Another April Fool Joke That Isn’t

The world’s favourite airline, Ryanair, (well that is how they style themselves although passengers may disagree) has issued a press release championing itself as helping its passengers. They are urging passengers to travel light during peak Summer months. Is this an educational campaign they are running? Are they suggesting we pack more carefully? Are they saying they that we don’t need to, maybe, take everything with us when we travel? Do we really need to take a spare change of underwear? Such thoughtfulness deserves our thanks for the concern they have on our behalf.

And how do they propose to encourage us to travel lighter?

The cynical amongst you may already have an answer. And that is, putting it politely, by raising prices for checked-in baggage by a whopping 33.3% during July and August. So at the busiest time of the year; at the only time during Summer when families can take school age children away, Ryanair helps by making us pay more. How helpful of them. I defy anybody, even me, to be able to pack enough for a one or two week holiday into just carry-on luggage.

Stephen McNamara claims in the press release that “Ryanair is determined to incentivise passengers.” I thought incentives meant providing carrots rather than sticks. Then he suggests that 70% of passengers won’t pay because they don’t take hold baggage with them. He is probably right. Across an entire year 70% of passengers probably don’t take hold baggage. But during peak holiday time I suspect his figures are inaccurate.

More money then for Ryanair coffers just after they announced (on all days April 1st) that their profit-after tax- is likely to be not less than €310 million for the year ended 31st March 2009 just 2 months after they said it would be €275 million. Making €35 million extra profit after tax in just two months only makes me wonder whether Ryanair is a money making machine that just happens to have the inconvenience of having to move passengers.

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