In case you missed it across the pond, Ryanair just experienced the biggest strike in its history over the weekend. Now angry passengers across Europe are vowing to “bring down” the airline through a sustained boycott.
Strikes at Ryanair bases across Europe on Saturday left over 35,000 people stranded. Many learned only upon reaching the departure gate that their flight was cancelled. Now passengers are banding together across social media to encourage a boycott of Ryanair.
One furious passenger who spoke to the UK Sun essentially sums up what thousands have experienced:
After cancelling our flight on our way to our dream holiday, we were forced to pay for flights with another airline as Ryanair couldn’t get us on anther plane for six days. The last minute flights cost us a year’s worth of savings, on top of what we had already paid out for the holiday, and the costs we incurred due to the delay.
Then they have the cheek to deny us the compensation we were lawfully entitled to and take two-and-a-half-months to refund the cancelled flight. These crooks will never get our money again.
I’ve written about Ryanair’s summer of woes several times:
- Ryanair Finds The Perfect Way To Make Customers Hate It More
- Ryanair Spits In The Face Of Customers
- The Sudden Collapse Of Ryanair
- Ryanair Strikes Expand Across Europe
The situation seems to be getting worse, not better.
A Non-Credible Threat
But if I were Michael O’Leary, Ryanair’s Chief, I would not be too worried…at least about this consumer threat. Passengers will not put up with a permanent cycle of abuse, but over and over we see that customers truly are price-sensitive most of all. A round of fare sales and sincere apologies will bring customers back.
But the labor problems…oh the labor problems. That’s what will not solve itself and will only get worse. Ryanair blames unions for acting unfairly while unions blame Ryanair for being greedy. It’s the same old game and the truth, as it often does, lies somewhere between. Even so, Ryanair cannot sustain strike after strike. It simply cannot.
While the customers may flock back, if strikes make the company so operationally inefficient it cannot profit, it doesn’t really matter. Ryanair must make peace with its labor unions or faces extinction.
I believe you underestimate the depth of the consumer backlash and anti Ryanair sentiment. Yes, in the past these boycotts have been short-lived and ineffective; this time the situation could well be different….the competition in the deep discount/no frills space is intense and at a time when Ryanair’s reputation hits rock bottom, Easyjet , Norwegian and others are gaining in reputation.
O’Leary is such a repulsive individual and it’s hard to find any sympathy at all, except , of course, for the tens of thousands of employees that would suffer in any loss of market share for Ryanair.
I stopped using Ryanair in 1996 and have never regretted my decision. The way the employees had to behave to toe the O’Leary line was nothing short of corporate bullying – of staff and customers. Time to set the standard required by customers for their treatment and the treatment of staff. After all we only live this day once. Let it be one we can all celebrate.
It’s a bit of a non-story really or headline at least.
Passengers get the airline they want – they want Ryanair (or Ryanair prices). Grim but true. The guy who is quoted in The Sun (you do know this is a rag only marginally better than the Daily Mail don’t you?) says it all when he explains that his “dream holiday” included Ryanair in the first place. I dare say it did – poor chap, but he clearly doesn’t have much in the way of financial choice. Ergo Ryanair.
@Evan You’re spot on on everything you just wrote.
I always chuckle at Matthew’s headlines…..
I actually thought that the article was in a way connected to the moody press release Ryanair sent out today saying that their profits would drop 12% (to around €1.10bn-1.20bn) due to the strikes and that they’ll be closing 2 Ryanair bases. The routes on these bases will continue to be operated but with aircraft based elsewhere (costs saved). Further the airline said that consumer confidence in the airline has been dented.
Now, once Ryanair resolves its issues, people will continue to book the airline as before. How many times were we cursing Lufthansa during their numerous strikes (and those lasted ages unlike the 2 or so that FR has had) while swearing to never fly them and now i’m back to flying them as usual.
Funny thing is, during the last 2 major strikes most if not all customers were informed about it in advance and there were no scenes at airports as no one showed up with bags ready for their ‘dream holidays’ -atleast in Germany anyway.
There are more and more LCC options/competition in Europe these days, so if Ryanair isn’t careful, they could lose people to some of their rivals.
I could see their credibility/reliability taking a hit so that many people are afraid to book them.
I actually have a couple intra-European flights to/from Dublin that I need to book for next month. And where I would normally consider RyanAir, I’m now planning to pay more to fly somebody else because I need to make sure I actually get to where I’m going.
I’m with Matthew. I’ve been boycotting French rail and airports for years due to the uncertainty and delays strikes there have caused me, but it doesn’t seem to have had an effect yet. Doubt this boycott will have any more of an impact!