In a podcast presented by the Norwegian Sovereign Wealth Fund’s manager Nicolai Tangen, Ryanair owner Michael O’Leary stated that he wouldn’t accept Norwegian Air Shuttle as a gift if it was given to him. Obviously, the Ryanair owner hates Norwegian. But Norwegians hate Ryanair too. Why?
Last month, I booked a cheap Ryanair fare without knowing what I was in for. I learned the hard way why Ryanair has such cheap fares. I should have known better, but who could imagine it was so bad.
I arrived at the counter in Vilnius, Lithuania to book into my flight with hand luggage only. The girl at the counter asked me friendly, “Have you checked in, sir?” “No,” I said, “that’s why I’m standing here.”
It turned out that new rules from Ryanair coming into effect for departures from June 13, 2018 state that you’ll have to check-in from your hotel using the app or on the Ryanair website. If not, Ryanair will charge you 55 euros for the privilege.
It wasn’t the counter girl’s fail, so I paid the fee, but I had my own thoughts about Ryanair, as so many other flyers. On the Trustpilot website 84% said that they were not at all pleased with Ryanair.
Investing in Norwegian is like catching a falling knife
Although Ryanair is notorious among European travelers for henpecking its customers with extra fees – they view it as a necessary evil if you’re desperate for savings. Not everyone in the world knows about just how bad the airline can be.
It is also not the first time that the Ryanair owner has made a critical statement about Norwegian. In a 2018 TV interview with Bloomberg, in connection with Ryanair’s annual report, Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary said, “Some compare investing in Norwegian to catching a falling knife.” He singled out the rise in oil prices as the central factor in Norwegian’s problems.
For a number of years, O’Leary has made predictions about when Norwegian would go bankrupt.
In 2007, he said that Norwegian is too small internationally to manage on its own. Same year, the Norwegian Consumer Council questioned that Ryanair advertised using the claim, “Guarantee for the lowest price – If you find a lower price than with Ryanair, we will refund double the difference”. At the bottom of the ads it said in small print, “Price guarantee is according to rules and conditions, as described on ryanair.com.”
In 2009, he predicted Norwegian bankruptcy within five years.
2015, A profitable year for Norwegian
In 2017, he stated that Norwegian is groping around blindly and will run out of cash within four to five months.
In 2018, he stated the same. It was the same year that Ryanair dropped its physical check-ins at all airports.
Does Ryanair care about its passengers?
Professional travelers as well as private consumers have for many years complained about Ryanair’s behavior.
In 2004, a member of the Flightsim forum wrote, “Fortunately, there are many different types of low-cost companies. Personally, I will probably never use Ryanair. But there are companies such as Sterling and Norwegian which actually have very competitive prices.”
In 2012, the German group Siemens was boycotting Ryanair demanding better safety for the passengers of the Irish airline.
In 2013, the Norwegian Trade Union claimed that ‘as wages and working conditions are so bad, Ryanair should not be allowed to start up domestic routes in Norway.”
In 2017, a member of an Internet forum on flying wrote, “The worst airline I have ever been on. NEVER again that airline. Unbelievably rude and extremely uninterested. Waited for hours to book in, and when it was finally my turn, she said at the counter that I was in the wrong place, but that was the only place you could book in. And then there was another forever long queue, and I had to pay a lot of money even though I had paid money a long time ago for the booking.”
Last month a post on Facebook said, “As close to fraud as it is possible to get. On the booking side, Ryanair appears flexible with the option to change tickets almost up to departure. It does not say that such a change triggers a fee, which in our case would have been far higher than what the new tickets would have cost.
This is hidden away in the terms that very few people read, and only appears when you try to change it. For us, the financial loss is not significant, but it is very provocative that such a large company is actively trying to deceive its customers. We therefore dropped Ryanair and chose to use a serious player. Steer clear if you don’t like being scammed.”
Simultaneously, a review on Tripadvisor uttered, “Pure fraud. Have a house in Abruzzo and planned to test out Ryanair on the return to Norway as they are one of the very few companies that fly to/from Pescara. One attempt was not carried out, and unfortunately, we must continue to use the airport in Rome.
On the booking page of Ryanair, it appears that they are flexible and that you can change the ticket almost all the way up to departure. That this triggers a fee that is far higher than the ticket price, you will only be told if you familiarize yourself with the details of the conditions, or if you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of having to change the ticket. Now I understand why Ryanair has such a bad reputation. The company clearly emphasizes deceiving its customers as much as possible. Miserable!»
This article is full of warnings about Ryanair, but everything boils down to how the airline tackle the criticism. It first slyly tries to blame European airline regulation for the disservice, but ultimately, the response is as legally airtight as it is repugnant:
“As you did not comply with our Terms and Conditions, this penalty was correctly charged.”
Have a pleasant flight!
Ryanair Owner Hates Norwegian – Norwegians Hate Ryanair, written by Tor Kjolberg
Feature image (on top) © Sandefjord Lufthavn