Sunday 18 March 2018

Willie Walsh: "Ryanair took pleasure in irritating customers"

Willie Walsh: head of IAG
Willie Walsh: head of IAG

Former Aer Lingus boss Willie Walsh has said that budget airline Ryanair enjoyed irritating its passengers.

“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.”

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