Apparently, Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary doesn’t catch much news. If he did, maybe he’d understand that mega-earning CEOs aren’t exactly popular right now, and that calling customers “idiots” and scoffing that they deserve to pay hefty fees isn’t a wise PR move.
Regardless, O’Leary did indeed call his customers “idiots” this week, specifically referencing those who forget to print their boarding passes before arriving at the airport, resulting in a 60-euro fee. The situation came about after a customer paid roughly $380 to get her family back home to Britain, subsequently complaining about the fees on Facebook to wide public attention. O’Leary issued a cold response to the woman’s complaints:
“We think Mrs. McLeod should pay 60 euros for being so stupid,” O’Leary told The Telegraph. “She wasn’t able to print her boarding card because, as you know, there are no Internet cafes in Alicante, no hotels where they could print them out for you, and you couldn’t get to a fax machine so some friend at home can print them and fax them to you.”
NBC notes that even after a day to cool off, O’Leary didn’t exactly soften his remarks: He just moved them from the one woman to his customers at large.
“I was not calling her stupid, but all those passengers are stupid who think we will change our policies or our fees,” he told the Irish Independent.
Ryanair has been criticized for running something of a “gotcha”-dependent business. The airline has invented several sneaky airline fees regarding extra bags, exit row seat preference, and the company has even famously threatened to enforce a fee for using the bathroom.
What do you think? Is it fair for Ryanair to impose these fees, so long as they are disclosed as some argue? Or is Ryanair’s CEO Michael O’Leary out of touch?
Also, Google Michael O’Leary in “Images” when you get a spare moment.