Ryan air sucks – the great rip off in the sky

July 1, 2009

So this blog is designed to do to Ryan Air what Jeff Jarvis and his blog about Dell sucking did. The short story is that Jeff bought a Dell with the extended ‘at home’ warranty. When it went wrong he called and called and the people there said it would be cheaper for him to send it back to them as when the guys turned up they probably wouldn’t have the parts and would have to take it back.

Infuriated by this Jeff started the blog post as an open invitation to Dell as to why they should take notice of bloggers blogging about their brand. He urged everyone who read to start a blog and link ‘Dell Sucks’ to his blog post or link to it from an existing website or blog. One of the ways in which Google works out page rank is by the anchor text, which are the words which appear to be linked. The more websites which use the same anchor text and link to the same page, the more Google gives that page credence and thus is rises in organic search results. After a while and a few hundred links into the blog post, the Dell Sucks article was on the same page as Dell.com in Google even when a user just searched for ‘Dell’. Eventually Michael Dell saw it and acted upon Jeff’s recommendations and ordered his VPs to start blogging and also told customer services people to start reading users’ gripes on their blogs and try to fix their problems, one at a time. Then a funny thing happened. The negative blog posts started to dwindle and in their place came positive ones thus turning bad PR into great PR. Simple.

So after my recent experience at the hands of Ryan Air, this is an experiment to see if we can’t get old Michael O’Learyto do the same. Given my experience, I doubt it but if it damages the brand sufficiently that people stop flying and choose other airlines instead, that’ll do for me.

My father recently finished a building project in Italy and this year we had the first family holiday in the new house. The house is in San Venanzo in the Marche region. We have a baby boy and therefore much more luggage requirement than on previous trips. As with most other budget airlines you have to pay for the priviledge of having a baby on your lap although this does include the car seat and buggy – other than that they get no luggage allowance. We checked in and between us our bags were 14 kilos overweight. Yes, I should have read the small print, yes I was naive, however 15 kilos per bag is an unreasonably low allowance, given that most bags weigh around 4 kilos to start with and that the bag zipped up easily enough. We weren’t carrying gold bullion either. Just clothes and baby stuff.

Ryan Air charge £15 PER KILO overweight. They do this per bag so even if one bag was 2 kilos underweight and another 2 over, they still charge for the bag which is too heavy.

My argument is that I could be obese with hand luggage and not pay an extra penny. That said, they are investigating the legality of making overweight people pay more.

We had the change the flight back by a day early to come back for a christening and they charged £140.

In total, to fly albeit with slightly heavier luggage and returning a day earlier cost over half as much as the original 9 flights my parents paid for.

Next year they are going to make us ‘spend a pound, to spend a penny’. Not content with coming up with something so unbelievably outrageous, they’ve gone and made a strap line for it!

At the airport there is a handy Ryan Air luggage weighing machine, a nice touch as it allows you to see how much extra you’ll have to pay. YOU HAVE TO PAY TO USE THE SCALES!!!!!!!!!!!!

A cup of tea is £2.95 and a horrible sandwich is £5.95. There are no staff to help at the airport and those at the kiosk all told me that the policy was unfair and all looked pretty p*ssed off.

Michael O’Leary has said that his service is purely a ‘bus in the sky’, however other budget airlines such as Easyjetmanage to treat passengers as humans and not cattle. Stelios enjoys fantastic PR, as does Branson. O’Leary is universally vilified for being a ripoff merchant.

Most people would rather see an all inclusive fare, one which doesn’t grab headlines but tells it like it is.

Unfortunately the house in Italy is closest to Ancona airport and my parents have flown Ryan Air everytime they’ve visited to check progress over the last 5 years. However, we all decided that from now on, we won’t shlep round the M25 to Stanstead. Instead we’ll fly Gatwick to Rome or Bologna and drive the extra hour or two the other side.

So Michael, you have lost 2 fairs at least 3 times a year plus their guests and the rest of our family.

In order for this blog to make any difference whatsoever (and I quite prepared for it not to!), we need links in to it.

If you have a blog or website all you need to do is to link the words ‘Ryan Air sucks’ to this post. The more links in the more likely it is to have an impact in search engines.