Ryanair is legitimately described as the “lowest of the low”
Poor old Ryanair. The airline has a bad rep in Spain, owing largely to the tireless work of consumer group Facua, who never shy away from an opportunity to criticise Ryanair’s treatment of passengers.
Now, Ryanair has lost a second appeal against a libel decision that saw the budget airline described as “the lowest of the low” which “swindled and mocked its passengers”.
Ryanair had taken issue with, basically everything Facua said about the company, including comments aired on radio shows in which spokesmen for Facua criticised the treatment received by the airline’s customers, and sued the group for libel back in 2012.
However, in the original decision, the Andalusian court said that Facua had, in fact, demonstrated “abusive practices” by Ryanair, including additional charges for services such as printing a boarding card (which were later outlawed), and gave the example of one occasion when passengers at Seville airport were “held on a plane without air conditioning for a long period of time”. Bet that smelled nice.
The decision was given on the grounds that the consumer association had a "right to defend consumers" by highlighting complaints which the company could not disprove. Which was most likely because they were true. We are all now looking forward to Which!!! getting way shirtier in future.
In this latest appeal, Ryanair were left looking stupid again after a panel of Supreme Court judges ruled that the association had made reasonable use of its “right to freedom of expression in defending consumers” and was therefore justified in discussing the airline’s shortcomings in, seemingly, any way it saw fit. For example, Facua once described Ryanair as the “worst company of the year” and accused the airline of “inflating prices” in a "fraudulent" manner. However, the Spanish court decided such “offensive comments” were justified as the company's “commercial practices have generated a notorious degree of dissent” among consumers. Ryanair was also ordered to pay costs. Bet you wish you’d played nice now huh?
But it’s not like Ryanair shouldn’t have seen this verdict coming. A separate lawsuit against Facua also found in favour of the consumer group in 2013 after the association had criticised Ryanair over a series of “emergency landing” incidents at Spanish airports- they claimed that on several occasions in 2012 pilots were forced to request priority landings, owing to fuel shortages. Ryanair sued Facua for saying they had a policy of “saving money in areas related to safety [which] put the lives of its passengers at stake”. A claim Ryanair refuted. Obvs.