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Winston Aldworth: Think you've got it bad? Try Ryanair

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Michael O'Leary, left, CEO Ryanair, and Ray Conner, President and CEO Boeing, at a press conference in New York. Photo / AP
Michael O'Leary, left, CEO Ryanair, and Ray Conner, President and CEO Boeing, at a press conference in New York. Photo / AP

In last week's Travel editorial, I made a passing reference to budget airlines. It opened a torrent of bitter responses about Jetstar - the dominant flier at that end of the market in our skies.

I'll say this up front: I don't mind Jetstar. You know what you're getting and you get what you pay for. Which is not to make light of the experiences of travellers who have been delayed or mucked about.

But fellas, for the real budget horror experience, get thee to Ryanair.

Last year British woman Suzy McLeod got 500,000 votes of support on Facebook after Ryanair hit her with a $430 charge because she couldn't print out her family's boarding passes so they could return home from holiday. She asked the airline for some recompense.

Michael O'Leary, Ryanair's CEO saw things differently. "She wrote to me last week asking for compensation and a gesture of goodwill. To which we have replied, politely but firmly, thank you Mrs McLeod but it was your f***-up and if you screw up, you compensate us and you send us a gesture of goodwill."

Budget airlines can be unforgiving of passengers who turn up late - that's a major part of why they're cheap. The key: don't give them a chance to screw you, and (mostly) they won't.

- NZ Herald

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