Why it's time to boycott Ryanair sign now

Why its time to boycott Ryanair

Sources used in this story are marked with numbers enclosed within parentheses.
(1): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ryanair
(2): http://davefaq.com/Opinions/RyanAir-Sucks/


I am not a hateful person, nor am I the kind to call for litigation or boycotts against slightly imperfect companies. But after just a little browsing on the internet, I became so incensed over the Irish airline Ryanair that I now stand for a passenger boycott of its services.

Mind you, it's not a lack of peanuts or an occasional delay that I'm fed up with. Just about all airlines these days have started to clamp down on passenger amenities in response to price gouging and the rising cost of Jet A-1 (that's gas for planes.) No; the things that drive me to call for a boycott include the denial of wheelchairs to disabled passengers, ad campaigns that promise customers free flights which subsequently disappear and a Euro-an-hour phone line that Ryanair uses to milk money out of complaining passengers. And thats only the tip of this sinking iceberg.

But first, a little background. Since its founding in 1985, Ryanair has grown into one of the busiest airlines in the world. It transitioned from a regional service provider into a European behemoth, having been inspired by Southwests business model (and prices) (1)(2). And yet, in todays aviation industry, it seems that companies must decide between the welfare of its passengers and its bottom line if it wishes to rake in cash. Ryanair chose profits over people, leading not only to a complete disregard for customers but a series of escapades that border on human rights violations.

Things began to get ugly in 2002, when Ryanair decided a little more cash in their already-bulging coffers was worth more than the wellbeing of passengers with disabilities. The corporation refused to equip disabled passengers with wheelchairs at Stansted Airporttheir biggest hub for flight operations. (1)(2) When a court interceded and demanded that they provide equipment for ailing fliers, Ryanair added half a pound to all ticket prices. This alone was enough for a disabilities group to call for a boycott of the airline. (1)

And yet, the fun had just begun. In 2006, a pair of undercover journalists from the British television series Dispatches got jobs with the airline as workers at Stansted. (1) What they uncovered ranged from the disgusting (aftershave used to mask the smell of vomit in aisles) to the positively dangerous (crew members disregarding warning lights on the emergency slides). (1) (For the purposes of fairness, I will mention that many of these claims were disputed by Ryanair and found to be unsubstantiated by local courts.) (1)

And yet, you do not need to be a disabled passenger or an undercover reporter to find a reason to stay clear of Ryanair. Perhaps you care for the environment? If so, you might be interested to learn that the companys CEO hoped for an economic recession, if only because it would end the "environmental bullshit among the chattering classes that has allowed Gordon Brown to double air passenger duty, he said (1). We need a recession if we are going to see off some of this environmental nonsense." Perhaps youre the kind who dislikes hidden fees and breaches of the law. In that case, youd probably dislike the fact that Ryanair has been known to charge fliers for offenses as small as using their check-in services or checking a single bag, and, furthermore, that they ignored an order from the British Office of Fair Trading to incorporate these fees into their advertised fares. (1) If you dont like paying to make complaints, consider this: Ryanair forces customers who wish to criticize the airline over the phone to pay a Euro per minute. E-mail, as of now, is still not an option. (1)

But even if you are none of the above, you are still have a little customers pride within you. You dont like it when airlines assume youre as dumb as cattle, then seat you accordingly. Though low-cost is often a preferable option to regular-cost, you dont care much for CEOs who assume youll blindly pick the cheapest flight and live with the scene onboard. Though I hate to make assumptions, I can safely say you wouldnt want to fly an airline whose pilot says the following:

You paid nothing for your ticket, so you get nothing. That's the company philosophy. You paid nothing, we take you there, but hey, you paid nothing. so if we don't take you there, tough ****, you've only lost five Euros."
(Actual quote, reportedly from the Dispatches documentary.) (2)

These days, there is no limit to low-cost airlines in Europe. Ryanair is well aware of this, and has since tried to make its fares as low as possible to cut in front of airlines who offer respectable services for a respectable fee. And so, you are faced with a choice: spend a few Euros more on an airline like Air Berlin or FlyBe, or donate to the Ryanair Experience and cross your fingers in hopes that your flight with the company that Tripadviser rated (in Oct. 2006) as the most disliked airline on Earth. (2)

In boycotting this airline, you accomplish two distinct things. First, you send a message to Ryanair (and all low-cost airlines) that budget travelers are not machines who automatically fly on the cheapest jet available, no matter the treatment they receive or the hassles they go through. They expect respect, kindness and dignity. And wheelchairs, even.

The real beneficiary, though, is you. In avoiding this operation, you could very well save yourself from a day (or more) of travel pitfalls and hassles. Youll find that other airlines offer prices similar to the profit-bursting Ryanair, but without the added expenses of delays, mind-numbing hidden expenses and that general feeling that youre not welcome on board. Better yet, youll be supporting competing airlines who already have the travel behemoth worried about falling profits. Take one look at the companys stock readings from August 2007 to August 2008, and youll see what effect intelligent consumer decisions can have on an indifferent company. (Link from Marketwatch website: http://tinyurl.com/5syvhs )

To close up this thousand-word petition, Id like to sum up my view in just two sentences. Ryanair has given millions of passengers the cold shoulder since its initiation. Perhaps its time to give them the cold shoulder as well.

(My less-than-in-depth research for this article centered on two sources: the English-language Ryanair page on Wikipedia (can you blame me?), and a rather intense criticism of Ryanair found on this link: http://davefaq.com/Opinions/RyanAir-Sucks/ . I apologize to Dave in advance for using his own research (but not his own words) without permission, but I think hed appreciate what I tried to do here. If you end up saving money, time or your own well-being by using an airline other than Ryanair, he is the one to thank.)

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Geraldine BenjaminBy:
SustainabilityIn:
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Anyone wary of corporate abuse

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