Budget airline Ryanair became Europe’s second-biggest carrier in 2012, carrying a record 79.6 million passengers. (Featured image by karaya69) Despite criticism directed at the low-cost carrier for issues ranging from credit-card booking charges to the prospect of standing room-only sections on flights, Ryanair has seen a 4 per cent increase year-on-year in the number of holidaymakers choosing to travel with them. “Ryanair enjoyed another record breaking year in 2012 with almost 80 million passengers choosing one of our ultra-low fares between Jan and Dec 2012,” said Ryanair’s Stephen McNamara. Although Ryanair saw a bumper year in 2012, the airline finished bottom in a new survey by consumer magazine Which?.
The airline achieved an overall satisfaction score of just 34 per cent in a table compiled from the votes of Which? members, putting it in 16th place and behind other low-cost airlines such as easyJet and flybe. Which? said: “We were inundated with comments about Ryanair – many about its extra charges. “This partly accounts for the paltry one-star ratings for baggage allowance, boarding arrangements, seat allocation, and food and drinks.” Ryanair Boss Michael O’Leary also made the headlines several times in 2012, branding passengers who fail to print off their boarding passes before arriving at the airport as “idiots” before going on to take his tirade one step further: “To those who don’t, we say quite politely: ‘B***** off’.”
One passenger who fell foul of the airline’s boarding card reissuing rules was Suzy McLeod. The airline passenger received the backing of more than half a million Facebook users after she was hit with a €300 (£236) charge to print out five boarding passes before a flight from Alicante to Bristol. However, far from sympathising with Ms McLeod’s plight, O’Leary called her “stupid” instead. The outspoken CEO later went on to declare that “holidays are a complete waste of time”, before proposing the introduction of “standing room-only” sections on flights. He also suggested that seatbelts on aircraft are pointless and won’t help to save passengers in the event of a crash.