Ryanair continues its dazzling decent into the absolute cellar of airline customer satisfaction, at least according to readers of the UK magazine “Which?”
The magazine asked consumers to rate companies by their staff’s abilities and attitudes for dealing with issues in the 2013 survey. Ryanair, the leading European low cost airline, scored only two out of a possible five stars in each category, making CEO Michael O’Leary’s airline the worst in the category, and the lowest among all the 100 firms rated.
To make matters even worse, those surveyed overwhelmingly rated customer service at the top of important for brand decision making when deciding which companies to use. If eight of ten potential airline customers prefer being dealt with professionally over saving a pound or a dollar, apparently Ryanair has overshot the service runway a bit in chopping prices.
Elsewhere in Ryanair news bad PR mentions seem to follow the airline these days. BBC reported yesterday a group of drunks on board a Ryanair flight causing the crew to land the aircraft to jettison the unruly band.
Worse still, a passenger of Ryanair who learned a tragic house fire had claimed his wife and three children, and who Ryaniar charged extra for diverting to a flight home, just has to be the worst kind of customer attention anybody ever heard of. The airline has refunded surgeon Muhammad Taufiq Sattar his €188 now.
Finally, the airline has announced plans for massive expansion, even amid continual complaining and bad news. Plus, it seems fairly likely Ryanair will come under more scrutiny where hostile takeovers and unfair competition are a concern. The EU Commission has talons out in curtailing the company’s Aer Lingus aspirations, many perceive O’Leary’s company as overly aggressive and to the limits of fairplay business wise. Winning by any means seems written all over O’Leary’s gesture to major transatlantic carries recently, the airline boss has threatened $10 flights to the US in an effort to break the majors’ hold on cross Atlantic Ocean transportation.
It will be interesting to see at what break point airline passengers will choose service over price. $10 to America may spell volunteer passenger pilots, flight attendant and engineers before it is over.
Ryanair is represented by Edelman’s Dublin office.