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SAS uses Facebook to call out Ryanair's 'dirty tricks'

Charlotte Webb · 21 Sep 2009, 18:09

Published: 21 Sep 2009 18:09 GMT+02:00

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Earlier in September, Ryanair announced it was offering SAS executives and board members “free tickets on any of Ryanair’s 100 Nordic routes”.

While Ryanair has since rescinded the offer, SAS Director of Communications and Executive VP, Claus Sonberg, remained eager to take up Ryanair's challenge to “experience how a successful airline operates.”

On Monday, Sonberg boarde a Ryanair flight from the Norwegian capital of Oslo bound for London’s Stansted airport to, as he put it on the SAS Facebook page, “check out how Ryanair really works.”

Throughout the day, as Sonberg published updates of his journey on the SAS Facebook page, he noted a number of unpleasant “surprises” such as charges for baggage and priority boarding.

When all was said and done, Ryanair’s ‘budget’ flight came to 1564 Norwegian kronor ($264), only 354 kronor cheaper than the equivalent SAS flight, an outcome which soured Sonberg on the Ryanair experience.

“A saving of 354NOK does not equate well to all the extra hours of travelling when flying with Ryanair. I had to get up before 6am Oslo time to be in London for a meeting at 1pm, local time,” he wrote on Facebook.

On several occasions, however, Sonberg’s Facebook reports prompted comments which questioned the SAS VP’s account of the trip and directed readers to statements by Ryanair.

The poster of the provocative comments called himself Fletcher Reed, the character played by Jim Carrey in the film 'Liar, Liar'.

In one comment, 'Fletcher' claimed that, on the day that Sonberg's flight was booked, the SAS price for a flight from Oslo to London had actually reached a whopping 3,344 Norwegian kronor, compared with Ryanair's modest fee of 970 kronor.

In another, he quoted an entire Ryanair press release, in which spokesperson Stephen McNamara stated that Sonberg had “saved a fortune” by flying with the Irish airline.

Later on Monday, SAS issued a statement which it linked to from its Facebook page accusing Ryanair of employing a “dirty-trick style” in issuing three inaccurate statements about SAS in three months.

Despite the insinuation by SAS that the mysterious Facebook character was planted by the discount Irish airline, Ryanair’s McNamara denies any involvement in the prank.

Story continues below…

“I'm sure SAS assumes anyone who says anything positive about Ryanair must be working for the company,” he told The Local on Monday, calling SAS’s “high-price model” a failure.

The spat is just the latest in a long-running feud between the two rivals.

Back in July, claims by Ryanair that it had the best record of punctuality, prompted an SAS spokesperson to refer to the company as the “clowns of the airways”.

Charlotte Webb (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

11:30 September 22, 2009 by Thebinary1
I am sure SAS would be quite satisfied with the following:

Q: What is Ryanair?

a. An Irish dude called Ryan who breaks wind

b. A penny pinching airline who pinches all your pennies

c. An Airport Tourism beureau - you get to visit airports you never knew existed

d. An emission unfriendly institution by design
11:51 September 22, 2009 by Leprehcaun
This whole dispute is childish, (DON'T answer this ->) does anyone remember how it all started??
12:16 September 22, 2009 by Thebinary1
Ummm ....

--- Earlier in September, Ryanair announced it was offering SAS executives and board members "free tickets on any of Ryanair's 100 Nordic routes". ---

I guess that is how it started?
14:33 September 22, 2009 by Britswedeguy
If you have the time to spare but not the money - and don't mind being treated like cattle - then go Ryanair.

Personally I'd rather spend the little extra.
15:01 September 22, 2009 by Leprehcaun
@ Thebinary1

This has been going on for much longer than that.
15:50 September 22, 2009 by eZee.se
I think everyone should go on at least one ryanair flight in their life... then they will appreciate "regular" airlines soooo much more and wont take a lot of things that they already do for granted.

Kind of like spend a night or two in jail to see the value of your freedom (not speaking from experience here)


(Not a SAS employee) :))
18:03 September 22, 2009 by justanotherexpat
The old addage of "You get what you pay for!" springs to mind.

WIth Ryanair you get shite service every stage of the way - and you pay for it!!!

They also have a cheek charging you a "card handling fee" when there is quite literally no other way to take advantage of their online "special offers".

They're a joke. At least with SAS you know what you're getting.
14:34 September 23, 2009 by Rick Methven
Just got back from a trip to UK with Ryanair

Skavsta to Stansted and back - 504Kr including card charges, priority boarding, and checked in baggage. Saved so much I was able to buy a couple of bottles of wine on-board at €.35.

Like to see anyone get the same deal with SAS!

40 years ago when I worked at Heathrow we used to have acronyms for all the airlines. the old BOAC (forerunner of BA for you youngsters) was "Better on a Camel" SAS of course was "Sex And Satisfaction". How much satisfaction is there nowadays in paying the rip off prices of SAS for aslightly better experience
21:50 September 23, 2009 by murar1
We should go back a few years when a new budget air travel company called "Laker airways" were hounded out of business before they could make inroads into the passenger flying world by a secret cartel of the then B.O.A.C.. S:A:S:, Lufthansa, and I do believe KLM:

I think SAS. should compete on a more even level. and qqqqqqqqqquietly
21:51 September 24, 2009 by kenny8076
i work at IAD and i know SAS from here to Copenhagen is the most expensive flight out of here, more expensive than the South african flight to Johanisburg. and they use an old beat up Airbus with the paint nearly all chipped off. right now i just checked in the system and i can fly one way from Washington DC to Gothenburg on Oct. 7th on SAS for $2360.37(business is $6,500), or on Lufthansa same date same time for $530, and about $30 more for United flight transferring in Frankfurt. SAS has always been the most expensive here, Lufthansa uses its new Airbus A330 and 747, United uses its fairy new 777's for these flights. I will never fly SAS and from the looks of it no one does in the terminals either
21:02 September 25, 2009 by morchad

This will give you a giggle
09:39 September 28, 2009 by spy
If SAS was cheaper I would use them but at the moment Ryanair are the only real option if you want a bus-priced international flight.

I welcome this spat and hope that it will increase competition and lower flights further.
20:17 January 8, 2010 by sue wardle
i visit sweden quite a lot and have to use ryanair as its the cheapest option. at first i thought that they was ok for a budget airline but nowwith extra charges and cutting the route from birmingham im not happy with them. i would gladly use a different airline if they was cheaper rather than a 3 hour trip turning into a 8 hour trip because i can now only fly from stanstead. please get more competition with you airlines and watch your buisnes grow as we dont all have lots of money for the higher priced flights
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