Flying by the seat of their pants with bounced cheques, strikes and cancelled flights

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UP OR DOWN: Like ´Marmite´, Ryanair is a company you either love or loathe Credit: Shutterstock

FED up with reading about Brexit and all its ups and downs? (Frankly, more downs than ups lately.)

Well, spare a thought for Ryanair – and all its ups and downs. This began last September with CEO Michael O’Leary’s “major boo-boo” with the pilots’ holiday schedules – and 2,000 cancelled flights.

Since then, despite grudgingly recognising the unions, he’s faced even more strikes and cancellations. Passenger compo came via bouncing cheques. And then to hack us all off, yet another change to Ryanair’s carry-on bag rules!

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Ryanair said the policy wasn’t targeted at making money but to “improve punctuality and reduce boarding gate delays”. However, research suggests Ryanair made £1.7bn from charges for add-ons like checked baggage and selected seats in the last year – i.e. almost a third of Ryanair’s profits came from so-called “ancillary revenue”.

Ages ago, I read somewhere about the three dimensions of strategy: technological development, operational excellence and customer satisfaction. Successful companies excel in one, do very well in the second and just keep their fingers crossed with the third.

Goes without saying which is third in Ryanair’s modus operandi! Customers are simply the ways and means to achieving profitable revenue generation. But before we criticise unduly, consider pharmaceutical companies which care little about patients’ health; insurance companies which care little for customers’ welfare; or fast food companies which care little for diners’ tastes and preferences.

Basically, Ryanair is a ‘Marmite’ airline – you either love it or loathe it. Some hate the fact it seems to be constantly itching to “punish” passengers with extra charges, hate the fanfare on landing, and hate the whole experience.

Nonetheless, others insist Ryanair is still (despite all those strikes and cancelled flights) one of the largest airlines on the planet by providing customers with exactly what they want: cheap, safe flights.

Which category are you in?

Not so long ago, I wrote here about airports and all the misery they involve. Seems to me that airports – and airlines – are to peace of mind and relaxation what Trump is to feminism!

Nora Johnson’s psychological crime thrillers ‘The Girl in the Woods’, ‘The Girl in the Red Dress’, ‘No Way Back’, ‘Landscape of Lies’, ‘Retribution’, ‘Soul Stealer’, ‘The De Clerambault Code’ (www.nora-johnson.net) available from Amazon in paperback/eBook (€0.99;£0.99) and iBookstore.All profits to Costa del Sol Cudeca cancer charity

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