In an somewhat stunning about face, the CEO of Ryanair, Michael O’Leary has said he will stop the airline doing things that ‘p*ss’ passengers off.
His exact word, with an * to prevent bad language filters blocking the distribution of Plane Talking on the web.
Given the adoration in which Ryanair and O’Leary is held within Jetstar managements since Magda Szubanski lent it a brief flourish of humor and class when it was launched in 2004, the hope is that it might see fit to copy this conversion to good natured decency in customer relations as it also deals with tough realities like falling sales and being undercut by its parent Qantas whenever the yield managers think Alan Joyce isn’t watching.
It is a tough time for airlines world wide, and much tougher in Europe than in Australia, so the old fashioned concept that being nice to people rather than abusive is good for business might actually take root.
In this story in the UK’s The Telegraph O’Leary tells shareholders at Friday’s annual company meeting in Dublin that “We should try to eliminate things that unnecessarily p*ss people off”.
Ryanair is infamous for fining customers with carry on luggage that is microns wider than the permitted dimensions in any direction, excess baggage charges way out of line with competitors and a £70 penalty for those that turn up at the gate without a self printed boarding pass legible to the company’s code readers.
In the UK and Euro media, it seems to have been at war with its customers for more than a decade, while using its offering of very low fares and fast non-hub delayed flights between secondary cities to grow into becoming Europe’s largest and most profitable yet solely regional airline.
Now that times are tough and travel numbers are falling for all airlines, Ryanair is going to try to be ‘nice’.
It will be nice if it works.