Ryanair Boeing 737-800 in Berlin-Schönefeld, n...
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For the last couple of days, I’ve been at the Aviation Outlook Middle East, as a keynote speaker (check out my presentation here). You’d expect that the hottest topic might be the recession, or the threat/opportunity for Low Cost Carriers in the Middle East (see my interview on that here). But ironically, during the panel discussions, during the networking breaks and even during cocktails, the hottest topic for discussion was Ryanair charging for the use of toilets in-flight!

Will charging for the loo work for the brand?

From the amount of buzz just one statement from Michael O’Leary has generated, it looks like the move has already worked for Ryanair. Afterall, no PR is bad PR! And the Ryanair CEO is probably one of the best when it comes to getting free PR anyway, just like Richard Branson. The two of them are icons for their respecive brands, like Steve Jobs is for Apple, and it adds an X-Factor to the brand (read more in my whitepaper) that most other airlines cannot compete with.

So, even though the official press release from Ryanair did not commit to such an initiative, the PR generated by that one statement probably doubled the hits on Ryanair’s website, which is a major source of revenue for the airline.

Extra charges, in-sync with Ryanair’s brand positioning

Ryanair has a very clear and distinct brand positioning – that of the lowest seat price provider. They promise to give the traveler the cheapest seat possible (a friend bought a ticket from London – Barcelona for $5 last week!). And everything else is charged for. And Ryanair has made this positioning clear to its customers. So people either love Ryanair, or hate it. And Ryanair cares about those of love the airline, and caters to their needs.

Now, if these people are already used to paying additional for check-in bags, credit card payments and other add-ons, then this is just another in the list. It’s the right strategy for the right customer segment. Now, this will not work on another airline, like United, which has advertisements showing off its latest First Class, and treats its Economy passengers very differently. But Ryanair might be able to pull it off.

“The Good, the Bad and the Irrelevant” airlines

I was listening to Dr Nawal Taneja, an aviation guru from Ohio University, and he mentioned an important point. He said that at the end of the recession, there will be the Good airlines that emerge the strongest, the bad ones, which will disappear and a large majority of “irrelevant” ones, which will just exist for the sake of it.

I believe that Ryanair will not be in the last category. They’ve got a distinct brand positioing and their actions reflect that distinctiveness in almost everything that they do. And as long as their means of earning ancillary revenues are in-sync with the brand, they’ll succeed.

What do you think? Is this a good move by Ryanair? Will charging for toilets chase away current customers? Will it prevent new ones from trying the airlines? Will this be detrimental to the brand? Let’s discuss.

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Shashank Nigam

Shashank Nigam

CEO at SimpliFlying
Shashank Nigam is the CEO of SimpliFlying and a globally sought-after consultant, speaker and thought-leader on airline branding and customer engagement strategy. He is also the youngest winner of the Global Brand Leadership Award and has addressed senior aviation executives globally, from Chile to Canada and from Sydney to San Francisco.

Shashank's perspectives have found their way into major media outlets, including CNN Travel, CNBC, MSNBC, Bloomberg UTV, Mashable and in leading publications like Airline Business, ATW, Aviation Week, and others.

Shashank studied Information Systems Management and Business Management at Singapore Management University and Carnegie Mellon University. Hailing from India, he splits his time between Singapore and Vancouver, among other cities.
Shashank Nigam
Shashank Nigam
  • Jacquie

    How disgusting for Ryanair to charge for toilets, they charge the most tax than any other airline, although they fly from the same airports, they charge extortionate money to put your bags on the airline and you’re only allowed 15kg, SURELY THIS IS AGAINST OUR HUMAN RIGHTS to charge for a toilet. A charge should only be made if you have a CHOICE but if you’re up in the air, you don’t do you, I’d piss on the floor before paying to use the toilet, but that won’t happen because there’s no way I’d ever fly with this down and out company

  • Milan V. Pavlovic

    I do not see that anybody will charge for toilet usage as of now and if happens ti is time to use some other way of travelling, but we never know what will be the next!

  • Peterson Petty Tjitemisa

    But where will that leave the Regulations on Cabin Safety, since the regulations stipulates clearly on the provision of toilets.

  • Jeanne Warren

    I travel extensively and completely object to this concept. I can’t imagine another airline doing this and I think it was a publicity stunt. It certainly got people talking about the airline, didn’t it.

  • Oussama Salah

    I can not imagine charging for toilet usage, but you never know. Will people travel? probably yes if the ticket price is right. The thought will be same as food sales, it is a short flight I can survive.
    It will definitely brand them as a cheap (not inexpensive) airline, but who will notice the distinction

  • Paritosh Sharma

    Well, Shashank, I saw Ryanair’s CEO in a talk show on BBC a couple of months back, and well, that time he looked like really confident about how they would take over the competition!
    But this is cheap, there are many other ways to work around the revenue, but I feel I would never set foot into such an airline. Im okay with food not getting served, but being charged for a basic service, well…I would prefer another airline!

  • Peterson Petty Tjitemisa

    I dont think it matter that much since the toilet prices surely wont have much impact on the price ticket, They will still be as cheap. But I personaly never foresee it comming, sounds very strange. Bottomline is, they have to generate revenue.

  • Tom H

    As far as I’m aware, the question about charging for toilet use was put to Michael O’Leary and he grabbed the opportunity for free publicity by saying he would consider doing so. Personally, I can’t see it happening. You have to remember that MOL regularly makes absurd statements in public to get publicity for Ryanair. He rarely follows any of them through.

  • Paula Williams

    I’d like to see them tell someone they can’t use the toilet because they don’t have correct change!

  • Alessandra Martina

    It’s true that M.O.L. uses these kind of impact statements to make ad to his airline, but in this case I personally see it as a boomerang and I would suggest them not to do it. I speak not only as an industry pro. but also as European low costs customer.

  • Tom Hodge

    Yes, but MOL has calculated that the European low cost airline consumer market is so large that he can afford to annoy or insult a small proportion of potential customers, knowing full well that the majority are only interested in the advertised price being the lowest available (that does not mean that the actual price paid must be the lowest!).

  • David Tait

    After this about all that’s left will be excess weight charges for passengers as well as oversize bags!

    This could be a publicity-garnering spoof, or there just might be real method in his madness! Mister O’Leary has after all already taken window shades and seat back pockets off his aircraft to reduce weight. There again he was also the person who predicted he would render the need to charge for tickets redundant as a result of all the money he was going to make from in-flight gambling!

    But ask the question… are second bag fees designed to be an incremental revenue source or as an incentive for the passenger to just bring one bag? I’d say mostly the latter. Fewer bags means less weight, which in turn means reduced fuel burn.

    Now consider the notion of coin-operated toilets. On average sector lengths of about 90 minutes, if penny-pinching Ryanair passengers know that answering nature’s call on board will cost them a pound or a Euro, what is the most likely consequence? That’s right, they’ll simply be sure to do their business in the airport prior to boarding!

    Very clever people the Irish. In one fell swoop they “cut the crap” and cut the fuel burn! So, publicity stunt or brilliantly contrived weight reduction program?

  • Blake Wigfield

    Ever try to use the restroom in a Swiss train station? It’s 1 Swiss Franc to do a #1, and 2 Swiss Francs to do a #2. But the restrooms are very clean!
    Plus, look at the bright side. If you’ve really got to go, there is less chance the line for the lav will be long.

  • Mark Lenahan

    It was a joke intended to get them media attention and that certainly worked.
    They can’t charge for use of the toilet, think of the damage it would do to the onboard beer and coffee sales.

  • Declan Butterly

    Whether Ryanair eventually charge for toilet use makes no difference. Michael O’Leary has achieved what he set out to do by making this statement, Ryanair has received significant FREE publicity.

  • Milind Puri

    I agree with Mark and Declan!

  • Gary Morrissey

    I think he was probably being ironic? If not, then he is definitely moronic.

  • Peter Bowen

    It is a clever method of getting good press coverage and getting others to discuss the issue! It also reminds consumers of other budget airlines about the RyanAir brand – I think that is clever use of marketing and is not going to hurt the budget airline in any way.

  • Melissa McNeese

    Has it dawned on Mr. O’Leary that the tray tables will become changing tables if this comes to pass?

  • John Smithers

    Actually I read the transcript from this conference and they actually said they had thought about charging for use of the toilets on the aircraft for around 1 pound. However the spokesman for Ryanair said it is unlikely that such a charge would ever be implemented that O’Leary had just thrown it out there as a means to keep costs down.

  • Joan Powell

    I think Mr. O’Leary may have a creative publicist behind the scenes that just garnered more free publicity around than world than we’ve seen in quite a while! Absolutely brilliant!

  • Brian Bonner

    Only if you subscribe to the theory that any publicity is good publicity…

  • Joan Powell

    I don’t believe it was negative publicity – it was an example. It generated conversation which is goodness!

  • Brian Bonner

    He took an idea from a Southwest Airlines commercial about being “nickel and dimed” to death and proposed to make it a reality. Call it what you will.

    Here’s the Southwest spot for reference:

  • Ann Marie van den Hurk APR

    I don’t this is good publicity. I would make me think twice about flying them. And all I have to say if I have to pay to pee, then the loo better smell nice, be clean, and work.

  • Vivian Chan

    I don’t think it has been good publicity either. The vast majority of comments in the blogosphere are a good sampling of what is being said, and generally, the comments about the proposal to charge for toilet use has been followed immediately by the terrible customer experiences that have been had with Ryanair. It’s bringing a lot of discontent to the forefront, which I think is actually deterring potential new customers.

    With that said, from an overall brand perspective, I think they’re going for cheap, no frills. Is this detrimental to a brand already positioned to the extreme as the cheap alternative to flying? I’m not sure. Maybe it’s actually on-brand, in a convoluted way. It would seem that the overall customer experience they’re creating for their customers already reflects their brand positioning. I think the toilet charge is another extreme in line with that, which may dissuade more people from flying with them, but then again, if I was a customer paying for a two pound flight and knew in advance I’d need to pay another pound for the loo – maybe I wouldn’t care.

  • Shel Horowitz

    If he does…what a perfect opportunity for some disgruntled passenger to organize a pee-in a corporate HQ–and while I would sympathize with the custodial staff, I wouldn’t blame them a bit. I think that move could lead to an awful lot of negative feeling–and a huge opportunity for other airlines to capitlize on their better service. Then again, I never would have predicted that airline passengers would just lie down and take so much of the degradation we’ve experienced in recent years.

  • Brian Bonner

    To be honest, before this report came out I was only vaguely aware of Ryanair’s existence since they don’t operate in the US. Having now done some reading about their operations I must say this type of publicity seems to be SOP for O’Leary and Ryanair. I don’t know low a fare would have to be to get me to fly their airline, but I suspect if would have to be free – and I would still have to think twice about it.
    That being said, the business model they have chosen obviously works for them. I just think it’s sad that airlines have had to devolve into treating passengers like human cargo to maintain profitability. What happened to flying the friendly skies?

  • Ahmed Sultan

    You can check what I wrote about O’Leary’s wild ideas in: http://aviationgazette.blogspot.com/

  • Keith Stanley

    At least his sense of humour, and total disrespect of the press is still intact!
    K

  • Jim Monson

    I’ll never fly on them…..

  • Dave Liddell

    What if you are in a hurry? O’ Leary cannot be serious.

  • Kyle W

    Regardless of whether or not people agree with the charging, you cant argue at the huge amount of PR O’Leary has generated for Ryanair with these comments and reinforced (positively or not) their positioning as the LCC people perceive to be the cheapest.

  • Paul Burgess

    No it will not be good for a few reasons, but it is only another clever piece of free advertising for Ryanair.
    If they charge for the toilet use, families with children or young infants will not want to pay. It will become very expensive with carpet cleaning costs. As disgusting and as unbelievable as it sounds, people will let their kids pee on the floor, rather than pay the money for toilet use. I personally would love to rent all the toilets on Ryanairs flights, as the yield could be very good:-). Once again with brazen outspoken remarks, O Leary has gained huge free publicity and advertising for his airline.

  • Adrian Wells

    I have to agree with Paul, Michael O’Leary’s statement was just for shock value, even a Ryanair spokesperson advised that “maybe he was just taking the p***!”
    Perhaps Ryanair will allow an option when booking on line to prepay for the privilege to visit the toilet, as how many European’s will have a spare pound in their pocket?
    I am sure that Mr O’Leary has calculated the revenue gained against the cost of seat cover and carpet changes, seat track corrosion, etc, but of course the best marketing is free marketing!

  • Vicki Kunkel

    Imagine a restaurant that would charge to use the restrooms. Or a movie theater. Or a retail store like Target.

    This is a ludicrous, short-sighted move. I’ve never flown Ryanair. And now I never will.

    When I hear that an airline needs to charge for the toilet, it says to me that the airline is in dire financial straits, and has poor management.

    Or, they’re just plain greedy.

    Either way, that’s not the type of business where I want to spend my dollars.

  • Phil Darby

    The point about RyanAir is that they are stripped down to a greater extent than anybody else – this is their forte. I am not a great fan, but I fly frequently around Europe from the UK and have used them a few times, buying flights for a Pound Sterling (taxes included!) on one occasion!

    As marketers, I think we should all appreciate the choice they represent in the marketplace and as brand developers we should recognise a vivid brand when we see it.

    Some of the stuff they charge as extras is a bit unusual, but it won’t do them any harm. On the contraty, this is RyanAir at its best and the more publicity it gives them the more delighted I am sure they are. I quite expect that they would charge for seats (as opposed to standing room) if they could get away with it.

    They also have a very new fleet and one of the best puncuality records in the business. From the branding viewpoint, I can’t see a negative really. If you want to be pampered at an all-in price, fly British Airways!

  • Phil Darby

    By the way Vicki

    McDonalds and KFC in parts of Europe charge for using their restrooms! (or toilets as we call them)

  • Liz Oke

    Although I have not flown Ryanair, I do believe it will be detremental for their brand. If there is a medical emergency on the plane and access to the bathroom is unavailable – it could become a PR nightmare and also a backlash. I can understand positioning yourself as a budget airline… charging for food, drinks, baggage but this is taking to too far. What’s next – charging to recline the seat? Plus people may find creative ways to use the sick bag.

  • ilan Geva

    Why would any brand enjoy favorite points from customers who are being hurt?
    Is there any logic in the question?

  • Bramwell Jeremy

    We’ll be getting BMW charging extra for wheels and steering wheel next. This is a ridiculous suggestion and is merely a PR move to float ideas. I’ve travelled on Ryanair and it’s a miserable experience they’re even charging passengers if they take a plastic bag on!

  • Gregory Roll

    …and where is the promotion from Depends ( http://www.depend.com/products/individual/fitted.asp?WT.srch=1&WT.mc_id=5592920&iq_id=5592920 ) suggesting that passengers who may not wish to pay to use a toilet on a commercial flight be prepared? LOL.

  • Josh Cohen

    Publicity stunt. They don’t care if people hate them because they know people will buy keep buying the cheap tickets.

  • Alan Brew

    If, as it seems, Ryanair’s brand is built on free publicity generated by media controversy and rock-bottom fares, then this is a winner for them. Will the airline ever impose the charge? No, is my guess.

  • Philippe Mihailovich

    it only takes one penny-pincher to kill the business

  • Carl Bongaerts

    Hello Shashank,

    If this is what O’Leary intends to do, he can forget about getting my business in the future !

    There will always be another Competitor when the one at the Top thinks he’s invincible !

    Cheers – CARL

  • paul okia

    BELIEVE ME OR NOT NO BODY WANTS TO PAY PARTICULARLY,AND SIGNIFICANTLY FOR TOILET SERVICES. SO LET RYANAIR FORGET ABOUT GUEST SATISFACTION AND PUT UP A COMPLAINTS DESK TO HANDLE THE PROBLEM–AND ACCEPT TO GO TO HELL OVER SELLING TOILET FACILITIES,OPENLY,THAT IS” UNHOSPITALITY”

    PAUL OKIA–KAMPALA UGANDA

  • Abdallah AlSalem

    I think its good idea

  • Dietmar Kirchner

    Terrible idea. It is o.k. to go for ancillary income in the context of air travel, but charging for things like credit card use, toilet use etc. goes too far. Southwest Airlines does it better: Although low cost, they still do not charge for normal baggage (and certainly not for credit card or toilet usage).

    Ryanair seems to cultivate a very customer-unfriendly attitude.

  • Jim Hare

    I cannot believe this for real. Aside from the public outrage it might violate some sanitary regulations. He must have been joking.

  • Alessandro Mariani

    I have no clue if Mr O’Leary is serious or not; but of one thing I’m sure: if a Customer is going to pay for the service, the toilet must be cleaned thoroughly by the airline staff after every use, unless FR is going to install on all the fleet new automatic self cleaning devices.

  • David L. Lamb

    Well, there certainly is a cost to have toilets on aircraft, so I suppose it could be argued that in order to mitigate that cost, the airline should charge a fee for the service to offset the cost of providing the service.

    Great theory. The problem is: You have to spend money to charge money and then you have to charge more money to make up for the extra money that you spent in order to charge for the product that you could have provided for free had you not decided to charge for the service. Any questions?

    From a practical standpoint, it would not be a difficult to install a credit card reader on the lavatory door and work it into the lock system. The passenger would simply have to swipe his/her credit card and access to the WC is available. However, this would cost likely cost in the $1000 range per lav for an aircraft to be refit (there’s parts and then there’s the labor…), then there is maintenance should they break, the accounting and bank handling to collect the money from the credit card company (less their fee). Since most 737s have at least three lavs (and I assume that Ryanair would put in the minimum number of lavs in order to jam in more seats), we are talking about $3000 per aircraft for the retrofit.

    Then, there’s the 2.5-3.0% that the credit card company will charge to process the fee. The training costs for the crew would be minimum, since this technology does not require any crew intervention to operate and transactions can be downloaded either directly to a PC then to the bank at the end of the flying day or the whole thing is done “wi-fi”. More efficient, even though it will probably increase the cost of the equipment. Then there is accounting cost: What if someone can’t get in, would they get a refund?

    Of course, the machines will break with use, so there is regular maintenance and repairs and since these are high usage items, there will be slightly greater than average breakage, especially if the door doesn’t open when the card is used. Figure the cost of one mechanic for two hours per aircraft per week.

    Then there’s the big cost: These machines weigh around 1kg each (the readers are tied to a computer onboard the aircraft), so there’s about 3kg of extra weight on board the aircraft. How much does it cost Ryanair to carry one kilogram of weight one kilometer? I might be able to get to the number, but then this post would be ridiculously long (it already is, actually). The big cost is FUEL. There will be a fuel penalty for every extra kg carried and over time that cost will get fairly large.

    Will the addition of credit card operated toilets create a significant change in their cost structure? Probably not. However, it will add to their costs. They will have to charge enough to cover their existing lavatory operating cost plus the cost of operating the equipment to charge for the lavs and the fuel to carry them. What this amounts to I don’t know (I suppose I could do the math).

    Lavatories are a safety item on board an aircraft and not a service item. I have yet to see the human body exert enough mind control over bodily functions to prevent the body from saying, “excuse me, I have to go to the loo”. In an airplane, passengers are in a contained space and the lavatory, therefore, is a requirement. As such, any required item on an aircraft affects passenger safety and that is something for which airlines will never compromise.

    So, Ryanair, I have an idea for you: Charge an extra couple of quid for each ticket. People won’t be happy, but they won’t riot either.

    Cheers from Seattle…
    David L. Lamb, ITC

  • Perry Rees

    I’m sure it’s been said before but surely Ryanair is taking the p**s.

  • Kenneth J. Goldstein

    It gained them a great deal of publicity but I don’t think that it will be implemented! Or if they do, perhaps they will also charge for the soiled seat!

  • Jarek Wagner

    I think that after all those negative cases about Ryanair published in media nothing can worsen their image. People will still fly with them, as long as they offer competitive prices.
    I agree with Kenneth. Even if they would introduce it I don’t think they would get any significant profit, even from the whole fleet.

  • Saskia Bijkerk

    Low cost, is not so low cost anymore. They make you pay for everything seperately. Where will it stop.

  • Andrew Hughes

    Never one to miss a marketing opportunity, how many front pages, websites, blogs, emails, newsfeeds has this story featured in over the last few weeks.

    The cynic in me would suggest that it probably doesn’t matter whether they actually charge us for our convenience or not the PR/branding machine rolls onwards.

    Charging for the use of public conveniences is now common place throughout the UK, why would Ryanair think an aircraft would be any different and think of the bottom line contribution!!

  • Paul Nibbering

    Fortunately for the passengers Ryanair is only flying short haul! But seriously, I don’t think O’Leary has any serious intentions of letting passengers pay for using the restroom.

  • Faisal Afzal

    I feel that this is a publicity stunt as well as a way for Ryanair (RA) to gauge their customer’s reaction. This will not mean price reduction on a fare for the passengers but instead YET another fee for those who have to go while in the aircraft. I have not heard good things about Ryanair and feel that this strategy may not help in (improving customer relations) downturn but will surely hurt when things turn around. Also, if a passenger has to pay for using the lavatory, they may not buy any drinks/food in-flight either to avoid a trip to the restroom, resulting, RA loosing another source of revenue. I am sure accounting dept of RA has already come up with numbers before Mr. O’Leary openned his mouth so, they may be up to something.

  • Eric Max

    I started to type a comment with my thoughts, but it was quickly going down the toilet and I thought better of it. So instead, I’ll just say that given the chance, I stay away from a companies that have crappy ideas about customer service, and pay toilets would certainly be a bad move(ment).

  • Michel Hogan

    I think there are certain services that should always be included (access to conveniences being one of them). Everyone is pretty used to paying for food and even paying for luggage is becoming commonly accepted (liked is another thing) and even fuel surcharges were tolerated. But if brand is what you believe and what your actions show, I am not sure I like what this action says about who they are what they stand for. What else will they cut corners on or try and charge for if even toilets are fair game: seat cushions, take up a collection for air in the tyres.

    The bigger discussion is the “transactionalisation” of air travel, the more you break down your costs to the per part basis the harder it is to add value (just ask the telecommunications companies), seems like it won’t be long before airlines are charging per mile for tickets; or offering flying plans with cap on miles – but then at least that would be a different way of thinking from them and that is something very few airlines seem able to do – think differently.

  • Michael Satterwhite

    This is the stupidest cost control idea I have run across yet. And if it was a publicity stunt it is even more stupid.

    The challenge facing customers of many industries today is that corporations – and the employees working for those corporations – have lost sight of the fact that customer are human beings. Human beings have basic needs (in the case of air travel, toilet access when necessary), wants (reasonably comfortable travel at a price they can rationalize) and expectations (to be treated with respect for the hard-earned money they are paying to purchase products or services like travel between destinations). How often have each of you felt you received a positive combination of all of these?

    I consult with companies interested in improving their customer experience and it constantly amazes me how difficult it is for many employees to remove themselves from their corporate job and give fair consideration of how they, as human beings, would want to be treated. I think Michael O’Leary may just be one of those folks. All it takes is a little empathy – and skills to change how an organization operates – to take GOOD care of customers. The bottom line will benefit for years to come.

  • Lisa Rigsby

    Having flown Ryanair many times (and paying extra – even double the value of my ticket for extra baggage), I highly doubt the loo charge would “fly” although Europeans are accustomed to paying for the luxury of elimination in both public and private WC’s (bars, resto’s, etc). Paying to pee assumes that you are CHOOSING to use the facility. Not forced to. In a bar, restaurant or street situation you could look for a dark alley or a free alternative. On a plane (or bus or train) one is quite limited. So, unless Ryanair is willing to accept increases in cleaning bills, I doubt this is a realistic way to either cut costs or increase revenue.

  • Vinay Rajan

    I personally feel that, the passengers will reduce their purchase of drinks on board. I am not sure how much is the % but its a loss for Ryanair.

  • Mark Harrison

    I also think that it was just a publicity stunt. But Ryanair will have to hope that no-one takes it seriously or it could backfire with fewer bookings in an already bad market. Other low-cost airlines are on record as saying that they believe that extra charges have gone as far as they reasonably can.

  • Roseann Dodgson

    One word springs to mind “Crap”.

    .
    Do you remember what happened to the Jewellery chain in UK when the owner Ratners himself said his jewellery was all crap? The business winded up within the year!
    Ryanair have recently offended so many people in their pay per bag policy,and they are just adding to the dung pile of driving away customers.

    Whereas the flush used to be a good hand of cards, I think they may be pulling their own toilet chain on being flushed out of the market.

    The science of ‘crapology’ takes on a whole new meaning. Next they will be asking you to take you own loo roll on board!

  • http://www.thefullblog.com Phil Darby

    I just have to step in, in response to Roseann’s comment.

    The difference between Gerald Ratner’s gaf and Michael O’leary’s comment is vast! Believe me, I was there!

    For one thing Gerald didn’t have a reputation for quipps and for another, Ratners didn’t have a strong brand community. RyanAir’s brand community won’t bat an eyelid at this event. They know that O’Leary was joking and it will strengthen rather than weaken their loyalty. They’ll also probably be chuckling at the way that “outsiders” are responding to this. It all serves to make their community more exclusive.

    That’s what branding is all about!

  • Patrick Murphy

    Before you all get carried away read this report from the Irish Times:

    The Irish Times reported Saturday that Ryanair Chief Executive Michael O’Leary admitted that his public musing about starting to charge passengers for access to the lavatory on flights was merely the latest in a string of publicity stunts. The Irish Times reports:

    Despite telling reporters on Thursday that “it’s going to happen,” Mr O’Leary told a tourism conference yesterday that it was technically impossible and legally difficult.

    Mr O’Leary joked it was a “new visionary strategy and a wonderful idea,” but also conceded that it could be construed as “taking the p***”. He told the conference, organised by city tourist bodies around Europe, that Ryanair had bought Boeing aircraft in recent years, but the doors were not suitable for charging customers to use the toilet.

    “Boeing can put people on the moon, design fighter aircraft and smart bombs, but they can’t design a bloody mechanism to go on doors that will accept coins,” he admitted. Mr O’Leary also confessed that it would not be possible because some “bureaucrat in Brussels” had decreed that establishments where food and drink is served have to provide toilets free of charge.

    “It is not likely to happen, but it makes for interesting and very cheap PR,” he told the audience at the Grand Hotel in Malahide, Co Dublin.

  • Peterson Petty Tjitemisa

    I dont really see it happening anyway, considering the EASA cabin Safety Regulations

  • Pat Epting

    Hmmmm…..
    If I paid a pound to enter the loo,
    Would I choose to leisurely sit and stew?
    Ignoring those who are standing in line?
    Yep, if I paid a pound, I’d take my time!

  • lee newham

    A stupid idea.

    Flying Ryanair isn’t really that cheap when you add all the extras up and it makes you feel like you are being ripped off. It’s created loads of bad press so as a PR effort is backfired.

    I hate Ryanair though the way I have been treated by them in the past and I think their O’leary is a pratt!

    Oh, if only Go was still around, they were great. Brilliant branding too.

  • aidenejer

    I’m the only one in this world. Can please someone join me in this life? Or maybe death…

  • http://www.jrconsumer.com/ RV

    i dont know about the brand, i think about the quality…

  • StephanieBShuttson

    His eyes could hardly believe what they saw there. But he later carefully described the improbable wonders he had discovered, and people kennett national bank promptly began to call the area “Colter's Hell.” To men looking for more and better farming country, here was further evidence the “West” was well-nigh worthless.

  • Ankhkare

    I honestly think it is very cheap to travel with Ryanair and whats more important is the fact that you can buy cheap stuff from this awesome plane. I got only good impressions about it since I traveled last month together with my wife.

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