Criticising Ryanair

By | Category: Travel rumblings

This has almost become a national pastime and I have contributed to quite a bit of it myself when it is deserved which is more often than not.

But when the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) criticises them (which isn’t as often as they should), you would hope they got their facts correct. Just one fact wrong and Ryanair will attack which is precisely what has just happened.

It began when John Fingleton, the chief executive of the OFT criticised the airline for only allowing one type of credit card to be used for payment that didn’t attract any sort of Ryanair fee. (This card is actually a pre-paid card so is it technically a credit card?) He used the words “puerile” and “childish,” which, you might have thought would be like a red rag to a bull to Ryanair’s chief executive, Michael O’Leary. Fingleton also pointed out that you had to opt out of buying travel insurance with the airline instead of opting in. This isn’t the case as Ryanair quickly pointed out. But the response from Ryanair wasn’t the usual showy attack full of bile and colourful language that so often comes from the press office. Despite what some newspapers such as The Independent said it was almost restrained. Maybe it felt it didn’t want to antagonise the OFT any further since it is investigating the whole business of online pricing and advertising.

The OFT could have pointed out that the credit card nominated by the airline is not available easily, if at all in Italy, and thus might breach EU law. They might have said that charging a credit card fee per passenger per leg might also seem contraryto the spirit of credit card fees when only a single transaction was made.

But no, the OFT managed to attack using wrong information. What faith do I have now in those bodies that are supposed to be consumer champions?

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