ATW Editor's Blog

Ancillary fees for stupid passengers?


Following on from my post about the idiot flying public, here's a rare example of an airline CEO coming out and actually saying his customers are stupid.

Irish low cost carrier Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary has come back fighting after a woman went to the press complaining that she was forced to pay 300 euros -- about $380 - in ancillary fees on her return flight from Spain to the UK because she had failed to preprint the boarding passes for herself and her family. The airline makes clear that it charges a 60 euro fee for each boarding pass that is printed at the airport, and the passenger was aware of the rules, but said she was on vacation and couldn't preprint her passes.

To which O'Leary retorts in an article in The Telegraph: “We think Mrs McLeod should pay 60 euros for being so stupid. She wasn’t able to print her boarding card because, as you know, there are no internet cafes in Alicante, no hotels where they could print them out for you."

O'Leary is well known for telling it as it is - here's a couple of juicy quotes, also courtesy of The Telegraph -

"Do we carry rich people on our flights? Yes, I flew on one this morning and I'm very rich."

And -

"I am not an aerosexual. I don't like aeroplanes. I never wanted to be a pilot like those other platoons of goons who populate the airline industry."

So O'Leary isn't afraid to shake it up. But I can't help thinking he might be on to something with the idea of an ancillary fee for stupid passengers. Nothing would so easily and quickly turn this industry from its typical loss-making or razor-thin margins to a fat cat Wall Street favorite.

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