Recently Simple Flying reported that a diverted flight resulted in a number of Ryanair cabin crew spending the night on the floor. The group, which consisted of eight pilots and sixteen cabin crew were snapped hunkering down on the cold floor of a windowless room, somewhere in the belly of Malaga airport.
Shortly after we published this story, it was revealed that the photograph was, in fact, staged. The cabin crew were, indeed, in a crew room for quite some time, but nobody actually went to sleep on the floor.
More shockingly, it has now come to light that Ryanair have decided, in their wisdom, to fire the employees concerned. Here’s what you need to know.
What really happened (according to Ryanair)
The carrier has stated that the picture of Ryanair crew sleeping on floor was clearly staged. They say that, following storms in Porto on the 13th October, a number of flights were diverted to Malaga.
As the day happened to be a Spanish national holiday, the local hotels were very busy, and no accommodation could be found. However, the crew spent only a brief period of time in the room in which they were photographed, after which they were moved to a VIP lounge.
The next day they returned to Porto, none the worse for wear and with not one Ryanair crew member being asked to work on the flight.
What Michael did next…
Shortly after the photograph of Ryanair crew sleeping on floor went somewhat viral, Ryanair uploaded their own social media maelstrom.
In a tweet captioned ‘Ryanair exposes fake photo of cabin crew sleeping in crew room. Watch video here:’ they uploaded a portion of CCTV footage which clearly showed the crew members posing for the photo.
Rather than trying to figure out why they would do such a thing, or privately talk to the employees in question, Ryanair decided to loudly and dramatically fire the members of crew for, what Michael O’Leary has called ‘gross misconduct’.
Why they did it
Whereas Ryanair claim that they were only left in the small room ‘for a short while’ it’s actually emerged that they were in that location between 1:30AM and 6AM. Over four hours is not what most of us would call a short while, especially considering the room did not have enough chairs for everyone to sit down.
Although the staff are certainly wrong for pretending things were worse than they were, actually they had a point. Sure, they weren’t sleeping on the floor of the crew room all night, but they were standing around in the crew room all night because there was nowhere to sleep (or even sit down).
By uploading covert surveillance images of the situation, Ryanair aren’t making any effort to present a united front. To stab your employees in the back, even if eventually they gave them the sack, sends out all sorts of wrong messages both to the public and to other Ryanair crew.
The Ryanair saga
It seems that not a week goes by that we don’t hear some bad press about this budget Irish carrier. From the situation involving a racist incident on their aircraft to allegations that they make their own cabin crew pay for water, it really is a case of ‘you couldn’t make this up’.
Problems with management led to numerous strikes over the summer, with pilots alluding to the airline being ‘penny-pinching’, ‘pernickety’ and ‘perverse’. Cabin crews also took strike action, complaining of poor working conditions and bad management.
The news that Ryanair fires cabin crew for staging a protest photo when they have, once again, been abandoned by their company, doesn’t come as much of a surprise. The Ryanair story is one of profits over people, and probably always will be.