In the news again this week for all the wrong reasons, and over something that could have been avoided if only their spokesman had engaged brain before shooting his mouth off, are our old friends at Ryanair, the Millwall of air carriers (everybody hates us and we don’t care).
Michael O’Leary’s finest were relieved of 80,000 Euro after a Dublin court jury agreed that a post on the company’s website had defamed former Miss World Rosanna Davison, daughter of Lady In Red man Chris de Burgh. Ms Davison had been asked to comment on the absence of any Irish representation on Ryanair’s 2009 cabin crew calendar, and her reply clearly irked the company.
But all she said was that, had she been organising it, she would have made sure there was some Irish representation, because an Irish charity was involved. And of course Ryanair is an Irish company. That’s her opinion to which she is entitled, but Ryanair’s pet loudmouth Stephen McNamara, wanting to milk the occasion, decided to put the boot in.
So he announced that Ms Davison’s comments “bordered on racism and demonstrated an elitist attitude against Ryanair’s international cabin crew”. This is a characteristic and unnecessary reaction, although the intention – usually successful – is to get cheap publicity for the carrier. The problem is that, having got their slice of attention, Ryanair then refused to back down.
So it is entirely their fault that the matter ended up in court, where they deservedly lost. Even then, McNamara told anyone who would listen that Ryanair would be appealing the decision. Happily, though, once the company had thought about it, they decided the cost of that appeal would be more than the award and so decided not to take the matter further.Of course, they could have avoided the expense by not being so unpleasant in the first place, but that is not the Ryanair way, and neither is publicising anything that reflects badly on them: thus far (1620 hours 28 August), the news has not appeared on their website.