One of the greatest scams most ingenious pieces of recent business PR is the no-frills end of the air travel industry successfully branding itself as “budget.”
All it took was some imaginative 99p round trips to Prague in their early days, and the idea that this form of travel was cheap as chips became a fact in people’s minds.
Of course budget airlines are low cost. But to them, not to you.
A former Ryanair pilot, James Atkinson, writing in the Guardian, has described the unbelievable meanness of his former employer.
“I was regularly sent out of my base to fly on my days off, and without pay – to distant Ryanair bases that had a staffing shortage. I would take connecting flights and sometimes overnight layovers to arrive (hotel paid by me, and not reimbursed).”
So that perhaps helps explain why pilots (many of whom, Atkinson explains, operate on a sort of gig economy deal) are not polishing their brass buttons in a hurry to help the company out with its current shortage of drivers.
Even more jaw dropping though, is this:
“People have trouble believing it, but it’s absolutely true: no pilot or other staff member at Ryanair is entitled to even a free bottle of water while working. If you want it, you buy it.”
Given the voracity of that airline’s price gouging (it felt as though they were making preparatory moves this summer to start charging to guarantee that cabin baggage wouldn’t be put in the hold) does this debacle mean they are going to dial down their greed?
Or will people just decide that experience of being rinsed by Ryanair is now so unpleasant that they’ll stop going on holiday altogether?
And if you do grit your teeth and stick with Ryanair, next time the staff are getting on your nerves with their incessant pitches for Calvin Klein Obsession and scratchcard panninis, remember it’s no bed of petunias for them either.