Willie Walsh: "Ryanair took pleasure in irritating customers"
“I think it is interesting to see that Michael [O’Leary] is beginning to recognise that some of the things that [Ryanair] have done were irritating their customers,” said the CEO of International Airlines Group.
“There was no benefit – it had gone beyond managing expectations. I think for a while they were taking pleasure in irritating customers.”
Speaking at the annual Telegraph’s Festival of Business, Mr Walsh was responding to a public query as to whether he would fly with Easyjet or Ryanair.
“To be fair I would travel on both,” he said. However he quickly qualified, “I think Ryanair’s service is right down at the bottom.”
“One of the things that I think [Mr O’Leary] has done better than anybody I have ever seen is manage customer expectation,” he joked to a laughing open forum.
“When you go to fly with Ryanair you don’t expect anything – absolutely nothing. And that’s exactly what you get.”
Mr Walsh went on to give credit to the budget airline, acknowledging that it is “extremely well run” with a “simple business model”.
“Ryanair is still out there on its own,” he said.
“I wouldn’t hesitate from a safety point of view flying with Ryanair or Easyjet. But the service is definitely different.”