Monday, October 12, 2009

Ryanair, Aer Lingus, Rants

In the last short while I have been hearing a few stories about Ryanair and Aerlingus in various newspapers and radio programs and the like and unfortunately for you I can hold my silence no longer!

Unfortunately these issues drive me so up the wall that I don’t think I can put them together in a coherent flowing manner, so in place of a well written article, I present to your a series of points that have been grinding my gears for the last while.

1. People saying have to support Aer Lingus “because they are Irish”
This one is particularly stupid as it tends to be used most often in conversations that also make reference to the Ryanair vs Aer Lingus debate. To WHAT extent could Aer Lingus be considered any more Irish than Ryanair? Is it because the planes have a green colour scheme? Because the tail fin has a shamrock on it? Because they were a (but are now a failed) airline set up by the state? I really don't know...

Now correct me if I’m wrong but Ryanair is Irish too, and rather than being a dismal financial failure like other (unnamed...) Irish airlines Ryanair is turning a profit in a time when all around them are doing poorly.
Also Ryanair is Europe’s biggest airline in terms of passengers, so why aren’t people supporting a Irish company that has become the leading force in European aviation, a globally impressive example of how Ireland can take on the big players and win. This make my little brain angry.

A quick scan around the board room of the two airlines would also be advisable to those who are emotionally attached to the “Irish element” of Aer Lingus. CEO of Ryanair = Michael O Leary, a successful Irish businessman – CEO of Aer Lingus = Cristoph Mueller, a successful German businessman.

2. People thinking Ryanair owe them anything
Watchdog, the BBC consumer issues programme contained a piece on how Ryanair were to double the cost of checking in baggage on planes, and do away with manned check in desks starting in the near future.

Members of the audience were asked what they thought about it and as per usual the usual assortment of anti-Ryanair folk chipped in their 2 cents about how awful it was, that Mr. O’Leary could do such things. They then had a satellite conversation with O’Leary who told the audience, and viewers of the programme, that he basically couldn’t care less if they didn’t want to fly with his airline, there would be 67million people willing to take their seat.

Why do people feel that Micheal O’Leary and Ryanair owe them anything? They don’t owe you cheap flights, cheap added extras, cheap anything. They are a business, and a successful one, not a charity.

More to come on this later in part 2... I must go calm down somewhere nice and quiet.


Manuel said...

Well, while I do agree with you from a business standpoint, that they do owe us anything, I think there's still a lot to be said for trying to take care of your customer.

Removing myself from an objective business point of view, and placing myself as a subjective consumer, I have to say, I loathe flying RyanAir because of their attitude towards customers and money dispensing things that deserve nothing more than bare minimum. Where affordable, I always choose Aer Lingus, simply because they treat their customers much better. And I know that, in future (e.g. when I'm earning large sums of figures....hopefully) I'll always pick Aer Lingus specifically because I don't feel RyanAir deserves my money, but that's just me, and as good ole Mick points out, there'll always be someone to fill my spot.

So again, that's a subjective view, if I look at it from an absolute, business, 'what is best for the company' view, I agree with you 100%.

Ed said...

Well, I guess its kinda obvious at what angle Im looking at this from.

There is indeed alot to be said for trying to take care of your customer, and they would be in a better position if more people felt that way. They have tried the "take care of our customer" angle, and failed.. miserably.

You say that youll choose Aer Lingus in future eh? something tells me you wont have that choice

Manuel said...

Well yeah, I'm working on the presumption that they'll still be up and kicking. Which, as we all know, is looking questionable

Johannes said...

Well, you know how much dislike I have for Ryanair, which is against all my principles... BUT, to come back to the argument, I mean it is ridiculous to think that AerLingus will have (also taking into account the overall business climate) any serious chance of survival (alone for sure NOT)...

Well, what more can I say...

Andy Mcfarlane said...

Listen, (and Happy Bday Ed btw) it's like this. As Irish airlines go, Aer Lingus are prefferable if you want good customer service and aren't so pushed about the fare or punctuality. The major problem here is, as I highlighted myself a while ago, as global airlines go Aer Lingus are very much NOT prefferable for good customer service, leaving them neither particularly cheap or particularly comfortable. They're stuck and they don't really know themselves what to be doing next.

Ryanair - I don't know what the problem is, for sure Manuel I wouldn't want to fly with them if I could avoid it - would anyone if they had the money? But on the bright side, they've stuck to their guns and not faltered away from being notorious cheapskates and as a result, everyone knows if you really need a low fare, Ryanair's probably your best bet! Ryanair always seems to get pulled in by BBC Panorama, etc and it seems at this stage just to be a 'safe bet' for them in terms of getting material to make a programme as much as anything else.

Ed said...

Hey thanks Andy,
Well you are right, in terms of the Irish market they are the quality alternative, and on a global scale they most certainly arent.

But even though the are the quality Irish option, they are offering quality levels that they cant afford. Their cash reserves have gone from 800 million to 200 million in a little over a year.

If they had taken the 800 million, plonked it in a bank account, or even under their fecking matress, they would have done a better job with the resources over the last year... that is madness

Andy Mcfarlane said...

I think to just further what I was saying as well, while they're the Irish 'quality' alternative, there's simply not enough Irish pax either wanting to pay for the 'quality' element or feeling like they're getting enough 'quality' for the fares. And anyone else in Europe/Worldwide looking for 'quality' over price will take BA, Lufty, etc.

As you say though, the drop in finances is deplorable and if they were going to lose such a ridiculous pile of cash, they'd have been better at least using it to make a good stab at things instead of continuing with their nonsensical low cost fares and high cost operations situation. Only thing is, wonder who'll fill the gates at T2 if Aer Lingus carry on?!

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