course, thinking doesn’t come into it – this was a computer. There didn’t seem to be a way of changing it online so the next day, I had the added expense of telephoning Ryanair. It is expensive enough without phoning from a mobile, over seas. Lo and behold, the Ryanair employee told me there was nothing she could do and I’d have to pay another £100 for my return flight. The fact that I’d not been told was irrelevant, as usual. I could not be sure that going to Sardinia would have been cheaper, (probably not if I flew and I doubt there would have been a direct flight) and it would certainly have wasted a day of my holiday getting there – the ferry probably takes at least 10 hours. In any case, by the time I’d found out, I may have lost this flight and would have had to ring Ryanair again. As it was, I couldn’t go back the day I’d intended to and chose the next day as I didn’t want to shorten my holiday.

    So what had started as a £160 flight was now £400, for which I could have had luxury accommodation, or flown to Thailand, India, etc……Rest assured that I will be writing to Ryanair for a refund and compensation and if it doesn’t work, (which it probably won’t), I will write to Trading Standards and consider taking legal action, maybe with others. There could be a way round it – there is the 1997 unfair contracts law.

    I’ve pasted on a petiton I found.

    Deborah Fink

    “Why it’s time to boycott Ryanair”

    hosted on the web by our free online petition service, at:


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