Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Ryanair and hidden charges

Ryanair's Chief Executive, Michael O'Leary
After Monday's BBC’s Panorama programme with its “hatchet job” and “lies” (Ryanair’s terms), the Daily Telegraph on Wednesday reported that "the smile is back on the face of the airline’s foul-mouthed boss."

“We’d like to thank BBC Panorama for giving us this heaven-sent publicity opportunity during one of the shittiest times of the year,” a beaming Michael O’Leary said at a press conference in London on Tuesday.

The newspaper said that even before the programme aired on Monday, the Ryanair Pravda machine had cranked into overdrive with various pre-emptive howitzers.

Not least that the BBC hacks had flown with the wrong airline to doorstep O’Leary in Dublin. “If you are investigating Ryanair, the least you can do is bloody fly on us to interview me,” he chortles. “This is why the BBC finances are in such a mess. They prefer to have their fries and sausages with the two other people flying on the route with British Midland.”

A key allegation was familiar. That Ryanair’s ever-expanding extra charges - - check-in, baggage, booking et al - - mislead and infuriate its passengers

Michael O'Leary denied to the BBC that he had shook hands on a deal with John Leahy, Airbus' chief commercial officer, in 2001 and then went to negotiate with Boeing.

Maybe or maybe not.

O'Leary also rejected claims on hidden charges.

The last time I flew with Ryanair, I was trying to book a flight from Dublin to Cork two years ago, with an Irish issued credit card but an overseas address.

The website had limited system had a limited number of countries on a drop-down menu and "other."

The screen jammed and I had no option but to select "other" and in the final charge, there was a €12 credit card processing fee for charging a cast of about €20.

BBC video of interview with Michael O'Leary

Finfacts report: Why hate Ryanair? BBC's Panorama asks Monday; Michael O'Leary condemns ‘Hatchet Job’ agenda