I got a Ryanair flight from Dublin to Manchester last Friday. It came at the very end of one of the most turbulent week's in the company's history, which is saying something considering their past relationship with their own customers and the media.
As we landed 10 minutes ahead of schedule the whole plane broke out in applause. The most Irish of tradition led by a party of 50 boisterous teenagers in sporting tracksuits.
The hooter did its annoying thing and off we all trundled, just another 200 folk out of the 130 million passengers Ryanair will carry this year.
— Ryanair (@Ryanair) October 2, 2017
Now, if you were to believe the online vitriol and negative press Ryanair received last week they'll be going out of business in 2018.
People have finally had enough.
The chickens have come home to roost and Michael O'Leary's budget airline baby will wither and die, finished off with him being guillotined on O'Connell Street. The gig is finally up.
Unfortunately for the naysayers, that's just bullshit.
Ryanair will not only get over this, they'll continue to prosper and grow. The simple reason is down to basic economics and you as a customer.
— Dominic O'Connell (@dominicoc) October 3, 2017
We all like cheap stuff. That's why capitalism works and has thrived for so long.
When Johnny puts his kids on a flight to see their grandparents it's with Ryanair. When Mary wants a bit of sun in the South of Spain she looks around but always books with Ryanair. Better an extra €150 in the pocket when you get there than a couple of inches extra leg room on the way over.
Deep down we all know that some of the shoes we wear have been made in sweat shops. We know that our phones are cheap because some people work 16 hour days making them for peanuts. We know that many of the companies whose services we use don't pay proper tax. The media tell us this stuff all the time in shocking exposes and we feign outrage but we just can't help ourselves.
We are all rampant consumers.
The irony is that the real outrage only starts when these cheap services are taken away from us or business models change to help the employees. When UBER is banned in London. When Ryanair has to cancel flights. When MyTaxi add a €2 booking charge.
We feign huge moral outrage about low wages for drivers or poor working conditions for pilots. Really? When was the last time you spoke to a pilot? Popped your head in to see if everything was OK? Have you ever even met a Ryanair pilot? Truth be told, people couldn't care any more about pilots than they do about the person sewing stitches into your new designer jeans in Bangladesh.
All you care about is getting you and your bottle of cheap vodka over to Portugal as fast as possible for the lowest possible price.
Some thoughts on Uber, Ryanair and the importance of reputation... https://t.co/W1tjSdJC46
— Robert Lester (@Robert_Lester) October 3, 2017
As I stepped off my flight I looked around, and at least I was being honest with myself. I knew the pilots getting us there were not that well paid. I know perfectly well the cabin crew have to buy their own uniforms and have sales targets on scratch cards.
Just like every single one of those staff members I had a choice though. I could choose to fly Ryanair or pay €150 more elsewhere. They could choose to work somewhere else too. Everybody was on that full plane by their own choice. There were no hostages.
You'll all continue to moan about Ryanair. Tweet in disgust. Pontificate at dinner parties about working conditions and Michael O'Leary. But when it comes down to it, you'll still book with Ryanair because they are much, much cheaper.
Deep down you love them and their service because of what it does for you as a selfish consumer of cheap goods.
You just don't admit it.