Passengers Shun Ryanair Due To Constant Strikes

After nearly a dozen separate strike incidents this year alone, passengers are verbally stating their intention to boycott the Irish carrier. And while there have been strikes before, and customers have returned, attracted by low fares, this time could be different.

Fuelled by our interconnectivity and social media use, we are communicating more. And there’s a real sense growing that if you book Ryanair, you’ve no right to complain when it does the expected. How this change of the wind will affect the LLC has yet to be seen. But after the end of a stressful and painful summer season, the airline had better wise up.

The Ryanair business model

As we’ve mentioned before – Ryanair is true budget. It often makes minimal profit on the price of the seat, benefiting instead from add ons and relationships with other suppliers, such as Budget car hire. The airline sometimes sells passengers seats for below cost. It does this on routes were there are typically more add ons. Business travellers pre-buy breakfast and coffee – they book airport hotels, hen parties to Magaluf less so. This is one of the reasons why you can get ridiculously cheap flights to London from all over Europe.

The cheap ticket price has been touted by O’Leary as the airline’s right to exhibit bad behaviour. However, overall, the LLC’s behaviour isn’t that bad. For example, it’s usually ‘on time’ (fanfare please) and has an excellent safety record. The fleet is good – relative new, the seats comfortable. These are the most important things.

But since its inceptions, the airline’s relationship with money has been tough. Firstly, it was in hot water for adding tax and booking fees at the end of the booking. Then it’s stringent cabin bag rules and fees for not printing off boarding passes were attacked. Most recently, not paying crew anywhere near a decent wage (and refusing to budge) has created back to back strike action. Basically, Ryanair has a budget model – but it can’t make it work. It wants to – but it can’t.

Infuriated customers boycott Ryanair

This year, it has dawned on us all. Either Ryanair are money grabbing with our costs or miserly with ‘salaries’ (cabin crew are paid by the hour – so it’s not really a salary). So this summer when crew downed safety cards on July 12th, 20th, 24th, 25th and 26th – August 3rd and 10th and September 12th and 28th, a funny thing happened. Most passengers were supportive of the crew and critical of the airline.

Passengers Shun Ryanair Due To Constant Strikes

Passengers Shun Ryanair Due To Constant Strikes
A small selection of the storm now brewing online

And the latest strike on September 28th seemed to be the final straw. It led to 190 flight cancellations, which is 8% of total operations, leaving 35,000 of travelers across Europe with nowhere to go. We all thought it would have been settled by now – but it hasn’t. Any feelings of safety we had in booking Ryanair this Autumn has been pulled out from under us.


Enough is enough with Ryanair strikes

I personally had flights booked during two of these strikes. The first one was cancelled and after waiting 60 minutes to talk to someone on the Ryanair Chat, I was forced to take an alternative flight – at an airport 4 hours drive away. I sent in my additional expenses to Ryanair 3 months ago. I got a rejection letter from which it was clear, they hadn’t even read my email.

For my second flight on September 10th, the airline couldn’t tell me if my flight was cancelled and recommended I go to the airport anyway. Instead I booked EasyJet at an airport 2 hours away.

So like so many others, this has taught me a very important lesson. Fool me once, shame on you – fool me twice – shame on me. Until Ryanair sorts out its problems – I just can’t risk it. I can book flights for pleasure and last minute jollies. But for work or anything else, I’ll need to look elsewhere.

CEO O’Leary needs strategy rather than luck to get over this one

And it is a shame – I never really minded the cabin bag rules or the printed tickets – I laughed when we skidded down the tarmac 30 seconds before the printed arrival to the Ryanair jingle – but a cancelled flight can’t be laughed off. And I don’t want to risk another stranding or 4 hour drive in the middle of the night – I don’t want anyone saying…”I told you so!”