Eco-terrorists who seek to eliminate aviation altogether ambushed Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary with a pie in the face during a news conference in Brussels. But Leary took the matter in stride, responding with grace and charm. That gave Ryanair’s social media team plenty to work with.
O’Leary Takes Pie In the Face, But Has The Last Laugh
I use the term eco-terrorists because any organization that seeks to stymie commerce through the elimination of air travel is essentially advocating for the destruction of my livelihood and the livelihood of millions of others. That is terrorism. Whatever your views on how to address climate change (and I absolutely agree we should take it seriously), the bottom line is this: Earth is made for man…not vice versa.
Now, to Brussels.
One climate protestor approached O’Leary, welcomed him to Brussels, then said, “Stop the pollution of the f***ing planes!” Pardon your Flemish...
Then another pied him (spread a cream pie in his face) with a giant crap-eating grin on her face.
Michael O'Leary, boss of Ryanair got pied in the face by climate protesters in Brussels.pic.twitter.com/LWPCA1WELI
— Mukhtar (@I_amMukhtar) September 7, 2023
Mind you, this was in the midst of a press conference. Rather than become agitated, O’Leary smiled and said, “Well done,” before removing his coat and continuing the press conference. When the media gaggle pressed him to comment on what had just transpired, he said:
“I love cream cakes, they’re my favorite!”
I love it. And that gave Ryanair’s social media team all the fodder it needed to remind folks that for the price of that pie, they could have bought a flight instead.
Warm welcome in Brussels today to celebrate RYR’s 7 new routes for Winter 23. Passengers so happy with our routes and petition that they’re celebrating with cake. We’ve got tasty low fares! pic.twitter.com/MpT6ssSX6a
— Ryanair (@Ryanair) September 7, 2023
Instead of buying cream pies, could have bought a flight from Belgium for the same price 😏 pic.twitter.com/8jruYI3ZxE
— Ryanair (@Ryanair) September 7, 2023
O’Leary Was In Brussels For A Worthy Cause
And as One Mile At A Time notes, O’Leary was in Brussels for a very worthy cause: the annoying French. Specifically, he (quite reasonably) believes that flights should be permitted to cross French airspace during French Air Traffic Control strikes (which happen only on days ending in -y). To demonstrate, he presented European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen with a petition which included 1.5 million signatures:
So far in 2023, French ATC (Air Traffic Control) strikes have forced Ryanair to cancel over 4000 flights mainly overflying France.
It is unacceptable that France uses Min Service Legislation to protect French flights during these repeated ATC strikes, while overflights, none of which are operating to/from France, suffer all these cancellations. This is unfair. The EU must act now to protect overflights and the EU Single Market.
Ryanair has repeatedly called on the EU Commission and Ursula von der Leyen to take action to protect EU passengers and overflights during repeated French ATC strikes. Ryanair calls on all passengers to sign our petition.
Do it today and send an urgent message to Ursula von der Leyen that EU citizens demand action to protect overflights during French ATC strikes.
And to that, I say amen and add my virtual signature.
O’Leary is brash and Trump-like sometimes, but goodness he fights the good fight and works hard to keep downward pressure on airfare. He is a man I respect.
Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary was pied in the face at a news conference in Brussels. Those who did this will not be remembered, but O’Leary will be for handling it so gracefully and for working hard to keep airfares low, thereby making it possible for so many to see parts of the world that may otherwise have been out of reach.