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Friday, 25 June 2010

How Tired Is Your Pilot? – 8

Anyone wary of taking up the headline prices advertised by the more aggressive budget airlines will not have had their doubts eased following the news that the police had to attend an aircraft at Prestwick Airport (not in Glasgow) yesterday, after passengers became fractious after a four hour wait for a departure slot.

That the flight was bound for Girona (not in Barcelona) is all you need to know: the operator was, of course, Ryanair, the Millwall of air carriers (everybody hates us and we don’t care). The behaviour of the crew, and the following attempt to offload blame and responsibility, are text book Ryanair, and anyone even considering flying with them should know what they may be letting themselves in for.

Take-off had been delayed, following another bout of industrial action by air traffic controllers in France. However, having closed up the aircraft, the crew refused to let anyone get off: this could potentially have delayed departure, should a window of opportunity arise, and for Ryanair, what is operationally convenient for them trumps any consideration for the punters.

Moreover, the crew also refused to issue drinks to the increasingly unhappy passengers: Ryanair’s excuse was that they were bound by regulation not to “open the bars”. This is utter tosh: they could have got water to the punters without “opening the bars”, but, again, this may have been operationally inconvenient, and would have cost Ryanair money.

Ultimately, it was the police that stumped up for water and snacks, so Ryanair dumped their responsibility on the UK taxpayer. And they kept over 160 passengers on board one of their aircraft for six hours before finally taking off. Predictably the carrier has blamed the French industrial action, but once again it is Ryanair’s behaviour that has fallen short.

That behaviour, together with the inability to own up to their own responsibility, and the appalling dumping on the police, can lead to only one conclusion. And that, Michael O’Leary, is that your attitude, and your airline’s service, are not good enough.

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