Yes — you read the headline of this article correctly.
Ryanair — an airline not exactly known for having the best customer service in commercial aviation with customer-unfriendly policies and statements such as eliminating waivers and adding surcharges; removing sanitary bags from the fleet of aircraft; contemplating standing room only for passengers; charging a fee for boarding passes; considering charging a fee to use the lavatory; proposing the elimination of seat belts; suggesting that co-pilots are unnecessary; and fees simply for the privilege of booking a flight — apparently had to be pushed hard enough to be voted the worst company in the United Kingdom by a consumer magazine in order for its chief executive officer to have a change of heart and admit that its customer service needs to improve.
Michael O’Leary — known for his outrageous comments and his quest to squeeze every last penny out of customers of Ryanair by any means possible — vowed for the first time to transform the culture of Ryanair as one way to address customer service issues moving forward by eliminating things which irritate customers. For example, he pledges to be more lenient on levying punitive fees on customers with oversized baggage.
Passengers have been known to revolt against Ryanair. In one case back in November of 2010, furious French passengers expecting to arrive home in Paris from Morocco staged a protest for four hours aboard an airplane operated by Ryanair in a dark cabin with no water and locked lavatories after their flight was diverted to Belgium, apparently as a result of weather conditions and a three-hour delay — and Ryanair crew members simply left the aircraft in response, reportedly leaving the angry passengers alone to fend for themselves…
…and French passengers were furious again as recently as earlier this week when they revolted against the flight crew as a result of being faced with a delay of up to 24 hours after an aircraft operated by Ryanair on a flight from Morocco to Paris was forced to land in Madrid following a report of one of the 170 passengers becoming ill.
Note to self: do not fly as a passenger on a flight operated by Ryanair between Paris and Morocco.
The official Internet web site of Ryanair is also expected to undergo significant improvements — and Ryanair is reportedly partnering with Google to “forever” transform how customers search for and purchase airline tickets.
I suspect that competition — such as from easyJet and even from high-speed train service — is a factor which is also forcing Ryanair to improve.
Time will tell if Michael O’Leary will deliver on these promises — but I dare not speak negatively of him or Ryanair…