I love Ryanair. Personally I have never flown them, but I have absolute respect for what they are able to accomplish. They provide sub-par customer service (and are almost proud of it), charge for everything, fly to smaller airports, but are one of the most popular airlines in the world. They charge customers to call their customer service hotline and are well known for almost never giving refunds. Yet, they provide super low fares and passengers keep flying them. I talk over and over again how powerful this business model is and how someday it might come to the United States. Passengers complain about bad service and fees, but they keep dealing with it, as long as they get the cheapest fare. How can we hold Ryanair responsible if people are willing to pay? I can’t, but I sure can blog about their shenanigans.
Ryanair will announce crazy things and sit around while the world media talks about it and gives them free press. I know I am guilty of this as well, but they provide such great material. Trying to get a comment from them, especially as a blogger, is nearly impossible. I have tried to make contact with Ryanair on multiple occasions with no luck.
This is why I was so giddy to see an email from Stephen McNamara, Head of Communications for Ryanair, in my inbox this morning. Yes, it goes to insult my integrity as a blogger, but man oh man, it was a welcomed surprise. Ryanair was actually talking to me…something not many bloggers can say!
So where to start?
A while back I blogged about Ryanair ditching passengers at a wrong destination with no help. Looks like I might have been wrong and I for that. I stated that due to weather, the Ryanair flight was diverted to Fuerteventura and then took off leaving the passengers stranded. McNamara corrects me:
“Ryanair flight FR 6766 Bournemouth – Lanzarote (17 Feb) diverted to Fuerteventura due to bad weather in Lanzarote. Ferries between the islands, which are used for the onward transportation of passengers in such cases, were also affected by high winds so passengers were provided with EU261 information which outlines their entitlement to provide receipted hotel expenses to Ryanair, for refund. Ryanair arranged ferries to carry affected Ryanair passengers to Lanzarote free of charge when ferries recommenced the following morning. Ryanair apologises to passengers for any inconvenience caused but can never put passenger convenience before passenger safety.”
No problem! I have recently heard from other sources that it seems there was one very unhappy passenger that turned this small story into Ryanair bashing. I have updated my blog, but in my defense, major news organizations were covering this, like the BBC for example.
Ok enough of the background information, let’s get to the fun parts of the blog. McNamara actually didn’t email me directly at first, but wrote to the Seattle Post Intelligencer, where my blog is syndicated. The syndication just pulls my RSS feed and they have no responsibility for my content, so passed the message on to me. In his first email McNamara states, “This blogger clearly likes to express his opinion without undertaking any research (to the detriment of professional bloggers who research their pieces and do not simply type the first stupid idea that comes into their head) I ask that this blog be removed.” Haha, that’s right, he said, “stupid idea,” man I love Ryanair. You know, writing about stupid and crazy ideas like charging for bathrooms, talking about “BJ’s” on flights, letting passengers smoke, making passengers stand to fly, and many more.
If I got this email from any other airline I would be horrified. I always try to keep positive when talking about airlines and have a professional relationships with the airlines I work with. Getting this from Ryanair is a total compliment in my mind. They are the elusive airline, that any blogger would love to have communication with. They are well known for brushing off bloggers as a waste of time. To know that McNamara is actually reading my blog and enough to write two emails responding to it… all I can say is, how awesome.
The Seattle PI, very professionally let McNamara know that they have no control over my content and since I am an independent blogger, he needs to write me directly. McNamara’s didn’t like that so much and wrote to both of us. His reply is so priceless, I just have to post the whole thing:
“Your answer is less than satisfactory and it is a damming indictment of the Seattlepi.com that you would allow clearly incorrect and biased information appear and remain on your site – brushing this off as an issue for the publisher is simply rubbish – it is on your site, you are the publisher.
If you were contacted by a reader over an article which contained racist or foul language for example, I am sure you would have the power to remove or edit the piece. Far from this simply being an issue for the independent publisher it is also your responsibility, as the site hosting the information. You are responsible for what appears on you site – David simply writes his opinions, as he is entitled to do – your site allows that opinion to be broadcast to the world.
I have cc’d this to David as instructed – however this underlines how irresponsible blogging and irresponsible hosting of such blogs, which fail to look at facts but simply provide biased opinion, undermines the worth of all blogs – to the detriment of those bloggers who display journalistic integrity and provide balance.
Head of Communications”
Classic :). What is great is there is no comment about any of my other Ryanair posts or my Crazier Than Ryanair Medal, which I have plenty. I am hoping this means McNamara is open for me emailing him directly to “research” any future blogs I write about Ryanair — I am good with that.Orig Image: Gerry Hill