Thursday, 6 September 2012
Unhappy Ryanair passenger becomes social media rockstar...but does it matter? (post with a bonus: a video of Air India's first Boeing 787!)
If there is an airline with a seemingly infinite capacity to produce headlines, this is Ryanair. I mentioned some of its past stunts in this blog, however at some point I lost my interest in this sort of stories...everyone has a personal Ryanair horror story!... I went, myself, from being a loyal and happy customer to not flying with them anymore after I had a bitter "disagreement" with one of their ground staff about the best way to re-pack hand-luggage items, she might have got her commission, they lost me as a client, but this is a story for another post...)
This time the "hero" of Ryanair's critics is Suzy McLeod, a Ryanair passenger from Alicante to Bristol, who was charged €300 for not having printed her family's boarding passes beforehand. Suzy went to Ryanair unofficial page on Facebook and posted the following comment:
“I had previously checked in online but because I hadn't printed out the boarding passes, Ryanair charged me €60 per person! Meaning I had to pay €300 for them to print out a piece of paper! Please ‘like’ if you think that's unfair.”
The response was huge: nearly 400,000 likes and over 18,000 comments for a single post. Quite a feat!
And an even a greater feat to draw the attention of Michael O'Leary himself, that did not miss the chance to express his thoughts about her and this whole affair... in his own syle, of course!
But does this matter? Despite many airlines making a genuine effort to get into social media (in this blog I sometimes highlighted some of the social media stars of the airline industry) the answer is far from straightforward. Or at least, it might not matter if you are Ryanair...the Irish airline has consistently outperformed its industry peers, despite having no social media activity, a horrible (sometimes buggy) website in terms of usability and tons of bad PR every day. Social media might actually be less important for the success of an airline than, we, hyper-connected people tend to think...or this is what this analysis points out.
(oh! I forgot to say: there is now a Ryanair iPhone and iPad app, you need to pay for it, of course!)
Enough of Ryanair for now...on another totally separate note, Boeing continues with its stream of Dreamliner deliveries, and has set up this cool-looking website so that you can track all the deliveries. Today it has has been the turn of Air India, and to celebrate the occasion, Boeing has put together this interesting video about the making of Air India's first 787. Enjoy!