O'Leary wins the spin, Ryanair beats the BBC
Well, what can we say, eh? We're still going to be holding our head in our hands this time next year when Ryanair announces passengers must donate organs or their least favourite child to board their flights, but last night's hard-hitting investigative journalism from Panorama turned out to be insubstantial, pointless and bound to leave most the audience saying "and your point is...?". The press seems to consider Ryanair as the victor of past few day's media slagging match, and that a simultaneous kick in the baby-maker has been dealt to the BBC.
Sky Marshall O'Leary promised to give away 100,000 free seats for every false claim he deemed the BBC to make - hence at midnight, 1.1 million free seats went up for grabs on the Ryanair website. O'Leary wins the battle of the spin once more. Unsurprisingly, it's not quite as straight forward as all that. Read through the correspondence between the two sides (as published by Ryanair) and you'll notice that Ryanair's defense of their policies isn't always convincing, or indeed, true:
"Any additional charges over and above our guaranteed lowest fare (with no fuel surcharges) are discretionary. All passengers can avoid these charges should they wish, by declining those services."
If Ryanair can explain to us how a mandatory £5 online check-in fee each way is discretionary (without changing the meaning of the word to something meaning the exact opposite), we'd be happy to let everyone know. Oh, and remember - you might be lucky enough to bag a seat for free, but Ryanair will still charge you £20 to carry your infant on your lap. Infants under two years old aren't allowed their own seat, which a) allows Ryanair to sell another seat, and b) means it can cost more for a child to fly with no seat, than an adult who has one. But of course this charge is also discretionary, since toddlers can be left at home alone for up to several days at a time.
If you haven't read it yet, have a read through the email tennis as the BBC becomes increasingly desperate to find fault and justify their programme budget. Our favourite retort from Ryanair is:
10. Is there an “ideal” Ryanair customer?
10. Yes. Any human being with a brain, a pulse and a credit card, who doesn’t want to be ripped off with BA or Easyjet’s high fares and frequently delayed flights.
Stay classy, Ryanair.