Friday, 4 September 2009

From the "how do they get away with that?" department

Just heard Michael O'Leary on the radio this morning. I don't think I have ever heard anyone who could rival O'Leary for the logical contortions he is willing to conduct to justify himself. This morning it was about the Lisbon Referendum and how he is campaigning for a Yes vote (is he using shareholders' funds???), when following the first failed referendum he was arguing that there shouldn't be a second one - because the people have spoken and they said NO!

His logic being; "well there is going to be one now, so I am going to tell everyone they should vote yes". When a more logical position would surely be "well, I was against a second referendum because people voted no and I don't like this idea of double jeopardy, so I would urge everyone to vote no again to effectively render it void". Maybe its just me.

But that is just some topical flavour of a man we all know and love. The meat of this post is the relatively recent change in Ryanair pricing. It is well understood that Ryanair are no frills and follow a business model where the strip out any frills from core fares and so deliver the core service at as low a cost as possible, while reserving the option of charging like a wounded bull where the can get away with it.

I admire that model. It is not the only model, but a strong one. And as a consumer it gives me ample opportunity to minimise cost by planning carefully (book well in advance) and studiously avoid the add ons. And when I see Ryanair trumpet some ridiculously low fare I know that it means without any of these "luxuries". I know that if I book ahead of time and plan my travel I can avail of the price advertised and only have to pay taxes on top.

But something has changed. Ryanair have made a small, but very significant change. At the end of my booking I get to select my preferred method of check-in. To check in at a desk on departure will cost €20. Fine, I can avoid that. Option 2 is check in on-line for €5. There is no option 3.

Here is the point at which Mr O'Leary is taking the piss completely and displaying another one of those yogaeque positions in logic. On one had he is saying I can buy a ticket for, say, €20 (subject to taxes). Then, with a completely straight face he is telling me that if I want to enjoy the luxury of actually boarding the plane it will cost a minimum of €5 extra.

I would call this a case of misrepresentation. Surely a "fare" must include full payment for the minimum services necessary for travel. In this case, some form of check-in. If it doesn't, then the "fare" quoted is a lie.

So how does he get away with that?

1 comment:

What Goes Up... said...

The €5 seems to be integrated back into the booking stage now.