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Ryanair – Black Today, Blue Tomorrow

December 5, 2011

A few months ago I wrote about Ryanair, Ireland’s “favourite” airline, and its idiosyncratic CEO Michael O’Leary. Whatever one thinks of the airline – and I don’t think much – they are clearly getting the basics right, as a 23% second-quarter increase in profit seems to indicate.

One story I missed last month was that O’Leary is planning to launch a pornography app for customers of the airline. Within the next year he hopes that customers will be able to download “adult” content to their IPads and Galaxy tablets to while away the pleasant hours on Ryanair’s flying vending machines. His stated rationale, as reported in the UK’s Daily Mail, is that since hotels allow pay-for-porn, why not airlines?

What would be unfortunate would be if he were to act on his stated intention of reducing the number of lavatories on the flight, because I should have thought that the loo would be the only place where a porn-loving customer could view the content without the possibility of nuns and small children getting an unwanted eyeful.

If it were not for the fact that a very respectable US airline is already operating under the name, I wouldn’t have ruled out O’Leary renaming the airline Jet Blue.

The received wisdom in these blighted times is that you need to innovate to survive, but I wonder what the wise might think of Ryanair’s latest caper.

Later on this week I shall be flying to the US on American Airlines, the latest operator to succumb to Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Fortunately – at least for most of us – they are unlikely to turn their flights into airborne massage parlours in order to restore their fortunes. Replacing flight attendants with robots similar to those introduced in South Korean prisons might be more AA’s style – especially if they’re equipped with tasers to make sure we keep our seatbelts fastened. Back to the original subject, here’s a nice story my regular internet joke provider sent me the other day:

“Spare a thought for Michael O’Leary, Chief Executive of Ryanair. Arriving in a hotel in Dublin, he went to the bar and asked for a pint of draught Guinness. The barman nodded and said, “That will be one Euro please, Mr. O’Leary.”

Somewhat taken aback, O’Leary replied, “That’s very cheap,” and handed over his money.

“Well, we try to stay ahead of the competition”, said the barman. “And we are serving free pints every Wednesday evening from 6 until 8. We have the cheapest beer in Ireland”

“That is remarkable value” Michael comments.

“I see you don’t seem to have a glass, so you’ll probably need one of ours. That will be 3 euro please.”

O’Leary scowled, but paid up. He took his drink and walked towards a seat.

“Ah, you want to sit down?” said the barman. “That’ll be an extra 2 euro. – You could have pre-book the seat, and it would have only cost you a euro.”

“I think you may to be too big for the seat sir, can I ask you to sit in this frame please”

Michael attempts to sit down but the frame is too small and when he can’t squeeze in he complains “Nobody would fit in that little frame”.

“I’m afraid if you can’t fit in the frame you’ll have to pay an extra surcharge of €4.00 for your seat sir”

O’Leary swore to himself, but paid up. “I see that you have brought your laptop with you” added the barman. “And since that wasn’t pre-booked either, that will be another 3 euro.”

O’Leary was so annoyed that he walked back to the bar, slammed his drink on the counter, and yelled, “This is ridiculous, I want to speak to the manager”.

“Ah, I see you want to use the counter,” says the barman, “that will be 2 euro please.” O’Leary’s face was red with rage.

“Do you know who I am?”

“Of course I do Mr. O’Leary,”

“I’ve had enough, What sort of Hotel is this? I come in for a quiet drink and you treat me like this. I insist on speaking to a manager!”

“Here is his email address, or if you wish, you can contact him between 9 and 9.10 every morning, Monday to Tuesday at this free phone number. Calls are free, until they are answered, then there is a talking charge of only 10 cent per second.”

“I will never use this bar again.”

“OK sir, but remember, we are the only hotel in Ireland selling pints for one Euro”.

That one could only have started in Ireland.

From → Business, Social, Travel

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