A Flying Leopard Cannot Change Its Spots

A few short years ago, amid great fanfare, Ryanair announced to the world that it was changing the way it did business. Changing its spots, if you will. The airline, declared Mr. O’Leary, would “try to eliminate things that unnecessarily piss people off”.

Apparently, this change of heart was due to some significant shareholders being worried about the capacity of one of the world’s biggest airlines to grow yet further under its previous ‘customer service’ regime. Read this 2013 Conor Pope article.

Now, I should declare at the outset that I’m a huge fan of Ryanair and thank it enormously for the massive expansion in the number of destinations we can all fly to non-stop from Ireland and, of course, for its low fares. The over-the-top rules and regulations that characterised its modus operandi never really bothered me. Indeed, I specifically bought a cabin bag that didn’t break its dimensions rule. I never allowed it to weigh more than the permitted 10kg. I never put a bag in the hold.

But this year has seen that, it would appear, a flying leopard cannot change its spots.

flying leopard cannot change its spots
Screengrab of Ryanair’s Website

Just a few short years into its new cuddly, friendly skin, Ryanair has reverted to type with its new, unnecessary splitting of groups (often, families) that book but don’t choose the option to pay for allocated seats.

So, off to Girona we went this summer without taking up this option and, lo and behold, we were placed all over the plane. Not even two of the five of us were on the same row, on either the outward or homebound legs. And all the other families around us were complaining of the same. For that matter, neither flight was full, so that wasn’t the reason. Clearly, it’s policy. In the past, we never once paid for priority boarding or seat allocation, yet always got to sit together. No longer so, it would seem.

Conor Pope wrote about this in the Irish Times in June 2017.

Luckily, our youngest is now 13, so it’s not a big deal for us.

You’ve heard it before, “don’t over-promise and under-deliver”.

In your marketing communications, if you make some sort of promise or declaration about your customer service and the experience your customers will have, be sure that your customers will indeed have that experience.

Oh, and try not to unnecessarily piss people off.

And I haven’t even mentioned the outrageous cancellation of hundreds of flights this autumn …

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