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aviation

Mar 26, 2013

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Offical photo of Michael O'Leary conducting media conference

Ryanair has bailed out of any plans for cheap trans Atlantic flights, and in the process, ‘forgotten’ its CEO Michael O’Leary’s long standing promise that they would include free blow jobs for higher paying customers.

There is no reference to either O’Leary or his notorious promise given at a German press conference in 2008 in the latest, and it seems final, story about Ryanair flying between Europe and the US.

The You Tube below shows the part of the media briefing in which O’Leary promises free blow jobs in the proposed services expensive business class boudoire, or expensive blow jobs in its cheap €10 one way economy fare.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UfIY24BErBE[/youtube]

The young lady translating O’Leary for some of the media present struggles to find the German words and the Ryanair CEO makes an observation about the state of German sex lives that ensured massive publicity for the low fare carrier in its media, in which Ryanair has waged war with straight laced Lufthansa over services within Europe for more than 10 years.

At the time Ryanair basked in the notoriety, as shown on this archive of its on line news service.

On a more serious level, Ryanair has been slow to acknowledge that long haul routes don’t work with the low fare model that has made it Europe’s largest and most profitable intra-European airline, with similar ambitions being abandoned or rejected in recent years by easyJet, JetBlue and AirAsiaX.

There have also been signs that Ryanair itself is moving away from the earlier shock tactics of its long time CEO, which perhaps means it is moving apart from Mr O’Leary himself.

aviation

Mar 20, 2013

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Michael O'Leary, pensive: PR photo

Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary has again turned a company announcement into a world wide media event, this time by described the 787 grounding as ‘regulatory crap’ while confirming an order for 175 current model 737-800s.

Why is this being reported here, in Australian, as far from O’Leary and his low fare high fee carrier as geographically possible?

Well, we can confirm that Jeremy Clarkson, the similarly ‘outrageously’ outspoken Top Gear host, was not reported doing anything anywhere at the same time O’Leary was speaking in New York, which adds to the evidence that Clarkson and O’Leary are either the same person, or closely related.

Jeremy Clarkson on BBC TV suggesting striking airport workers be shot in front of their families

OK, maybe not. O’Leary has the same magnetic attraction to the media as Joh Bjelke Petersen had when he was Queensland premier.  You only had to roll up, roll tapes, and seek a response to an everyday topic, and the result was a story guaranteed to make headlines, and cause widespread offense or controversy.

In recent months O’Leary has lashed out at seat belts in aircraft, since we are all going to die in a crash, and excoriated the plane makers, Boeing included, for not giving away their jets for free (or very cheaply)  or at least recertifying them for standing room passengers, and blasted passengers charged around $100 for turning up for his flights without a printed boarding pass as stupid.

Clarkson, or O'Leary, engaged in sensitive social media commentary

But, O’Leary is not just clever, and media savvy, but pertinent. His airline makes a fortune out of doing things which the ‘dinosaur’ carriers like British Airways, Air France KLM and Lufthansa don’t do very well at all, which is connecting millions of Europeans with cheap, non-stop, no-frills flights that are in most cases, a fraction of the cost and time taken on the legacy carriers that insist on dragging everyone through hell hubs. Like Heathrow, or Frankfurt,  in particular.

And this morning’s interview, which you need to watch to hear words that some reports are not putting up in text, O’Leary also says totally sane things about the Cyprus banking crisis, from where Ryanair is turning away passengers carrying suitcases full of Euros as they try to flee with their savings.

He is totally off the page when it comes to the 787 issues, but he does know how to run a very useful, yet totally unlovable airline.  And he could be Jeremy Clarkson.

aviation

Jan 20, 2013

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air safety

Jan 4, 2013

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The opening frame of the Dutch TV program that has Ryanair suing The Sun

Ryanair is suing The Sun in the UK after it repeated claims made on a Dutch TV program that its fuel policies were a risk to the safety of flight.

There is no doubt that if the case is brought to trial Ryanair will also win a verdict, and thus damages, from the British media giant, setting up what might become a classic illustration of the dangers of defaming people or companies on line, whether anonymously or as an identified source.

The case arose after a spike in the number of instances of Ryanair flights declaring fuel emergencies last year in its European services, including three on the one stormy day over Spain, and claims in various forums and other public media that its pilots were being intimidated into carrying only the minimum fuel needed to legally conduct a trip between two cities in good weather conditions.

However by definition Ryanair wasn’t doing anything that was either unsafe or illegal, and the The Sun as a consequence is in all sorts of bother.

A fair summary of the allegations, the truth of the regulatory obligations Ryanair was meeting in full, and its own apparently benevolent indulgence of pilots seeking to load more than minimum fuel when they judge this to be necessary, is published this week by the MailOnLine, just possibly with a sense of relish at the pickle its competitor The Sun is now in.

Seen from here, the whole issue is a reminder that important discussions about such things as fuel policies need to be mindful as to whether the airline, or safety regulator, is conforming to the law, or the intent of the law in what they respectively do or require the operators to do.

The best way to do this is to report legally privileged documents such as those generated in submissions to Parliamentary inquiries or in ATSB reports.

The current row is different from that involving Ryanair and the Aviation Herald, which involved the latter reporting an inquiry into a Ryanair approach to an airport in Germany by that country’s aviation safety authority.  Ryanair got that all wrong, and withdrew its threats of legal action against the small aviation safety site.

And Ryanair has never expressed any displeasure with Plane Talking suggesting that its CEO Michael O’Leary may have gone bonkers, since we have the photos, and a portfolio of reports and videos of bizarre press conferences in which the ‘aviation antichrist’ has done everything possible to persuade the media that he is in fact insane, or vulgar, or whatever else it takes to generate as much publicity for the low fare high fee carrier as possible.

We have questioned why Ryanair should do such things when in fact it is outstandingly useful and thus successful in connecting dozens of European city pairs with non-stop flights that are much faster than the services dinosaurs like British Airways, Air France and Lufthansa offer through their major hubs for more than twice the flying time and several times the price (but with lower or zero cost extras.)

Which means we will continue to question the ‘lunacy’ while hoping it continues.

aviation

Nov 9, 2012

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Michael O'Leary at a press conference in Germany

The evidence that Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary may be insane continues to grow, this time with his denunciation of seats belts and a call for standing room zones on aircraft.

His comments in this interview are not in one sense new.

But the tone has deteriorated to new lows, especially at the level of personal and vulgar insults aimed at his customers, airport owners, government officials, safety authorities and Airbus and Boeing, neither of whom appear prepared to give away their airliners for free and thus are included in growing list of the ‘enemies’ of the Ryanair business model, which is to redistribute things taken for nothing from others and package them up for a price to air travellers.

O’Leary’s antics belie his knowledge of aviation, including the consequences for an airliner like the 737-800 Ryanair uses, which is certified to carry no-more than 189 passengers seated, when the load would be increased beyond those limits by standing passengers to a point where some airports with short runways could no longer be legally accessed by the carrier.

His now somewhat hysterically delivered demands on Boeing and Airbus require a total redesign of such things as emergency exits, cabin air ducts and emergency oxygen systems in their single aisle jets and the flight testing and certification of the changes, all at very substantial costs.

The dilemma for observers of Ryanair is that the airline is very good at connecting dozens of neglected city pairs in Europe and the UK with time saving non-stop flights for a fraction of the fare charged by legacy carriers like Lufthansa, British Airways and Air France, for services that take two to three times as long because they require connections at major hub airports.

Ryanair is one of the great airline success stories, but run by a figurehead who looks and sounds increasingly mad or desperate.

A portfolio of photos of O’Leary simulating indecent acts with models of Ryanair 737s or otherwise making a total fool of himself can be found here.

Uncategorized

Jan 26, 2012

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The Boeing supplied Norwegian trophy shot from Wednesday

To the casual distant observer the notion that Norwegian will have 200 brand new single aisle jets in service within 10 years suggests that the entire population of the Viking nation will be in the stratosphere at the same time, but it’s not really like that at all.

Norwegian is the brand name of Norwegian Air Shuttle, and it is the third largest low cost carrier in Europe, after Ryanair and easyJet, and it has just delighted and shocked Boeing in the space of 24 hours.

The Norwegian of today is an all Boeing operator with until Wednesday 62 assorted 737s in service and another 84 on order, including a small number of 787 Dreamliners.

On Wednesday it ordered 100 Boeing 737 MAX new technology engined single aisle jets for delivery from 2017, making what Boeing headlined as the biggest airliner order in European history.

The Airbus Norwegian trophy shot from today

And today it ordered 100 Airbus A320 NEOs, for delivery from 2016, which means that it is even more the biggest-airliner-order-in etc,  but not the way Boeing might have thought 24 hours earlier.

This is the second such splitting of a very large order, in this case worth about $21 billion, for new engine technology jets between Airbus and Boeing by a major airline, the first being last year’s order from both manufacturers by American Airlines, not long before it filed for bankruptcy, which allows it to renege on all sorts of existing leases to clear the decks for the nice new gleaming machines from the two rival jet makers, if it still has any money left.

What is fascinating is where this leaves Michael O’Leary, the loud mouthed pay-to-pee CEO of Ryanair, who needs at least 200 new jets soon to replace current generation 737-800s that for all their efficiency, will look like fuel guzzlers when the new engine designs fall into the hands of his competitors, taking away much of his cost advantage.

O’Leary keeps threatening to turn his fleet Chinese or Russian to get new jets, making unsubtle hints that he wants Airbus and Boeing to pay him to actually take their jets off them in return for the dazzling brilliance that will illuminate their days forever for having his airline accept their product, with pay toilets and standing room only of course.

Given the problems that Airbus and Boeing now face banking the sales deposits fast enough, and meeting existing orders this side of 2020, Mr O’Leary may just have to buy Russian or Chinese jets after all.

Uncategorized

Dec 1, 2011

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Most observers would agree that Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary uses crude words and acts the clown, but his airline is enormously successful and relevant, and this makes his opinions seriously newsworthy.

When he was in China earlier this week, looking at the COMAC c919, which is intended to be a new-technology replacement for current Boeing 737s and Airbus A320s, he managed to heap praise on it while simultaneously dissing it as a ‘glorified A320’ and predicted the demise of several of the new global middle east carriers.

There are two stories in the Wall Street Journal which appear in full without a paywall when searched for under Google News, here and here, so if you have a problem with either link, just copy the headline in full or part into your favorite search engine to read them.

The reports are aimed at a general public readership rather than those into the finer details, but if they were written for airline focused readers the following points would be more sharply made:

  • Only one global ME airline will survive out of Emirates, Etihad, Qatar Airways and Gulf. (Um, who could that be?)
  • He is no longer interested in doing a low cost two class trans Atlantic carrier this side of 2016 or 2017
  • He doesn’t think the c919 cuts it as a brilliant new 180 seats plus airliner, but it is useful for putting pricing pressure on Airbus and Boeing, who know he is worth at least 200 of their single aisle products as a total replacement order for Ryanair’s current fleet of Boeing 737-800s.

 

Uncategorized

Feb 11, 2011

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Following the incident in which 100 unruly Belgian students were thrown off a Ryanair flight in the Canary Islands on February 7 after rioting over excess baggage fees Ryanair has sent them a YouTube tutorial on how to pack a  carry on bag with enough clothes for a two week holiday.

Ryanair allows one carry on bag weighing less than 10 kgs per passenger for free and thanks to readers FlyLo, Joey and John Kirkham for pointing out that this works, creaselessly too, for Jetstar and Tiger.

Follow this link, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=klNLqDpdYLI , to see the video
Follow this link, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=klNLqDpdYLI , to see the video

The video is set to backing music from the Benny Hills comedy show, and the airline has also called on Belgian universities to provide tutorials to their students on how to respect resort hotel rules, refrain from spitting at people, and be good Belgians.

It issued this press release:

“Ryanair is today calling on Belgian universities to ensure no further embarrassing international episodes when their students travel abroad by providing them with an online tutorial in how to pack light. This tutorial will allow these students to comply with the airline policies they accept when booking a flight.

While this tutorial will avoid any unpleasant situations for students, airlines and fellow passengers, these universities should also address the media reports that their students damaged hotel accommodation and were a general menace to other holiday makers, by developing further tutorials such as ‘how to respect hotel rules’.

Thankfully the unacceptable actions by this small group of students are not indicative of the behaviour of the many millions of university students from Belgium and elsewhere that travel with Ryanair every year.”

Of course this means that Ryanair CEO, Michael O’Leary, fondly known as the ‘antichrist’ by legacy airlines, can now add ‘mother’ to his terms of endearment.

Uncategorized

Jan 18, 2011

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Jetstar this morning claimed to be announcing low fare flights between Singapore and Hangzhou (Shanghai) from March 22, which is as misleading as Ryanair CEO, Michael O’Leary, claiming infamously that its flights to Frankfurt (Hahn) were going to the real German metropolis and not to a strip 150 kilometres away in a peculiarly benighted part of Germany in terms of  slow and inconvenient bus links.

Hangzhou is a fine destination in its own right, but it is also about 190 kilometres from Shanghai, depending on which part of that massive city you are aiming for.  Its airport is also 27 kilometres from Hangzhou and its new 45 minutes 202 kilometres long high speed rail service to a Shanghai station which is itself quite a metro trip away from some of the attractions and main hotels of that incredible city.

The estimated road time direct from Hangzhou Airport to the Bund in Shanghai is between three and three and a half hours on China travel guide sites, which probably means at midnight.

The Jetstar press release pushes the high speed rail link as if it was convenient to the airport,  which it isn’t, and calls Hangzhou a Shanghai airport, which is nonsense.

It’s like Jetstar deciding to start flights to Goulburn and calling that a service to Sydney, when it is 197 kilometres short of the full trip.

Why Jetstar should try to trick up Hangzhou as a gateway to Shanghai is the more puzzling considering it is in its own right, a terrific destination in China, and has all sorts of heavy industrial and manufacturing attractions for Australian business travellers, which is why from Thursday it will be linked by a Hainan Airlines full service flight to Sydney via Shenzhen.

Hainan will get you to Hangzhou many hours faster than Jetstar can with its connections from Melbourne over Singapore and commands a large intra-China network with frequent connections from both Hangzhou and Shenzhen.

Uncategorized

Jul 23, 2010

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The test Boeing says the 787 doesn't need, as done on an A380
The test Boeing says the 787 doesn't need, as done on an A380

Boeing is saying strange things about the 787 from a passenger safety point of view as it evades a critically important test that might impede its rush to achieve certification by the end of the year.

This part of an article which has appeared in Flight International also quotes Boeing as saying the 787-8 has an evacuation limit of 250 passengers, which is likely to cause either hilarity or heart attacks in Jetstar, which is planning to take delivery from June 2012 of eight of them each fitted with 313 seats.

FARNBOROUGH: 767 similarities allow Boeing to duck Dreamliner evacuation trial
By Max Kingsley-Jones

Boeing is finalising the last elements of the 787’s certification programme as it targets a year-end first delivery, but will not be required to run a cabin evacuation trial demonstration.

Because of the cabin’s similarity in configuration and size to its predecessor, the 767, Boeing is able to qualify 787-8’s exit limit maximum of 250 passengers through analysis, says the twinjet programme’s vice-president and general manger Scott Fancher. “As long as you can show equivalency based on the number and size of doors, number of seats, pitch of seats, you can do it by analysis of data from the 767.”

Fancher says that some elements of the evacuation system will need to be demonstrated for certification, such as slide deployment, and proper door, lighting and annunciation operation.

Of course, this could all be a huge misunderstanding, and the 787-8s will pass a physical passenger evacuation test of 313 passengers plus crew exiting through half the exits in 90 seconds OR Boeing will have to redesign the 787-8 for an evacuation limit of at least 313 passengers.

The former is more likely.

36 seconds gone as 873 people try to escape an A380 in 90 seconds
36 seconds gone as 873 people try to escape an A380 in 90 seconds

Some serious questions need to be asked however about Boeing’s short cutting really critical tests to get the 787 out of the factory door to its customers from the end of this year.

A 787 is not like a 767 inside. The main cabin seats are nine across not seven. The average distances of each passenger to an aisle is thus higher. The distances between various seats and the exits are different. The height above the ground of the exits is not quite the same.

78 seconds. All 873 outside A380, one injured.
78 seconds. All 873 passenger and crew are outside A380, one injured.

In the physical evacuation test according to international standards, the maximum number of passengers specified is seated in a darkened cabin. The independent assessors do not tell the flight crew which half of the main doors and overwing exits will be deployed in advance. The flight crew then has to ensure that every single person in a roster of volunteers which includes a realistic proportion of obese and elderly body types is out of the jet within 90 seconds.

The evacuation is videoed from multiple cameras, with 40 infra-red records made of the A380 test as shown.

The capacity of the crew to be heard in the panic is assessed. Any unusual problems with particular doors or exits in terms of passenger pressure is noted. Airliners often fail this test the first time, and the tests usually result in minor injuries, occasionally even broken legs or arms to the volunteers.

Evacuation limit certification tests are very important. They should not be relegated to ‘simulations’. And the 787-8 will surely need to be tested to the 313 passenger level or beyond before it enters service with Jetstar, because it will carry more passengers than its A330-200s, and around 25% more passengers than any 767 in service with Qantas.

Here is a complete YouTube of the A380 test, the safety test Boeing says can be left to ‘simulation’ in a Dreamliner, and worse than that, in one that is assumed to carry 63 people less than Jetstar will squeeze on board.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_gqWeJGwV_U&NR=1[/youtube]

Uncategorized

Apr 14, 2010

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With reports coming in that Boeing has told Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary it won’t remove toilets from its 737s just so he can charge a ‘pee fee’ for using one remaining toilet an Angry Flyer has found this two year old story from an unidentified US newspaper sending up a fictitious American Airlines plan to raise new fees.

FORT WORTH, TX—Cash-strapped American Airlines announced a new series of fees this week that will apply to all customers not currently flying, scheduled to fly, or even thinking about flying aboard the commercial carrier.

American Airlines has promised never to raise its fees for not printing a boarding pass.

The fees, the latest introduced by American Airlines in a continuing effort to combat its financial woes, will take effect on Monday. According to company officials, these charges will include a $25 tax on citizens traveling with any other airline, as well as a mandatory $30 surcharge for passengers who decide to just stay home for the holidays instead.

“Tough times unfortunately mean tough measures,” American Airlines president Gerard Arpey said. “It’s never an easy decision to ask our loyal customers, as well as thousands of people chosen at random out of a telephone book, to pay a little extra, but that’s just the reality of today’s economic climate. We hope all Americans will understand this when receiving one of our new bills in the mail.”

Arpey said that non-passengers of American Airlines should expect to pay a small fee when making Greyhound bus reservations, choosing to drive to their final destination, or simply being a citizen of the United States with a valid Social Security number.

Arpey went on to note that some additional charges would also apply, including a $15 fee for every piece of luggage customers have inside their bedroom closet, and a one-time payment of $40 for any American whose name is Greg.

“We are confident that these new measures will not discourage customers from flying with American Airlines,” vice president Margaret Wilkinson said. “However, we’d like to remind our customers that there is a ‘discouraged-from-flying-with-American-Airlines’ charge if they do in fact choose not to fly with us.”

American Airlines, which posted a $1.45 billion loss in the second quarter of 2008 alone, claimed that the new fees—including the Taking A Shower Fee, the Knowing What An Airplane Looks Like Fee, and the Eating E.L. Fudge Cookies While Watching A Rerun Of House Fee—will help the company rebound. According to internal projections, the airline will recoup $500 million in the next three months alone, with nearly 80 percent of that revenue coming from citizens asleep at home.

Uncategorized

Apr 11, 2010

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And he is making more money than most Euro carriers can see in their dreams
And he is making more money than most Euro carriers can see in their dreams

Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary is trying to frighten the piss out of his customers again, giving new life to the perennial riddle as to whether or not he actually hates them.

The latest story, dated April 6 in the UK media, appears to be based on an article in the edition of its in flight advertising magazine which was newly in circulation around about April 1.

Micahel O'Leary (right) hamming it up for the media
Micahel O'Leary (right) hamming it up for the media

This quickly gained a few variations in the volumes of free publicity slash media loathing gushing through the press. Not only would the pay toilet door be so sophisticated it would open for either a one pound slash one euro coin (which are different in size and weight) but two of the existing three toilets, the ones at the rear of the 189 seat Boeing 737-800s used by Ryanair and all 737 operators would be ‘removed’.

This was justified as necessary ‘potty training’ for the public, so that they would learn to use the ‘loo before they flew, in the terminals. And it was of course claimed to help in further reducing costs, something that doesn’t quite ring true given the drinking habits of the lager louts encountered on some airline flights who would would either have to stop paying the airline several times the pub price for a drink, or continue drinking and suffer consequent renal distress causing them to urinate all over the inside of the jet, because Mr or Mrs Senile Geriatric is taking too long in the dunny or can’t actually find their way out of it.

Think about it. Out of 189 passengers, four flight attendants and two pilots,they have maybe 40-60 minutes level flight time on typical Ryanair routes in which to relieve themselves. At 5 minutes a visit, that’s 8-12 relieved passengers or one third as many as previously, and a lot of aversion training when it comes to taking another Ryanair flight.

Someone in Ryanair is also reported to have said that by removing the two ‘surplus’ toilets at the rear (the other is near the cockpit), it could squeeze in another six seats.

‘Squeeze’ is an appropriate term. The 737 begins to taper at the location of the rear toilets. These would be a notably narrower as well as windowless sets of seats.

But this is where things get difficult. The maximum certified passenger load of a 737-800 is 189 seats. If you want more you have to redesign the doors and hatches at least in part and then recertify the modifications. This is neither a cheap nor fast process. And those additional seats would need an extension of the emergency oxygen supply system, and some mucking about with the wiring and ducts located in the wall panels in that area.

And even if Ryanair is not planning to put extra seats where the two rear loos used to be, any non-standard modification would impair the value of the jet, either if owned, or leased, as there would be a rather small market among other airlines to acquire the use of an RD or renal distress version of the otherwise popular Boeing model.

O’Leary may be a clown but he’s no fool. If he can persuade Boeing that they will come out of this ahead, it might happen.

But the puzzle remains. Why does O’Leary seem to set out to discourage customers? Is the free publicity really worth it?

The ‘real’ Ryanair is not the monster his antics make it appear to be. It is an incredibly useful and profitable network of time saving non-stop flights between locations the lumbering legacy carriers of Europe fail to adequately connect.

For tens of millions of people a year Ryanair is not just the fastest way between two points, because it avoids the horrors of connecting at major hub airports, but is also by a huge margin, the cheapest way of doing this.

Making it hard for these customers to take a leak seems like an incredibly perverse way to encourage them to come back, if in fact O’Leary really intends to do this.

Thinks...can't we run them with just one engine?
Thinks...can't we run them with just one engine?

Uncategorized

Jan 20, 2010

5 comments

It says something about the difference between legacy and low cost airline managements when Air NZ has to spend big bucks to deliberately cause controversy and Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary always gets it for free.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-zG7LejcRm4[/youtube]

The ‘cougar’ ad that caused so much sham offence in New Zealand has now been pulled in response to public outrage. All of which was almost certainly manufactured by the marketers behind it, who won millions of dollars worth of free media exposure amid the outpourings of indignation.

But Ryanair CEO, Michael O’Leary only has to craft a throwaway line into an interview, and mention charging passengers a pound for a pee, and the British and euro media fall over themselves to make the carrier, currently Europe’s most profitable, even richer.

Of course, most PR is about free exposure in the media, closely followed by damage control. The free stuff only works if it is reasonably funny. The NZ cougar ad was a bit laborious, but fell over the line here anyhow.

Uncategorized

Jul 7, 2009

5 comments

Air travel anti-Christ and CEO of Ryanair, Michael O’Leary overlooks two realities in his pursuit of standing room flights.

1. Filling a 737 with passengers standing upright and strapped to a ‘bar stool’ would exceed the certified emergency evacuation load limit by as many as 90 passengers, and require re-certification and possibly an extra set of exits, which would be very, very expensive, and

2. Even in a low speed accident, or sudden braking, legs could be broken, or ripped out of their sockets, a risk that could make Ryanair uninsurable, and unsaleable.

O’Leary’s increasingly bizarre suggestions, including blow jobs for passengers, and his p*ss take about charging passengers to use the toilets, suggest he is losing it.

Uncategorized

May 14, 2009

5 comments

Ryanair has found new ways to shake down its customers with a £5 fee for printing their own tickets at home, and which is unavoidable, as it is also shutting down all of its check-in desks.

In addition it will fine passengers £40 at the airport if they turn up without it, by charging that amount as a ‘boarding card re-issue fee.’

All of which proves that while its CEO Michael O’Leary was joking earlier this year about charging a £1 pee fee (solids included) to unlock coin operated toilet doors on Ryanair jets he will find ways of gouging a few extra quid or euros from the public right up to the point where mass riots break out in the terminals.

The burning question here is whether Australian carriers will be inspired by the anti-Christ of air travel to invent even more fees of their own.

Already on Tiger there is an inconvenient ‘convenience fee’ of $5 for paying with a credit card on-line, which is the only way payment can be made, as well as an optional seat selection fee, a meal fee, and the least competitive baggage fees in the domestic market.

Jetstar has a reverse fee, in that you can travel without checked luggage for a lower fare, but if you turn up at the counter wearing three sets of clothing, walking boots and two handbags you will not only look like an idiot, and require a seat belt extension, but get charged extra for anything deemed to be in excess of the carry on limit, or is that the carrying on limit.

And Jetstar also has fees for better seats, and meals, if it remembers to load them on to its flights.

Virgin Blue has a Ryanairesque checked baggage fee of $8 if you pay on line, or $20 if you pay at the airport, and $8 per extra kilo above a 23 kilo limit.

Qantas is generally fee-less for most domestic flyers, unless you turn up looking like a Himalayan porter and think you are going to get away with using six overhead bins to store your carry-on luggage.

On a more serious note, these extras on domestic flights are a headache for business travellers or their account managers because they each contain a GST component, and may also be tax deductible, and add to the number of items that need to be tracked and reconciled by the software programs often used to manage travel and entertainment expenditure.

Uncategorized

Feb 28, 2009

5 comments

It says much about how daft the British media and the UK in general has become in these times when Michael O’Leary, the rude, crude and hugely successful chief executive of Ryanair, p*sses on them again from a great height.

On Friday O’Leary made a supposedly off hand comment on the BBC about how in the future Ryanair might put a coin operated lock on the doors of the toilets to raise extra cash.

Since then po faced expert after expert has been on British news shows ponderously discussing the negative societal consequences of the ‘unbundling’ of air travel charges, whether or not the fee-for-a-pee could have a beneficial effect in reducing global warming because it could encourage the weaker bladdered jet setters to become more infrequent as well as incontinent fliers and thus save 100,000 tons of carbon emissions per second per passenger per trip, and so forth.

Britain has become such a petty minded and humourless nanny state that it is surprising the travel industry isn’t doing a roaring trade in ‘lighten up your life’ holiday packages to Singapore, but let’s not digress too far.

Michael O’Leary was taking the p*ss out of the British yet again in another calculated move to keep Ryanair in the news for free. Even his own spokesperson was officially suggesting it might have been ‘another p*ss take ‘ a few hours later, but the gormless fools of Fleet Street (well, what used to be Fleet Street) keep grinding out stories dripping with learned indignation about O’Leary and Ryanair.

O’Leary doesn’t care who he offends to capture the shallow end of the media. In recent years that has included sending up the previous Pontiff, ridiculing the ‘excessive’ demands of the handicapped, and promising free blow jobs for passengers in the dirt cheap business class cabin he was contemplating offering on a trans Atlantic service, but which in the financial crisis that hit hard only weeks later, suddenly ceased to be one of Ryanair’s immediate objectives.

Offending people, and charging them for all sorts of things passengers on the over priced (and struggling) legacy carriers like British Airways or SAS or Lufthansa take for granted, is a black art practised to perfection by Ryanair, and spoken about with moist eyed admiration by the management of such pale imitations as Jetstar, Tiger and AirAsiaX. Only Ryanair would ask Boeing to look at fitting its seats with flip up plastic lid mechanisms or leaving out the window shades to save weight. But it succeeds because only Ryanair bothers to serve a whole range of secondary airports in Europe with genuinely useful non-stop flights to other cities that the legacy carriers either ignore, or grudgingly accommodate with outrageously overpriced multi stop flights that go through truly bastardisingly inconvenient hubs like London Heathrow or Frankfurt Main.

We can be confident O’Leary is not going to charge for a pee because he did after all rule out holding an in-flight lottery a few years ago in which one elderly passenger per flight would be ejected at altitude in order to reduce fuel consumption and prevent the polar ice caps from melting. The chuck-out-a-granny lottery was actually a spoof that did not for once originate within O’Leary’s wicked mind, but even then it was also breathlessly carried by some of the main stream media for several hours before the..er…penny dropped.