John Foley from the RyanairDontCare campaign asked me “Why do you want to help me and the Week of Action Against Ryanair?” It’s a legitimate question, that has a simple and straightforward answer.
First of all, let me clarify that I have no business relation or affiliation with Ryanair. I have never sold their tickets, nor received any commission or benefit for listing Ryanair flights on LowCostRoutes.com or on any of my websites. I have never worked directly or as a contractor for Ryanair, Crewlink, St.James, Dalmac or Cavok. I did fly with Ryanair more than 10 times, so I can say I am Ryanair a customer. I am a customer who wants to help Ryanair improve.
I personally like Ryanair’s philosophy that “no publicity is bad publicity” and the strange/crazy ideas Michael O’Leary comes up with, not because he actually intends to implement them, but because he wants people and the media to talk about him and his company, thus providing them with free publicity.
I am a fan of low cost airlines, which is why I built a low cost flights website. During the last 5 years I have only flown low costs. I like the price and the philosophy behind their business model, but I do not believe that they should be cheap&profitable at any cost. I believe in low cost airlines that fly to secondary airports, that charge for hold luggage, for airport check-in and for carrying more than 1 piece of hand luggage. I agree with the prices that increase as the flight date gets closer and with the extra charges for priority boarding and extra leg room. I also agree with reasonable payment fees, as long as the airline offers a payment method that if free of charge and that you can actually use (a generic payment method, like “prepaid debit card”, not like “our costly card”). All of the above services represent costs for the airlines, so in my opinion it is OK for companies that operate a low cost business model to offer them as paid optionals in order to be able to provide a cheaper basic service.
Ryanair implemented many features of the low cost business model and this is a good thing. But it is one thing to cut costs by including less services in the base price and it is a totally different thing to cut personnel costs and to have your employees constantly worried about their job security. This can even jeopardize safety in the long run. When it comes to flying, I prefer to be on a plane where I’m cared for by flight attendants, rather than in a flying supermarket, run by salespeople who are worried about reaching about their sales targets. I know that Ryanair can afford to keep ticket prices low only if it makes enough profit from on board sales, but this does not mean that they should measure their employees based on how much they sell and not on their actual performance.
The recruitment companies that hire and train crew members for Ryanair advertise a 95% success rate for their candidates, so it’s easy to imagine that the preliminary crew member selection process is very superficial. Also, according to an analysis conducted by Air-scoop, the exams Ryanair crew members take at the end of their training are not very challenging, which is a very unpleasant finding! At the same time, there are many cases in which employees’ contracts were terminated by Ryanair on insufficient grounds, like their taking sick days. Ryanair has a high turn-over of the personnel. This is probably the result of a strategic decision of the Ryanair management team, aimed at increasing revenue from trainings and is probably the main reason why many people are fired by Ryanair without a valid reason and without any warning or chance to improve their performance. This policy causes distress to the people affected by it when they realise that they were not recruited to be kept, but to be terminated for profit. Ryanair treats their recruits just like a meat farm does when they raise chicken with the sole intention of sacrificing them from profit. Ryanair does not give the people they train a real chance to become long term employees. When one realises this, it’s often too late and they wish not to have applied for the job in the first place. That’s why, I think it’s my duty, as a person who works in this industry, to inform people about this practice and to help them make wise, educated decisions!
In addition, Ryanair is also known for discouraging employees from joining trade unions. By participating in this protest, I hope to help bring about a change in Ryanair’s attitude on this issue as well.
I am a strong believer in ethical business models. In my opinion, Ryanair is not only acting unethically by hiring a large number of people as crew members with the obvious intention of terminating them within the first 12 month, but it is also harming those people and the entire low cost aviation industry:
– as a result of this practice, a large number of trained, jobless crew members end up looking for a job in aviation, which makes it harder for everyone to find a good job.
– every person terminated by Ryanair will probably tell their story to friends and family, who will lose trust not only in Ryanair, but in the low cost industry as a whole.
– by continuing these practices, Ryanair makes unfair competition to the other low cost airlines that try to conduct ethical business.
For all of the above reasons, I have decided to take part in the “week of action against Ryanair” and to boycott Ryanair by informing visitors who wish to book their flights of these unethical practices, rather than sending them directly to the Ryanair website. I also encourage other people in the industry to join our efforts of informing travellers about the bad treatment of employees by Ryanair.