Amol Rajan: Ryanair - you pay your money and take your choice

FreeView from the editors at i

Share

The headline at Mail Online said it all yesterday, as headlines at Mail Online tend to: "Ryanair rakes in record profits as it squeezes more out of customers in add-on fees and in-flight sales".

There followed a graphic detailing "sky-high" charges – sky-high, geddit? – such as online bag check-ins, airport bag check-ins and credit card fees. "It will please boss Michael O'Leary and shareholders," the article gushed, "but the passengers who are forced to pay higher ticket prices on top of the airline's infamous swathe of extra charges will be less thrilled."

Indeed they will. Moaning about Ryanair is very fashionable. It's not just Mail Online that likes to stick the proverbial boot into O'Leary, nor even journalists at more refined titles; the last time I walked through Brixton Market I heard two rudeboys lamenting the fact that they had to pay to use the toilet on a flight to Alicante. Late-night chat shows abound with Ryanair horror stories. No pub or dinner party seems safe from a torrent of abuse for O'Leary and his service, what with its yellow Lego seats and pre-recorded safety demonstrations.

Here, then, is a radical thought: Ryanair is surging to record profits because it is giving a lot of people something they really want and can't get cheaper elsewhere. This is called capitalism. It is based on the idea that the unit price of a particular service depends on the balance of supply and demand. What Mr O'Leary has clocked is that there is a lot of demand for cheap air travel, and still not that much supply.

If people really hate Ryanair so much, they should choose another airline. Maybe plenty of them have. But then, maybe plenty of them haven't, because of those old record profits. Given how everybody now knows about these "hidden costs" and can presumably budget for them, it just seems weird to moan about having to pay them, given that there is no legal or moral compulsion to choose Ryanair over any other airline. I know there are tales of awful service, rude attendants and screaming tots but, for what it's worth, in my experience they simply don't exist.

The main complaint I have about people who complain about Ryanair is how spoilt it is. Consider the grand sweep of human civilisation, and what an utterly amazing, inspiring thing it is that low-cost airlines allow poor people to reach other parts of the world so quickly, cheaply, and safely.

That is the real thrill of no frills travel, and if part of the package means paying for a pee, well just shut up and do it. If you don't want to, there's always Air France.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Semi Senior Accountant - Music

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Sauce Recruitment: A successful, Central London bas...

English teachers required in Lowestoft

£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Qualified English tea...

Business Development Director - Interior Design

£80000 - £100000 per annum + competitive + bonus + benefits: Sauce Recruitment...

Sales Director, Media Sponsorship

£60000 - £65000 per annum: Sauce Recruitment: A globally successful media and ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

i Editor's Letter: Take a moment to imagine you're Ed Miliband...

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
The longer David Sedaris had his Fitbit, the further afield his walks took him through the West Sussex countryside  

Autumn’s subtle charm is greatly enhanced by this Indian summer

Michael McCarthy
Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits