Suzy McLeod was charged €300 because she didn't print five boarding passes for a Ryanair flight. McLeod complained about the charge and received lots of support on Facebook but not from Ryanair. CEO Michael O'Leary responded to her complaint by saying that the woman should pay, "...for being an idiot and failing to comply with her agreement at the time ofbooking. We think Mrs. McLeod should pay 60 euros for being so stupid."
McLeod said that she didn't print the boarding passes for her family because her trip was too long: they were away for 15 days, and the return passes had to be printed within two weeks. O'Leary had little sympathy for her dilemma: "She wasn't able to print her boarding card because, as you know, there are no internet cafes in Alicante, no hotels where they could print them out for you, and you couldn't get to a fax machine so some friend at home can print them and fax them to you."
O'Leary also said, "She wrote to me last week asking for compensation and a gesture of goodwill. To which we have replied, politely but firmly, thank you, Mrs. McLeod, but it was your ****-up."
A spokesperson for Ryanair simply relayed the airline's policy:
"As is clearly outlined in the terms and conditions for every Ryanair passenger, Mrs McLeod agreed at the time of booking that she and her fellow passengers would check in online and print their boarding cards before arriving at their departure airport, and she also accepted and agreed that if she failed to do so then she would pay our boarding card re-issue penalty of £60 per passenger."
On Facebook, McLeod's post received more than 500,00 "likes," but so far, the airline is unrelenting.
O'Leary has a reputation for making inflammatory comments, such as these:
"You're not getting a refund so **** off. We don't want to hear your sob stories. What part of 'no refund' don't you understand?"
"People say the customer is always right, but you know what - they're not. Sometimes they are wrong and they need to be told so."
"Nobody wants to sit beside a really fat ****** on board. We have been frankly astonished at the number of customers who don't only want to tax fat people but torture them."
- Should the company have responded differently to the complaint, or does the policy speak for itself?
- How does this situation fit with Ryanair's status as a discount airline? Are customers justified in being upset, or should they simply comply with the policy?