The truth comes out: CEO says 'stupid' consumers deserve hefty fees
Ryanair head Michael O'Leary called his customers "idiots" this week. The chief of the deep-discount, “gotcha”-dependent airline might be the first to say it, but he's hardly the first to think it.
O'Leary was speaking specifically about fliers who fail to print their boarding passes before they arrive at the airport, and are forced to pay Ryanair's 60-euro fee. The issue came to a head after a mom paid about $380 so her family could get the paperwork to fly home from Spain to Britain. She aired her concerns on Facebook and got hundreds of thousands of "likes." O'Leary responded to the controversy as many CEOs would after being administered a truth serum.READ IT ALL, BECAUSE THE "GOTCHA" END OF BUSINESS IS ONLY GOING TO EXIST IF WE DON'T READ THE FINE PRINT AND DON'T PAY OUR BILLS ON TIME.
It also rewards absurdity, which is how we end up with $380 fees for boarding passes. Another inevitable element of the Gotcha economy is that the punishments don't fit the crimes. Sure, it's fine to charge something for boarding passes (well, not in Spain, where a judge has ruled that it's the airline's responsibility to issue them). But the charge should bear some resemblance to the business cost of creating them. Again, a customer racing to arrive at the airport is not in a free market situation -- he or she can no longer bargain over boarding pass printing costs. This is what is sometimes called the "captive consumer" problem.