So the BBC Panorama programme has been investigating Ryanair and is about to run a programme all about how the airline works.
And boss Mr O’Leary doesn’t like it. In particular, he objects to the fact that the Panorama folks wouldn’t interview him for the programme – but only if they met his demands not to edit the interview, or to run the interview live. Sorry, but if you want unedited airtime, it’s called an ad – and you can buy the right to run those between the programmes on commercial TV!
What are we about to be told we didn’t know? Ryanair specialises in challenging the norm in its industry. It claims to have the lowest fares; it has salami sliced pricing which confuses this claim; it trys to get the customer to do everything except drive the plane; it has public rows with airports over landing fees; it is ruthless. And these different ways of doing things annoy some folk, while others who get very cheaply from A to B are happy with the deal.
Personally, my view is tempered by a trip to Venice (well, an airport some way off) when we pre-booked a hire car with Ryanair. Having landed, the car hire guy simply didn’t have a car for us – the airport was so small, the cars were only delivered individually for customers, and ours had been forgotten. We got a cab to the nearest town, a room for the night, and had to organise another hire car from someone else; a fair few incidental expenses. And trying to get a refund from Ryanair was a nightmare in practice.
To quote John Ruskin: “It’s unwise to pay too much, but it’s also unwise to pay too little. When you pay too much, you lose a little money – that’s all.
When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing you bought it to do.
The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot. It can’t be done. If you buy the cheapest, it’s well to add something for the risk you take. And if you do that, you will have enough money to pay for something better.”