A step too far” Or a publicity stunt” Entrepreneurs give their views on O’Leary’s bog-standard proposal.
Brett Raynes is managing director of online backup firm Backup Direct. He splits no hairs: it’s a stunt. "The Ryanair CEO is simply trying to be controversial and cause a stir by making announcements of proposed additional charges that the public will undoubtedly find objectionable," he says. "The chance of any of these schemes actually being implemented is unlikely.
"The goal appears to be creating noise," he continues. "And in this he has clearly succeeded. But if he puts any of these measures into place, the end result is most likely to be short term gain (publicity) at the expense of long term pain, which could manifest in many consumers eventually turning away from the brand."
Paul Harrison, CEO of Carve Consulting, agrees: "I think it was probably a cute piece of diversion. His quote (and the accompanying one about ‘I’d wipe their bums if they paid me a fiver’) crystallised the same day Ryanair recorded its first losses."
"What happens when someone refuses to pay mid-flight?" asks Paul Wooding, director of Weber Shandwick. "Are they going to let them wet themselves or worse "
Wooding suspects an ulterior motive: "My view is that Ryanair has pulled off a brilliant bit of PR by getting the silly headlines in the papers (which he doesn’t care one jot about) while it pushes through the idea of a ‘fat tax’, which is already well established in the US. In fact, from the Ryanair survey, I think my customers supported such a tax, after all who wants to be squashed on a flight no matter how short?"
And Ranbir Sahota, founder of Vitis PR, tops off the debate with this corker of an observation: "What if you have a bladder problem," she asks. "Can you buy a discounted package for frequent usage – frequent pee-er miles?" And, more importantly, "If you pee in a sick bag or your water bottle, is there a charge for dumping?"
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