Ryanair’s O’Leary has the measure of the Irish people.

Michael O'Leary deals with another customer complaint.

Michael O'Leary deals with another customer complaint.

Ryanair’s foulmouthed CEO Michael O’Leary gets savaged at least once a year when Ryanair treats a customer “unfairly”. This is where someone usually misses one of Ryanair’s many conditions and it ends up with the customer paying out an eye-watering penalty fee. In short, Ryanair’s customer service policy seems to be “We obey the law. You didn’t read the conditions. F**k you.”

What’s interesting about this is that O’Leary has reinvented the concept of traditional customer service, by recognising what customers want even more than they recognise it themselves. We’ve all been screwed over once by Ryanair, and yet most of us continue to use them because he gets us to where we want to go cheaply and without killing us or making us go through intolerable conditions. Instead, we study our tickets and conditions like hawks to stop the bastards catching us out, and as a result, we get cheap tickets for the most part.

In short, O’Leary has called the Irish bullshit bluff, and faced us down. Given the huge amounts of negative publicity the airline gets from this, and the novel approach of the CEO calling some of its passengers “idiots”, traditional PR practice will tell you that he should apologise or suffer huge drops in business. But he doesn’t, because for all the guff and bull we go on about dignity and enough is enough we only really give a damn about the money in our arse pocket. Where is the massive drop in former Ryanair customers who will “never again” use Ryanair? There are some, but in the grand scheme of things, not enough to matter. If Michael O’Leary stood at the door of one of his planes and said “Good morning fuckface” to people as they boarded the plane, they’d still board and use the plane, bitching about how he had spoken to them. This guy has the measure of us.

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