Ireland Business Model

Bad service, Bad Quality, but Cheap as HELL

Anybody that has traveled around Europe has probably flown Ryanair . It’s the “low fares” airline. It’s truly the benchmark for a low cost business model. It was more expensive for me to take a taxi from Griffith College Dublin to the airport than it was for my flight from Dublin to London. This company is finding genious ways to charge customers for rinky-dink stuff ultimately lower the price of initial airfare.  They eventually want to make enough money on the side to be able to have free airfare. Some of the features of the Ryanair flying experience include:

  • Charging 40 Euro to print a boarding pass for you. You’re supposed to print it out online before you arrive at the airport. We met some American friends in the Dublin airport on the same flight as Edinburgh as us. They didn’t know about this and they were FURIOUS.
  • Non-Reclining seats. Having seats in the airplane that do not recline cuts down on cleaning time for planes between flights. This feature, or lack thereof, really doesn’t matter because you won’t find a Ryanair flight longer than 4 hours, and the average is flight is 90 minutes.
  • Charging for food and drinks during the flight. Other airlines just build it into the ticket. And again, the short flights make this more of a non issue.
  • Flying to a city’s secondary airport. This cuts down on costs to operate out of a certain city or region.
  • Minimal check in desks open. In London, we had to wait 2 hours just to get a stamp on our boarding pass because they had 2 desks open for about 200 people wanting to check in and check luggage.
  • Making their cabin crew pay for their uniforms. Kinda funny.
  • Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary even has joked that he has the pilots turn up the turbulence when the drink sales aren’t doing so hot. Wouldn’t put it past him.

Potential Plans for the future?

  • Charging to use the bathroom
  • “Fat Tax” charging overweight customers more
  • In-flight gambling
  • Standing room tickets

They get away with these gimmicks because of cheap prices. It works. Everyone flys Ryanair. It is the largest airline in the world when it comes to international passengers. Something tells me they don’t pay for the best aviators in the world either. Everybody in our study abroad group at one point in time has had major problems with ears not popping. The landings are the worst I’ve ever experienced. They are so consistently bad, that the whole cabin claps after a safe landing. One flight, we clapped twice.

Now for the positives, Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary really is a phenomenal business man. I have a lot of respect for him. The man has a goal and he’s achieving it. O’Leary took over Ryanair when it was nothing and made it the most successful airline in Europe. He took a media beating when he announced plans to charge for the bathroom. His reasoning is this: O’Leary wants to remove 2 of the three bathrooms in every airplane. How do you get rid of the line for the single bathroom? Charge people for it. That way, people do their business before ever boarding the plane. The space avail by removing 2 bathrooms will be filled by 6 additional seats on every plane, ultimately lowering airfare for everyone by 4%. Seems okay by me! His ideas seem crazy, but who can blame him for perusing his goal of free airfare. I say reach for the stars, Mikey.

My second example is Pennys. This is a college girl’s dream. Super cheap, relatively stylish clothing. I bought a hoodie there for 9 euro ($12), a bowtie for 3, socks for 1, shoes for 9, a shirt for 3, and a onesie (yes, a onesie… be prepared Pi Kapp) for 10. Seeing a girl in Pennys is like seeing the T-Rex from Jurassic Park . They go nuts for all the shoes, jewelry, tops, everything. Shoes from 3 euro! The place is messy, and the clothes are’t good quality. My shoes are already ripping after a couple weeks. But again, people will put up with ANYTHING for low prices.

I’m well aware of this phenomenon. Wal-Mart is an example. But I find these two extraordinary examples of people putting up with a lot of crap just to save a buck (especially with Ryanair). Wal-Mart is cheap, but people also go there because it literally has everything.

Check out Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary’s thoughts. This is a great video.

He almost says “Fat Tax” haha.

So there you have it. Agree or not (you probably don’t), this is what I think I think.


One thought on “Ireland Business Model

  1. Dave,

    I agree with some things you say, but all my experiences were great with Ryanair. As long as you know the rules ahead of time and abide by them you will not have any “hidden” fees. I never experienced the clapping on my two times using them. Also they do have another claim to fame not mentioned they have the highest percentage of flights arrive on time of any European airline.

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