By all accounts, they are a horrible airline. Based on the articles I've read, they are in part more horrible than the other airlines because they are trying to operate on even more razor thin margins.
So, first off, paying to fly with them seems to set yourself up for a horrible experience. Of course, perhaps that is all you can afford.
Second, standardizing fees and not allowing exceptions seems not wholly unreasonable as a business practice. (Even George Costanza had trouble with a "death in the family fare" about two decades ago.)
Third, if this guy had been a proper white British gentleman, dressed in a suit, I'd wager they wouldn't have made him pay in the first place. I'd bet there was a mechanism in place for a fare exception that wasn't used.
Ryanair would like to do even worse, but they can't get away with it. What they do get away with, on a daily basis, is bad enough. Anybody who has dealt with them avoids them the next time, when there is a choice.
I used to fly with Ryanair in the early 00's. They didn't seem to be as bad then, and you could get a flight for as low as 5 Euros including taxes, as long as you were happy to pay about 60-100 Euros if you missed our flight. It was about as comfortable as taking a bus for 2-3 hours, which I was fine with (especially as I'd also taken an actual bus to Germany that took more like 24 hours). Nowadays all flights seem to have the same deal for economy flights (albeit with much higher rates), but Ryanair has both raised its prices and made it more annoying to fly with them. About 5 or so years ago they stopped being necessarily the cheapest airline and definitely stopped being the nicest budget airline to fly with. I don't need a meal or too much comfort, but at some point everyone started being treated like cattle (including the staff). I haven't flown with any budget airlines for a few years, but I'm pretty sure Easyjet and Jet2 weren't as bad a few years ago.
I got treated like crap and had to pay a premium to check-in a bag but I saved $10 on the ticket price!
The most efficient businesses leverage the intelligence of their front line workers by allowing them to make decisions on the fly about what looks good for the company, while building workflows and processes which minimise the need for labour to get the job done. Ryanair doesn't seem to be doing that as far as I can see.
My experience with first-class buses recently is making me wonder if flying is really worth it for most domestic flights.
There's a clever psychological trick at the route of Ryanair's nastiness: people react to and talk about their latest public outrage, spreading and reinforcing the idea that they are the crappest of the crap, and if they are crappest then they must be the cheapest (even though they often aren't). Looking for the cheapest flight in Europe, what's the first airline that comes into your head?
Flying Ryanair is a conscious gamble, because you know that if something goes wrong you're screwed - but that said, I've flown with them many times when no-one else offered the route or the price, and nothing ever has gone wrong. I could live without the non-stopping touting of rubbish and their celebratory fanfare when they land on tme (aka do what they're paid for), but aside from that, it's any port in a storm.
I like rather like my freudian 'route'.
By choice, I haven't flown in years. All of the above - except it's not just RyanAir, it's every airline. The only pleasant flight I ever had was on Air France.
Given the circumstances of the neurosurgeon, I have to say it seems equally weird that he even bothers to worry about a charge when his family has just died, which makes this a weak thing to cite i the story. Also, it seems exploitative of his dead family members for you guys to cite that example.
Do people really buy airfare like that? By choosing the airline they think cheapest? Don't they just use Travelocity or Expedia or whatever and have the site find the cheapest fare?
To avoid the pornoscanners at Manchester, I fly Leeds-Bradford to Riga. One airline runs that route. Sigh.
What sort of sick person uses dead family members to get out of paying £160?
A neurosurgeon at that, this obviously wasn't a couldn't get there otherwise deal.
People are pretty low at times.
Here in the U.S. I think literally every airline charges to check in a bag, at least when flying domestic. Not where you are?
You guys have got to stop thinking of airline bag charges as "extra fees" and think of them more as "in-app purchases". Problem solved!
Haha ha ha! After a few times flying SkweezyJet I knew perfectly well what the UK's low-cost airlines were about.
Low cost. Unless you want anything. Air?
I don't fly enough to worry about saving £10 per flight, and I go for the majors - BA, Swissair, Air France. And they treat you nice. Nice, nice, nice.
Life's too short.
My wife flew from the UK to Germany on 10 August 2006. Most UK airports were closed, but she got through because she was flying from East Midlands and not one of the more major ones.
As I learned a couple years ago, almost none of the US domestic carriers have any sort of "emergency bereavement fare." The airline staff was otherwise very accommodating. Afterwards, it was straightforward to request and receive a refund of the return portion of an unused ticket.
With Ryanair, you get a seat and a seatbelt for your ticket price. If they could charge you extra for those, they would. You can also breathe the cabin air provided and bring one item on board. Everything else costs more.