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Swedish consumer group 'a bunch of idiots': Ryanair CEO

David Landes · 24 Nov 2009, 16:16

Published: 24 Nov 2009 16:16 GMT+01:00

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At a press conference in Stockholm, O’Leary explained that free toilets are a drain on Ryanair’s bottom line.

“They don’t generate any money,” he said, according to the E24 business news website.

“We don’t want the money either, but are interested in using the toilet space for extra seats in the plane…we have to think differently if we’re going to keep our prices low.”

O’Leary likened charging for a trip to the bathroom to charging for checked baggage, arguing that passengers may be happy to relieve themselves in airports prior to boarding if they knew it would save them some money.

The Ryanair CEO also had choice words for Sweden’s National Board for Consumer Complaints (Allmänna reklamationsnämnden – ARN) in the wake of a recent decision by the agency against the airline.

“ARN are a bunch of idiots who refuse to follow EU regulations,” said O’Leary, according to the TT news agency.

The criticism comes after ARN ordered Ryanair to pay a family 11,000 kronor ($1,600) in compensation after they were left on the ground in Gothenburg in April.

The family and several other passengers were waiting for their flight to London at Gothenburg City Airport, Ryanair’s normal port of call in Gothenburg. But due to bad weather, the plane instead landed nearly 40 kilometres away at Landvetter airport.

While officials at Gothenburg City Airport were willing to transport passengers to Landvetter to board the flight, Ryanair refused to cover the costs, according to the Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) newspaper.

The plane eventually departed for London from Landvetter, but without any passengers onboard.

While Ryanair agreed to cover the 5,000 kronor cost of the family’s airfare, the airline refused to compensate them for football tickets and hotel bookings in London which went unused because of the missed flight.

According to ARN, the airline failed to do enough to avoid causing the family economic harm by not purchasing flights for them on another airline – a line of reasoning with which O’Leary doesn’t agree.

Story continues below…

“We think ARN is wrong and is misleading Swedish consumers. We’re not playing a PR game, we actually compensated people. We couldn't care less if it hurts us or not because ARN is wrong,” he said, according to E24.

“66 million passengers can’t be wrong.”

O’Leary added that Ryanair is currently in discussions with airports in Gothenburg and Skavsta, south of Stockholm, about adding five or six new routes to destinations in France, Italy, and Spain some time next year.

David Landes (david.landes@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

21:16 November 24, 2009 by Pierse
O'Leary what an idiot. He introduced flights from Dublin to Sturup which were very successful. Unless he fills his flights to 100% capacity he pulls them. It least Norwegian Air are now flying to Copenhagen for less than Ryanair. It takes the same time from there to Malmo as it did from Sturup Airport.
23:38 November 24, 2009 by eZee.se
> Unless he fills his flights to 100% capacity he pulls them.

Didnt know that, will add it to my list of "why not to fly with RyanAir".

00:42 November 25, 2009 by Beynch
Hey O'Leary! Watch me! Next time I'm on one of yours, I'll personally see to it that you get both urin and fecal matter on your seats. You can consider it a threat! - What a load of crock!
07:59 November 25, 2009 by Iraniboy
ARN is absolutely right!
09:04 November 25, 2009 by Rick Methven
"At a press conference in Stockholm, O'Leary explained that free toilets are a drain on Ryanair's bottom line.

"They don't generate any money," he said, according to the E24 business news website.

"We don't want the money either, but are interested in using the toilet space for extra seats in the plane…we have to think differently if we're going to keep our prices low."

Charging for use of the toilet or removing them would actually reduce Ryanairs revenue.

The few Euros that he might get from desperate passengers would be a drop in the ocean compared to the loss of bar sales from the passengers who will not buy a beer of coffee because of a fear they may need to go to the loo.

Unless the whole cabin is re-engineered at great expense, he could only get 1 or 2 extra seats in place of the aft toilet. The forward toilet could not be used a seating for legal/safety reasons.

Cautionary tale:

In the 60's a British charter airline Channel Air, removed toilets on it Trident aircraft to make way for more seats.

They went bust soon afterwards
09:27 November 25, 2009 by skatty
It's a great idea to use toilet space for extra seats, but what happen if somebody get diarrhea on the fly! What will generate then on the seat?
10:00 November 25, 2009 by Osokin
An institution like the mile high club must not disappear.
10:21 November 25, 2009 by Rick Methven
'An institution like the mile high club must not disappear'

Been there,done that got the teeshirt
20:18 November 25, 2009 by peropaco
Nowadays Ryanair is no cheaper than SAS or any other airlines flying out from Stockholm. By the time they finish nickel and diming you, your prices has surpassed those of the other carrier. The airports are a schlep, you cannot recline the plastic seats and you are in a constant run to try to be in front.
09:29 November 26, 2009 by ratsears
Unfortunately SAS may offer tickets at more or less the same price as Ryan Air. But the difference is that Ryan Air is highly profitable, whilst SAS is almost bankrupt and up for sale if anybody wants it.
11:09 November 26, 2009 by Streja
It's not right to call it a Consumers group...ARN is actually a state authority. Konsumentverket is as well.
12:17 November 26, 2009 by rumcajs
That's a prepotent a**hole.
11:36 November 27, 2009 by stupr
"Nowadays Ryanair is no cheaper than SAS or any other airlines..."

Actually they are - Ryanair deals beat any other airline. If you want to get away for a couple of days and take one of their special offers they are MUCH cheaper than SAS, even with the cost of getting to/from Skavsta.

I dislike taking Ryaniar flights, and will only take them when the cost of doing so is at least half that of SAS, BA, etc.. but when I want to fly home 3 - 4 times a year and I can do so at a third of the price I would be stupid not to. Not that I agree with having to pay for using the toilet and such, but I know what to expect when I fly with them. I take a snack with me, I don't check a bag and I don't buy any of their crappy food which is overpriced and tastes horrible.

Ryanair may have debatable 'morals' but they serve a purpose and people will always take their flights no matter how much they complain about them.
12:35 November 27, 2009 by here for the summer
he does this for publicity .. which he got .. everyone including "the local" runs the story and then at the end of the story all the papers note includes his comments about new flights and destinations ..

example last year there was other story about the sex from the stewardess if you buy 1st class .. just before he expanded the Stockholm flights ..

I do agree that the some of the consumer agencies seem idiotic to non Swedes .. like the Toys-R-US being sued in Sweden for gender bias .. because their commercials don't show boys in princess dresses
13:31 November 27, 2009 by pyruvicacid
hmmm for those of you who are getting SAS tickets at Ryanair prices, please let me know what sort of trick you pull. As a frequent flyer I have to say that Ryanair, without a doubt, is much cheaper than SAS and even Norwegian. They also offer a lot of direct routes out of Stockholm (well Skavsta) to destinations that SAS doesn't fly to (i.e. Edinburgh, etc.).

Quite honestly, I haven't found their service too bad either. They seem to have gotten rid of the Lubas screaming "sit down, shut up" on the PA. At 300 SEK average for most return trips- I have to say they're a great deal.
14:45 November 27, 2009 by Jive Turkey Daddy
If you want to take luggage then SAS gets close to the same price as Ryanair in my experience but with hand luggage, Ryan air are loads cheaper...just booked up the folks to come and visit Stockholm from London in Feb..2 pound each return! No taxes and No online booking fee was the offer...used a visa electron to book it. Can SAS or BA get near that?

People would still use them even if he charged to pee... how could he charge? Have a person on the door taking money? Doubt it...a coin slot? Well people would just hold the door open for the next person...Less Tea n Beer Sales would occur too.

Stop being Greedy O'Leary!
15:17 November 27, 2009 by bravedave
I dont see the difference, my mate found a used diaper in the pouch on the back of the seat in front of him once.

Having said that I still love Ryan Air, flying with them tomorrow to London for 2kr return, thats all fees, taxes and 'extras'.

And again, this is a PR stunt to get you talking about Ryan Air, they arnt actually stupid enough to do such a thing like charge for the toilets, its to create publicity, and any publicity is good publicity.

Wake up and smell the on board coffee, its all PR!!!
23:49 November 27, 2009 by Beavis
Couple of points... Ryanair pulled all flights from sturrup not just Dublin. At the same time Aer Lingus opened a CPH to Dublin competing route. Aer Lingus pulle dout after Ryanair, even though it was a highly profitable route and left SAS to inflate their prices.Yes its great Norwegian have the route now!

SAS is not cheaper than ryanair.. the next 5 weeks sas are charging 3500sek 1 way Dublin to Stockholm for their cheapest flight. Ryanairs cheapest is 110sek (with taxes and charges) and 310sek with a bag. so SAS is 10 times more expensives. Plus that SAS flight will be in a old dangerous MD80.

The ONLY advantage to taking SAS is going from Arlanda rather than Skavsta.Of course the toilet thing is a PR stunt, everyone knows that. Much as I dislike Mr Olearys attitude he is correct about the consumers group, look at the rotten fruit and vegetables that are sold in most (not all) Swedish supermarkets, and its allowed!
12:20 November 29, 2009 by SweetBlue
@ Beavis

Before you slam SAS for flying "old dangerous MD80" consider the alternative. Safety records of the operating carrier. Part of the reason SAS, BA and the like are higher in fares is for maintenance of the fleet. RyanAir is known throughout the airline industry as being shady of ethical practice and lax on their maintenance. I work for a major international carrier and I would NEVER allow a loved one to fly RyanAir.

SAS has an older fleet but a sound fleet and flight crew with proper training and credentials. Personally, I value this much more than a cheap fare.

By the by, if RyanAir removes it's toilets, I believe they will be in violation of the passengers bill of rights. Not to mention, one airsick passenger or baby and that is one plane load of people who will not return to Ryan. Repeat business is the cornerstone to keeping an airline solvent.
14:11 November 29, 2009 by Beavis
You dont get it.. the toilet thing is a publicity stunt.. they will never actually take the toilets out, of course its in violation. BA dont use MD80's SAS has the oldest fleet (and most dangerous) in Europe.(this is a fact) Of course Ryanair spend a whole lot less on maintence considering most of their fleet is less than 7 year old Boeing 737-800 series.Half of SAS fleet are 28 year old MD80s.Most airlines have replaced these models, especially after the Spanair crash in Madrid (an SAS subsidury) All European airlines are subject to the same safety check, and Ryanair or any other airline cannot get around this. PLease back your wild accusation up with some FACTS.
06:19 November 30, 2009 by SweetBlue
15 years in the industry and cutting of RyanAir for part support IS my backing of facts. Show me your credentials Beavis... I have mine.
18:21 January 29, 2010 by Ravinous
I guess I am a bt late on this story...

I love the way Ryanair stirs passion. I personally hate them. I have flown a lot with them and not. I prefer to support BA and SAS, be treated like a human, and enjoy my flight - long may BA keep their free food and drink! However, my family in the UK live near Gatwick, to which Ryanir has started flying to. I have recently used this route for 15gbp all in with bag and fee, single fares. It is really hard to justify paying 4 times more to get to an airport which will take me twice as long to get home from. What can you do? Admittedly, ARN is easier to get to than VST or NYO. ARN you can get to on your SL card via Marsta and bus 583 (something which SL.se does not tell you - but I digress...

Ryanair has a 'hurry up and wait' ideology - those in the Military and Film/TV business will know what this means very well. Your boarding card says 'Gate Closes' at XXXX some ridiculously early time - designed to get you there at the gate wasting time. I like to stay comfortable until the last minute before getting on board. If you want that personal touch, why not sit by the gate until they call you forward, by name, to board, over the tannoy. This turns the table on who is waiting on who! ;-) Who is the customer afterall in this business affair?!?!

Another thought is these people who have big shiney BMWs who fly Ryanair all the time?! Surely these people wouldnt be seen dead in a 'naff' car, yet they fly in a cattle truck - weird.
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