Ryanair: Flying High or Crashing?


After traveling abroad last semester, I have had a lot of first hand experience with budget airlines.  With nearly every airline I traveled on, I had a pleasant experience.  However, whenever my friends and I knew we were traveling on Ryanair I got serious anxiety before the flight.  Knowing that forgetting to print out my boarding pass or being a kilometer or two over the weight limit would result in astronomical fines, gave me a heart attack every time I got in line at security.  I decided to do a little research on the CEO of the company and see if there was any relationship between the behavior of the CEO and the way he runs his company.

What I have discovered is that Michael O’Learly, the CEO of Ryanair since 1994, is known for his outrageous behavior and cost-cutting measures.  He has been very outspoken in his public statements and often uses foul language.  He treats his passengers like cattle and once the flight is announced there is literally a mad dash for the seats because there is no assigned seating.  The Ryanair crew have to pay for their own uniforms, training, and meals.

He likes to portray himself to the public as a a man among the people.  However, he is constantly being quoted for making comments about how rich he is.  He refers to passengers who forget to print out their boarding passes as “idiots”.  Another quote he is famous for is in reference to the image of the company, “One of the weaknesses of the company now is it is a bit cheap and cheerful and overly nasty, and that reflects my personality.”  Had I known how poorly O’Leary treats his employees and how little he cares about his passengers while abroad, I probably would have stopped flying on his airlines.  Whether or not I specifically do Ryanair for my paper, I think that it would be interesting to look more into the direct effect that CEO’s have on the decisions a company makes and the management of the company.  How has the Board at Ryanair allowed for O’Leary to act in this manner all these years? Will this company remain successful or is eventually headed for failure with this kind of narrow minded person leading it along?

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2 responses to “Ryanair: Flying High or Crashing?

  1. It seems like most airlines nowadays are more concerned in profits than with providing an easy and comfortable travel experience. It never used to cost extra to watch the tv’s on planes, but you would have to pay for the headphones if you didn’t have them,. But now, you need to swipe your credit card to even see the shows. It seems to be normal now to only get an in flight drink with no snack at all. If i recall from experience, Delta now charges for a mini snack, warm snack, or candy. I can’t remember the last time I got a blanket and it seems as though pillows have been removed completely. Maybe they are worried the pillows would be used as weapons….I am not happy with this trend towards micro transactions during flights and more airlines appear to be following suit.

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