Top-Down Attitude

Jason Roe is a web developer, who while trying to avoid the credit card surcharges from Ryanair came across a bug on the airline’s website which caused it to price its flights at zero.

The responses to the post included one calling him “an idiot and a liar”, one claiming to have hacked his website in return, and another lamenting his “pathetic life”.

But when Jason checked the IP addresses behind these responses, he found they came from Ryanair computers.

Ryanair bases its business model on that of Southwest Airlines, an American discount airline.

Southwest came up with the idea of cheap and cheerful flights, cutting away at expensive frills, getting more work out of their people (a stewart can double up as a baggage handler), having customers walk from the plane to avoid docking fees.

I’ve flown Southwest. Cheerful is as important to them as cheap, the staff are pleasant and helpful, and the airline safety lecture is a comedy routine with some genuine laughs.

Ryanair doesn’t quite get the cheap and cheerful model. Mick O’Leary cultivates the cheeky chappie image, but what he communicates to his company, as the responses to Jason Roe demonstrate, is mean and miserable.

By Gerard Cunningham

Gerard Cunningham occupies his time working as a journalist, writer, sub-editor, blogger and podcaster, yet still finds himself underemployed.