Give me Transparency…please!!
I love things to be transparent. Openness and honesty are two traits I value most in people and in business. I remember when I was a teenager how some of the other girls (sorry ladies, but it was mainly girls) would talk about others behind their backs…and then be nice as pie to their faces; I could never really condone this.
If I am friends with someone I don’t see the need to moan about them when they’re not able to defend themselves – ok, there might be an occasional time (nobody is perfect) but, in the main, I wouldn’t say anything when they’re not around that I wouldn’t say to their face. I am fairly sure the friends I have made over the years echo my sentiment too.
When it comes to businesses being transparent they seem to be on the decline today, which is what instigated this particularly blog!
Flying out to Alicante for a wedding blessing and a short holiday (just a week) today, we chose to fly with Ryan-air purely for convenience (they fly to Alicante from our nearest airport – Birmingham).
Arrival at the airport was pretty simple, we had a decent snack at Pret-a-Manger (they send each days left-over-but-still-fresh food to charities to help the hungry, which I like), then strolled through the airport to the gate. Easy-Peasy and stress free so far.
On arrival at the gate the female Ryan-air ‘checker-of-passports-and-boarding-passes’ was announcing something but with no microphone or tannoy you really couldn’t make out what she was saying. I took at guess at, ‘Priority passengers board first’, so my O.H. and I (being ‘normal passengers’) waited until the huge queue had finished, which took around 20 minutes – although a tannoy announced several times, ‘The Ryanair flight to Alicante will be closing in 5 minutes’. Hmmm…clearly the announcing staff don’t understand the concept of time yet!
On reaching the end of the queue the female ‘checker-of-all-things’ (by now) looked at our small, roller-cases and said, ‘You’ll have to pay £20 a case for those because you haven’t booked priority boarding’. What??? In addition to ‘time’ it appears Ryan-air don’t understand ‘Priority’. Priority boarding used to be for those with certain needs (young children, older people, those with limited mobility) not those with roller-cases didn’t it??
Anyway, to cut this super-long-story short this is what I mean by ‘transparency’. I fly regularly (usually on business) and always take the same small suitcase as hand luggage; I have never had a problem before with EasyJet/Flybe etc. etc; all are ‘economy airlines’ as is Ryan-air. Yet Ryan-air have now cut the height of the case in half (according to ‘check-in-lady’ this happened last November). Nowhere was this apparent: not when booking, not when checking in and not when leaving our larger pre-paid case at the ‘baggage drop’ desk (used to be the check-in desk in the good old days).
To inflame the situation even more the ‘checker-in’ said, ‘You have actually already paid for your hand-luggage but because you didn’t check it in you have to pay again, and instead of £12.50 it will now be £20’.
There was no point questioning this because my O.H. and I could see that ‘rules is rules’.
Why can’t Ryanair (and any other airlines that operate in a similar way) just be completely transparent. Give me a price for a seat, a small trolley-case that I CAN keep with me as hand luggage (saves queuing at the carousel as time is precious to me), and a price for a larger/checked-in suitcase. Then keep the rules the same; I am sure the rules change frequently just to confuse customers so that Mr O’Leary can reap in extra pounds (or Euro’s) from us!
Whilst I am on the subject – and before we pick up our hire-car from Alicante airport – I wonder what hidden costs we will find when we do collect the car? Car—hire companies are notorious for adding on all-sorts of costs that are not apparent when you book.
About 27 years ago when in America we got caught for CDW (collision damage waiver) and it cost us a fortune; we were novices at hiring cars in those days and had no idea CDW wouldn’t be covered in the initial cost. Since then, almost every time we hire a car we discover something such as, ‘You are insured but if someone slashes a tyre you aren’t covered and that’s an extra billion pounds’…slight exaggeration but you may know what I mean if you’ve ever hired a car!
Hey-ho. I’m now an hour into my flight and now I’ve had this rant (apologies, readers) I’ll kick back and flick through a magazine or two!
P.S. The hire car company did try and upsell our insurance (they start you off with a good hire price then wallop a huge excess) and a larger car! Good try Dollar but we resisted your offer of paying the extra couple of hundred euros cost on top of what we’d already paid!