Ryanair - tight schedules, delays, and cancellations
Love them or loathe them Ryanair has grown rapidly over the past decade to become one of the largest European airlines. The budget flight company is well known for its ‘no frills’ policies, partly due to their flamboyant Chief Executive Michael O'Leary, a man whose stance is that all publicity is good publicity. Over the years he has played up to the penny pinching image with some headline grabbing statements, many of which have proved to be all PR and with no real substance behind them, which is probably just as well. However, for many passengers, Ryanair has made air travel affordable and has lead to a major rethink among the more traditional airlines about their pricing policies. Low cost air travel means that migrant workers can see their families more often, and has opened up new areas as holiday destinations. Like all budget airlines, Ryanair relies on making profits by keeping aircraft flying as much possible, running to tight schedules. This means that it is susceptible to delays caused by defects and repairs, leaving it open to claims for compensation by passengers due to delays.
The battle for Europe leaves Ryanair in a strong position. As a market leader the airline can set its own rules for customer service
Based in Ireland, Ryanair was formed in 1985, with a single plane flying between Waterford and Gatwick Airports. At the time British Airways and Aer Lyngus were the only options for flights between Ireland and London and this new company was set up to challenge their duopoly. Ryanair grew steadily, but always at a loss until 1991, when Michael O'Leary came on board and restructured the business model, cutting costs wherever possible. In 1992, the deregulation of the European airlines industry opened the market for internal flights to any company based within its borders. A battle between the low cost airlines ensued with Ryanair emerging as one of the few survivors. Smaller companies were bought out and routes increased until in 2005 the company carried 20% more passengers than British Airways in Europe.
Using smaller airports helps to avoid delays. Despite this customers still have to fight for compensation or a refund
Ryanair operates from over 65 locations across Europe and North Africa, the main one being London-Stansted (STN) and its home Dublin (DUB.) Summer is the busiest time for the airline, with Spain and Italy it’s most popular destinations, including Milan Orio al Serio (BGY) and Barcelona (BCN.) It claims to be the most punctual airline with a 90% success rate, but this still means that 10% are delayed. These figures are helped by its use of provincial airports, which are less overcrowded than inner-city hubs; but where they do fly from the bigger airports they suffer from the same delays as every other carrier. Like other airlines, Ryanair is slow to compensate passengers who have suffered delays, in May 2014 Martin Wragg finally received €1,700, after an 18 month battle. This is despite the airline’s announcement in 2011 of a surcharge of €2 to cover the cost of compensation for those who travel and are delayed or suffer cancelled flights.
Playing the game means cheap flights for some passengers. You have to know your rights and compromise on service levels
Ryanair is an airline that people love or hate. For many who know how to play by their rules, they are a source of very cheap flights. By booking in advance and choosing headline grabbing promotions, a flight can cost less than their in-flight meal. There are always voucher promotions available and other special deals; the trick is to avoid the pricey ‘extras.’ In response to poor customer service reviews, the airline has promised to review some of its more controversial policies and has relaxed baggage allowances, and reduced fees for excess baggage and printing boarding passes.
Have you been one of the few to experience a flight delay or cancellation with Ryanair? Check below to see if you might be entitled to compensation from the airline!