Michael O’ Leary and Ryanair’s Most Expensive Policy
Did you see this one? Michael O’Leary, CEO of Ryanair, snarkily admitted his airline profits off of what he calls “stupid” people.
The airline, who leads the industry in tack-on fees, charges customers a hefty penalty if they fail to print their boarding passes before they arrive at the airport.
The Type-A’s among you might be tempted to defend the good people of Ryanair too, since customers are made aware of this fee-inspired policy before they fly.
But let’s put a dollar amount on the absent mindedness of a traveler who fails to print their boarding pass, shall we? Calculate with me the cost of the labor involved when an inconvenienced airline staffer must pull up the ticket and press print. Or estimate with me the cost of materials–that single sheet of copy paper and six or so inches worth of printed ink.
$1.00 is probably a stretch, given the actual economics of it all, but customers might not flinch at a couple times that. $2.50 or even $5.
$20, on the other hand, would probably be considered an astronomical mark-up for printing that single piece of paper.
Now let’s insert the actual charge: Sorry sir, but you forgot to bring your boarding pass. That’ll be $76.00.
Yep. 76 bucks. Fork it over or don’t get on the plane.
Apparently these mind-boggling fees, lopped onto the bills of absent minded fliers, subsidize the bargains the airline passes onto other travelers who play by the rules.
Bottom line: Instead of a business system where everyone contributes toward the common good, good is accomplished for one customer by heaping bad on another one.
In a world of imperfect humans, though, I wonder if Ryanair has forgotten a reality that doesn’t show up in the fine print: eventually almost everyone will find themselves on the receiving end of their punishing policies. As unreasonable fees impact more of their customer base, and as stunts like this continue to earn the airline bad press around the world, I suspect Ryanair will be among those who pay an astronomical cost.
Sorry, Ryanair. The resulting loss of customers is just policy. You forgot to bring your conscience.
What about you? Do policies like these send you straight to boycotting? Or do you think it’s fair to let the people who follow the rules benefit from the oversights of other travelers? Leave a comment with your reaction.