Um...what? You are holding this blog upside down.
Tis the season for fooling. It is hard to know what is true and what is not true on this day. Some airlines have really gotten into it and come up with great April Fool’s news stories. Who says airlines can’t have a sense of humor? Here are the ones I have found so far:
* Air New Zealand promoted their new pay per pound program, which I have stated previous, it might actually work
* Ryanair will start child-free flights
* easyJet announced the new royal couple will be flying them and honeymooning in Scotland
* WestJet will be adding helium to their aircraft to reduce weight
* Southwest now is able to travel through time and they brought a video back to prove it
* Air France will start Jupiter flights starting Bastille Day
* Swiss Air Lines will hand out different types of chocolate depending on your flier status
* Virgin Atlantic is to have fresh produce and herbs in upper class
* Virgin America announces Sir Richard Branson buys Pluto and re-instates it as a planet
* JetBlue is to get rid of free snacks, DirectTV, direct flights and more (via @hbaskas)
If you run into any more April Fool’s jokes done by airlines (or airline-related) let me know and I will add it to the list with a little shout out to you.
Ryanair Boeing 737
Yesterday Ryanair “officially” announced that they will start offering child-free flights starting in October. Is this real or another free-publicity tactic by Ryanair? Well, the catch is that Ryanair might be crazy enough to do this. However, the fact that it is April Fools day tomorrow, makes me suspect this might all be a ruse. Also take into account that they have a history of pulling April Fools jokes in the past, from providing moon flights, offering first class seating and selling porn on board, Ryanair has been a fun little jokster.
Don’t get me wrong, this is genius marketing. First you get media outlets to report on the story, creating buzz and free advertising. Then, after it is announced it was a joke, there is another round of free advertising, saying it wasn’t true and how silly Ryanair is being. I was able to get an official copy of the press release, but I haven’t been able to get any confirmation from them that this is an April Fools joke. Sure, maybe this is real, but I am willing to bet that it is not. Since the press release itself is so entertaining, I want to share it with you all:
RYANAIR TO INTRODUCE ‘CHILD FREE’ FLIGHTS
Ryanair, the world’s favourite airlines, today announced that it will introduce ‘Child Free’ flights from October (winter schedule) after a Europe-wide survey of 1,000 passengers showed that half would pay higher fares to avoid other people’s children. The survey showed that a third of passengers (36%) have had flights ‘ruined’ by other people’s noisy kids with one in five passengers (18%) urging Ryanair to restrict the number of children on flights.
While the survey found that passengers would prefer to avoid other people’s children, it placed ‘blame’ firmly with parents with top gripes being:
- 50% Parents who expect ‘special treatment’ because they have children.
- 25% Parents who allow children to annoy those in seats behind.
- 15% Parents who board late and expect others to accommodate them.
- 10% Parents who allow children to run in the aisles or kick seats.
Ryanair’s Stephen McNamara said:
“When it comes to children we all love our own but would clearly prefer to avoid other people’s little monsters when travelling. While half our passengers would like us to divide our cabins up into ‘adult’ and ‘family’ areas it is not operationally possible due to our free seating policy, with optional priority boarding. However, with clear demand for ‘child free’ flights Ryanair will introduce child free flights on high frequency routes from the start of our winter schedule in October.”
So what do you think? Real or fake? Would you like to see child free flights?
Ryanair Boeing 737-800 (EI-DHK)
It has been quite some time since I last talked about one of my favorite airlines: Ryanair. Last time I pointed out how Ryanair was actually talking about becoming a more mature airline. Their CEO, Michael O’Leary was touting what they can offer passengers versus being the lowest cost airline possible. Although they aren’t getting attention over a crazy new fee idea, they are in some hot water for an old fee.
If you think the fees of airlines in the United States are crazy, you might be a little shocked to see how Ryanair does business. Having to pay $45 for a checked in bag on Spirit Airlines? Ha… That is amateur night. The fee in question is the ability to print your boarding pass at the airport. If you do not manage to print it at home, you are looking at a €40 (about $54.00) fee.
Do not get me wrong, that is a lot of money for a very simple process, but it is a part of the process — this is how Ryanair works. You get super dirt cheap tickets and then fees for pretty much everything else outside of moving your bottom from one part of the world to another. This is their business model and it is very successful for them. The more people check in at home, the less kiosks and employees they need at the airport, reducing costs and reducing ticket fares. Although fees can be annoying, Ryanair is quite clear of their policies and they pass down the savings to the customers. If you do not like the policies of the airline, don’t fly the airline.
Anyhow, a Spanish judge has now ruled that this fee is “unfair.” This all started with a passenger named Dan Miro, took a Ryanair flight back in May 2009. He missed the part where he should print his boarding pass at home and was quite upset when he found out how much he had to pay at the airport. It just so happened that Miro is a Spanish lawyer and instead of taking the blame for not realizing his mistake, he decided to take Ryanair to court.
Ryanair argued they are a low cost carrier and do things differently than other airlines. However, the judge wouldn’t hear it and decided that the airline is responsible for printing boarding passes, since that is the way it works. Ryanair sees the boarding pass just like an ID. You need an ID to fly and if you forget it at home, you just don’t get to fly. Instead of leaving a passenger high and dry if they forget their boarding pass, the airline will allow passengers to print it out at the airport… for a fee. Although a very different procedure from most airlines, this really isn’t all that crazy. An airline is not allowed to try to do things differently without fear of being taken to court?
Ryanair states that if they have to stop charging a fee for printing boarding passes, they might just not offer to print them at the airport at all. How lame would that be? I might start sounding like a broken record here, but if you do not like the fees of one airline, do not fly it. Use your cash to give your vote. So many people talk about hating fees, yet they they see that super low price, they cannot help themselves. Always reminds me of the quote, “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.”
What are your thoughts? Is this a fee that has come too far? Do you think a US carrier might try this fee someday? Should US carriers be sued for the fees they already have?
Source: Irish Times via Air Observer Image: wico
Ryanair Boeing 737-800 (EI-EKK) at Boeing Field before being delivered to Ryanair
Ryanair’s CEO Michael O’Leary is known for saying crazy things. Standing seats, paid toilets and more recently flying with only one pilot. This bizarre approach gets him and Ryanair a lot of free publicity. It is a genius way to do things, because it works.
Well O’Leary recently said some very interesting things that was reported by The Guardian and he isn’t getting much attention. It is odd because this is some of O’Leary’s craziest stuff ever: he wants Ryanair to improve in quality.
He told the Guardian that he feels Ryanair is maturing and with growth, they need a new strategy and a new leader. O’Leary feels that the airline needs to talk more about what they can offer versus being the cheapest airline at all costs.
Whoa! What? Does that mean no more crazy rants? Well don’t get too excited, because even though he says he should leave, he also says he won’t leave until the airline doubles in size.
O’Leary stated, “When we are twice the size we are now, at around 400 aircraft, then the growth rate slows down to 2% or 3% per year. The shareholders will want a return. You will need a different management then. We won’t need my dog and pony show, which is about generating publicity. Every company has to move from being the high-growth Robin Hood.”
Well, at least he knows his shenanigans is just a show.
Ryanair has already been moving into larger airports and away from their small airport game plan. They say they want to bring up their image, but I am almost thinking they just want to bring up the price of a ticket and increase their profit.
Love Ryanair or hate them, they have a model that works. They can do almost whatever they want because they charge so little? Why change something that works? If they move out of the crazy realm, I am sure other airlines would be more than happy to step up. Image: Drewski2112