Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Ryanair - a small complaint about rip-offs

I am becoming more and more convinced that Ryanair must have a whole department that does nothing else but dream up ways of introducing new rip-off charges for its customers.

I have always made it clear that I am a big fan of Michael O’Leary and Ryanair and except for the underhand charge for using a credit card I don’t really mind all of the stealth charges that are constantly being dreamt up and changed to catch out unsuspecting travellers because these are all fees that can be easily avoided by being a little bit canny.

Last month there was a lot of talk about Ryanair being the most expensive for in flight catering and that didn’t bother me unduly either because I make a point of making sure that I don’t need to buy anything on board the aircraft because I consider £6.20 for gin and tonic a touch too expensive (even for a so called double measure). Why would a sensible person in their right mind pay these prices when they have only paid £1 for the flight? A cup of tea is even worse and this costs £2.50! That’s a ¼ of a litre of lukewarm water and a cheap tea bag. You can probably get about two hundred tea bags for £2.50 at a Supermarket, more if you buy Tesco value!

Although I am a fan, one thing I don’t approve of however is downright deceit and blatantly taking advantage. This weekend I flew to Porto in Portugal and on the return flight as usual the cabin crew handed out the menu cards and the Ryanair magazine that includes some pages with items for sale on board. The prices are always quoted both in Sterling and in Euros and this takes into account the exchange rate. Later the flight attendant then pointed out that the prices quoted were out of date and today if anyone wanted to pay in Sterling this would be exactly the same price as in Euros. The prices are clearly set out in the magazine and Trading Standards have rules about this sort of thing. When a mistake like this happens they are not obliged to sell the goods at the lower price but they should withdraw the goods from sale until the issue is rectified. If they try to charge more for goods that are advertised at a lower price, then a misleading price indication is given, which is a criminal offence. The reason given was because of the current exchange rate which today meant that one pound now equals on Euro. Well Ryanair must be working on a different set of data than the rest of Europe because I was fairly sure that after a drop the previous week the pound had improved recently and that this represented greedy exploitation of the recession situation.

When I returned home I checked the financial pages on the BBC and I was absolutely correct and the pound was trading against the Euro at about £1.11 and by my reckoning that means the Ryanair dirty tricks department had added 10% profit to their prices at a stroke. I suppose they might argue that this excess charge could be avoided by paying in Euros but personally I would recommend avoiding the on board snacks menu altogether and take a sandwich on board instead.

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