The BBC Panorama v Ryanair cat-fight

Last night I caught the last half of BBC Panorama’s exposé on Ryanair Why Hate Ryanair? – which basically slams the airline for its hidden charges and Michael O’Leary’s cost-cutting approach to business.

Today, Ryanair has responded by giving away 1.1Million free seats to represent the 11 lies featured in the programme. Nice comeback. (Hey Panorama, can you do an exposé on Apple next? – I could use a free iphone)

To add to the spat, in the programme O’Leary is filmed refusing an interview on the grounds that the BBC would not consent to an unedited version. We get about 5 minutes of him defending his case and making a point of saying his comments will be cut out by BBC producers to fit the Panorama agenda.

Today, the BBC have broadcasted the unedited segment on the BBC website. You can see Panorama producers giving O’Leary a big “So there.”

It’s all quite hilarious – big egos spiting eachother in what comes across as a petty cat-fight.

Treatment of staff is one thing, but personally, I don’t quite understand the uproar about Ryanair’s “hidden” charges. Plenty of airlines advertise prices which have a lot of terms and conditions attached to them and turn out not to be quite as good as they sound. Plus Ryanair’s charges really aren’t that “hidden” – you only get caught with extra costs if you change your plans (decide to check in baggage last minute) or make mistakes (I agree that a £40 charge if you forget your e-ticket is pretty excessive but if you forget to do this once, you probably won’t forget it again…) And I bet it’ll still end up costing you less than a non-Ryanair flight. Honestly, if your flight only costs you £10, are you really going to baulk at paying £5 to check-in online?

Bottomline is that no other airline gives you the option (and it is an option) to fly to Europe for £10 or less. I’ve had wonderful weekends abroad this way. It’s your choice if you want to take more than hand luggage; no one forces you to buy a £4 bottle of water on the plane; and any discerning traveller should check where they are flying into (and not all Ryanair flights land in the middle of nowhere!) If you want cheap, you get cheap. If having a reclining seat and a free inflight meal is more important to you then don’t fly with them, is my view.

Which is why I find this Panorama v Ryanir hissy fit amusing. Case of a mountain of a mole-hill if you ask me…

Chiara Priorelli, Publicity Manager

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