Ryanair 'losing out' to Stena Line

People would apparently rather spend three hours in notoriously choppy seas than face Ryanair staff...

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Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

Stena Line ferries boss Gunnar Blomdahl has said ‘insulting’ Ryanair staff and high levels of airport security have helped his company win more business. Stena saw a 10% increase in passengers on its Dublin to Holyhead route in February, and Blomdahl believes quality of service is the difference.

‘I think we have benefited from all the trouble you have at the airport,’ he said. ‘First you are insulted by a Ryanair person, then you have to get through security.’ Blomdahl claimed his company, by contrast, had made life easier for customers over recent years. Now it seems people might be willing to risk sea-sickness on a three-hour boat ride rather than face the nauseous prospect of endless security checks, baggage limitations and delays.

A Ryanair spokesman dismissed Blomdahl’s comments as ‘the ramblings of Stena Line’s Captain Hook’, adding ferry travel was only useful for transporting bullocks. However, Ryanair passengers know all about being treated like cattle. And despite Ryanair’s ‘no-frills’ reputation, it seems people might be realising the phrase covers a litany of sins – and are jumping ship. Or rather, they’re jumping onto ships.

Rude staff is just the latest in a string of criticisms to be leveled at Ryanair, which has been at the centre of a storm over the various charges it adds on to the basic flight price. The Air Transport Users Council (AUC) recently lodged a complaint with the Office of Fair Trading over Ryanair’s £10 charge on passengers checking-in online, regardless of whether they have any bags.

Regular MT readers will be well aware that Ryanair and its outspoken boss Michael O'Leary don’t believe in bad publicity, though, and his company’s thrived despite constant criticism. Always happy to get in front of the microphone and cameras, O’Leary’s philosophy might be rubbing off on his rival. The Gunnar and Mike show could run for years, with both seeing the benefits of trading insults in public as their firms’ profits rise.

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