Michael O'Leary does a great job of literally not giving a damn. It’s impossible to see how a company that behaves with so little regard for its staff and customers can still be trading. Following the revelations of the past fortnight, it seems totally implausible that anyone would consider booking a flight with Ryanair ever again. 'Cheap’ always comes at a cost and it’s not good enough.
The story started with news of flights being cancelled due to "rostering issues" but it seems the crux of the matter is the ongoing public battle between pilots and O’Leary. He has a reputation for being a headline-grabbing arse, stating the airline business is mostly run by "a bunch of spineless nincompoops”.
O'Leary went on to publicly dismiss his pilots expertise: “Once you are trained … I would challenge any pilot to explain how this is a difficult job or how it is they are overworked or how anybody who by law can’t fly more than 18 hours a week could possibly be suffering from fatigue.” What employee wants to hear their employer slating them? How demoralising is that? No wonder the union is reporting that 700 pilots left the company in the last year.
First competitors are attacked, then staff, now customers. O’Leary has arrogantly stated that passengers certainly will not desert the airline. “Our booking engine is full of passengers who have sworn they will never fly with us again.” O'Leary's tone constantly implies that his actions are not a big deal, that it doesn't matter.
Unbelievably, after all this, Ryanair sent out a marketing email promoting a flash sale on flights to Germany – the tickets are rock-bottom, designed to make money fast. Surely the market understands that cheapest isn’t always best. It’s cutting corners and undervaluing staff that has led to the current mess.
Simply being 'the cheapest' is not enough, it is not sustainable, you have to differentiate on something other than price to build long-term brand loyalty.
Competition is fierce and Ryanair's lack of care should be a big worry for customers because it plants doubt. If the pilots flying my plane say they’re too tired to fly, I’d quite like that addressed. If a business is not looking after employees or customers, what else is being neglected? Maintenance? Safety?
The latest publicity makes you wonder what the final fall out is going to be. Us – spiralling towards the ground because too many corners have been cut!