Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Ryanair's Fear of Flying

YESTERDAY, the Ryanair website listed 80 flights into and out of France, which were cancelled because of the threatened general strike. It added: ‘Ryanair sincerely apologise for the inconvenience caused by these flight cancellations.’

About 12,000 passengers would have been forced to make alternative travel arrangements. Presumably about 50% of these were attempting to get home from a trip abroad.

This was in addition to the 27 flights cancelled on the previous two days for the same reason, added to the complete cancellation of all Ryanair’s French flights on March 28.

While other airlines, including Aer Lingus, succeeded in meeting their obligations by flying their French routes on March 28, my wife and I were stranded when our return Ryanair flight from Biarritz was cancelled without warning. We were obliged to return the following day with Aer Lingus from Bordeaux, incurring about e500 in incremental costs for accommodation, meals, train and air fares.

Michael O’Leary likes to portray himself as fearless. But Ryanair’s fear of flying, stranding its passengers abroad while its competitors continue to meet their responsibilities, exposes him as gutless.

Footnote: Published as a letter in the Irish Examiner. A variant was published some days later in the Irish Independent.

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