Ryan air sucks – the great rip off in the sky

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.

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11 Responses to “Ryan air sucks – the great rip off in the sky”

  1. flash-player Says:

    Perfect!

  2. Juan Says:

    Hi,

    We created a page for “Ryan Air sucks” => http://amplicate.com/sucks/ryanair

    Please link to it if you want to help to be heard.

    Let me know if you have any suggestion,

    cheers,

    Juan
    Amplicate

  3. Stephen Says:

    James, the only difference between you and Jeff Jarvis is that you have no actual complaint with Ryanair. You got exactly what you paid for, and Ryanair kept their contract with you. It’s not the fault of Ryanair that you checked-in more baggage than they told you you could, or that you had to change your plans at short notice. It’s not their fault you can’t work out that taking 2kg from one bag and putting it in another will save you £30. It’s not their fault that you believe every headline grabbing publicity stunt they come up with is for real and it’s certainly not their fault if you don’t read the conditions of your fare before you agree to them.

    • jamesfernie Says:

      You’re 100% correct, well done for pointing out the obvious. My point, Stephen is that companies don’t have to be this way. They can make money AND provide decent customer services like Easyjet. If you ask people if they’d rather see the TOTAL cost and any extras laid out clearly than a much cheaper headline price with hidden extras I believe they’d prefer the first version. Whatever Ryanair says it DOES hide detail…in fact it has only just removed the word ‘No Insurance’ hidden in a drop down list of countries which meant many many customers bought insurance they didn’t want or need because there was no clear way to opt out.

      The point about the weight is that 15Kgs for a bag is not a reasonable limit especially with a baby who you pay for and doesn’t get a weight allowance. Easyjet let you take on 32Kgs per bag and they make plenty of money.

      Basically unless you’re you or O’Leary people seem in agreement that there is a better way of doing things. O’Leary doesn’t care because it’s cheap and he’s making money…this blog is meant to get people who say they will never fly with Ryan air again to mean it and choose an alternative. You don’t need to agree, by all means, please fly on their airline if you’re happy with awful service and unreasonable charges.

      • Stephen Says:

        You have completely missed the point of my original comment here. What you want is for an airline to advertise their fares with all the extras added on? So a hotel should include the contents of the minibar in the room rate even if I don’t use it? A car dealer should charge me for alloy wheels even though I don’t want them?

        What you want is the old business model where the airline tells you what you want and you pay for it all. Alitalia are still operating that model and I’m sure they will be glad of some custom!

        And for the record Easyjet’s baggage allowance is 20kg, you can carry 32kg in one bag but they will charge you £120 for it.

        What Ryanair have done is strip the fare into its component parts and you only pay for what you want.

        The other charges are only there if you don’t comply with the rules of the fare you agreed to – what is unreasonable about that? There is nothing hidden, it is all there in black and white when you book your fare. There is only one person to blame for not reading the rules and complying with them.

        This post on my website explains my point in more detail than I can go into here.

      • jamesfernie Says:

        Yeah, why not put it all upfront, neatly and well laid out? Why not be 100% open? The fact remains that if I miss the salient terms and conditions then it was probably because I was lazy and didn’t read the small print, but what about the elderly or vulnerable people i.e those with less to spend and more likely to be enticed by cheap headline fares? I suspect you don’t have children Stephen but when you do you will realise then that 15Kgs is NOT enough to travel with kids. I take your point about the 32Kgs costing £120 on Easyjet (thanks for doing the research for me) but on Ryan Air that would cost £255.

        Ryan Air bought up routes to shitty airports that the majority of people don’t want to go to so that they could charge lower headline fees and make the difference on extras. For people who live near those shitty airports they have very little choice but to pay up; this is O’Leary’s plan. He missed the boat on the premium destinations so went for a niche, but a niche which needed filling. My point is that he could make plenty of money by offering much better customer service, clearer pricing and a more generous baggage allowance in line with his immediate competition.

        To be clear I am 100% pro capitalism and as an entrepreneur I think O’Leary has done a great job but as a responsible service provider I think he leaves a lot to be desired.

        By all means fly Ryan Air to your heart’s content, I appreciate that along with students and other low earners you need to save money and are therefore happy to travel with little or no luggage and go unrefreshed during your flight but I can afford to fly BA and pay for a decent in flight meal to a more popular destination. In short I’d rather pay more and get more than be disappointed with a cheaper option, especially when Ryan Air aint that cheap when you add it all up. I’m just choosing not to and trying to get others to do the same. Ryan Air does have good numbers but in time, as soon as there’s a viable alternative, these will drop as people look for value AND service.

        Have a Merry Christmas.

  4. fritz kohle Says:

    20th december: hundreds of passengers are left stranded at eindhoven airport today after flights were cancelled due to bad weather.

    this isn’t something ryan air could be blamed for. but the handling of the passengers is something that ryan needs to answer for. my 10:35am flight to madrid was rebooked to a 5:25pm to alicante, which then was also cancelled, even though some flights made it out of eindhoven.

    bad weather cancellations do not oblige ryan air to pay compensation, but they are still legally obliged to provide care, i.e. meals and if necessary accomodation. none of that care is forth coming from ryan air.

    for the probably thousands of passengers stranded only a handful of staff are desperately trying to do their best rebooking them well into the night. i am writing this blog at 10:30pm. still, at time the crowd turns into a ryan air mob that needs to be controlled by the few police officers on duty at eindhoven airport.

    ryan air is great at padding themselves on the shoulder with every ‘on time flight’ include fanfare announcement upon touchdown, yet during real crisis management they present themselves understaffed and uncaring towards their passengers.

    an airline to be voided.


    —————————
    Fritz Kohle, M.A.
    http://www.fritzkohle.com
    fritz@fritzkohle.com
    Private: +44 208 144 8381
    http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1327320
    —————————-

  5. mark aldridge Says:

    From someone that flies within Europe 6-8 times a WEEK! Ryan Air is definitely less than straight – shall we say. One or two cons they use to extract extra money, which i expereinced personally. 1. DIFFERENT RULES for SAME BOOKING at each end of the route. Example: I flew with a musical instrument London – Bydgoszcz – London. Knowing them from teh past i decalred all on teh web booking and THEN called their centre and had a guy go over the booking with me (at £ 1/minute). I recorded the conversation. Going out was OK. Going back – no deal. They wanted me buy another ticket (£ 139.00) or put it in the hold. I showed them the papers, told them i flew in OK. Comment – they made mistake. I said i spoke on teh phone and have a record of the chat. Then he forgot to speak English, which up to that point was fluent. All he said then was -now you pay, now you pay’. I did – my guitar is worth $ 10k. When i walked through and lokked back he smirked at his colleague and gave each other high fives.

    2. BEFORE then i got RYANAIR MASTER CARD. Gets you freee flights and i fly for a living more or less. Tried to redeem the vouchers twice. EACH time it was MORE or MUCH MORE expensive to redeem voucher than pay on website WITHOUT. How HONEST IS THIS??? LAST TIME TODAY.

  6. Ron Says:

    My wife,daughters and mother-in-law all missed their flight from Dublin to London because no one told them they were the only airline that required a stamp on the passport before boarding. They only told them when there wasn’t enough time to get the stamp. You suck!

  7. ED Says:

    Ryan Air indeed sucks. I will never fly it again. 100% hassle and not the bargain it pretends to be. Stay clear. (Used to be pretty alright before they started charging for toilet use and stopped chairs from reclining– now it’s total rubbish)

  8. Stevie Says:

    Ryanair does indeed suck. I used them once 4 years ago(well, twice, as it was a return flight..but i did consider walking home)…I havent touched them since. Bloody nightmare journey….Rude, grumpy, thick groundstaff(in both directions) who are no help at all(pay peanuts, get monkeys). In the air it’s even worse. Hey guys & girls of Ryanair!..just because you work for a budget airline, doesn’t mean you have to act like dicks! I worked for a pizza delivery service in my student days, but I still managed a smile with my customers!

    To cap it all they have a complete tosser for a CEO(that’s probably irrelevant to anyone just looking for a cheap flight, but it has to be said, he’s a complete tosser).

    Getting back to the point, why do people keep using their shit service? I have no idea. I guess being a complete tosser doesn’t mean you can’t be a good businessman, which he obviously is. He puts bums on seats for sure..or does he fill seats with bums? Either way, his flights are usually full, arent they?

    I’m not sure about Ireland as I’ve never been there, but in Europe as a whole there are many other budget airlines that offer a better service for less than Ryanair. Even some non-budget airlines, such as Swiss, offer cheaper fairs than bloody Ryanair on exactly the same route, baggage, sandwich, drink & comfy seat included. Just check out some other airlines folks, you’ll be surprised.

    I do not understand how anyone would fly with Ryanair.
    No, really. I just don’t get it.

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